Endometriosis or Adenomyosis - What's the Difference?

When I received my endometriosis diagnosis, I had no idea what was to come. Or what could still come. There was not much research and information out there at the time. And there certainly were no online support groups that I could find. My doctor had assured me, that once I received the diagnosis during surgery, I would most likely be better. As someone who was naïve and trustworthy, I believed him.

It was only three months after my first surgery when symptoms started to come back. In full force.  I was confused, angered and couldn't understand why. That was around the time when I started to read about adenomyosis. It had seemed that it was very common for those with endometriosis to have adenomyosis as well. I believed this was what I was now dealing with, but had no way to find out. I could not go back and see the doctor who performed my first surgery and I had no specialists in the area who could assist me. Every time I went to the gynecologist presenting my now new and worse symptoms, they would tell me I was fine.

What is adenomyosis?

So I began to do more research on this sister disease. I learned that adenomyosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus, grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This differed from endometriosis because with endometriosis, tissue SIMILAR to the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Meaning other organs can become involved.

Continuing my research, I learned adenomyosis could cause pain and heavy bleeding, which were two symptoms I was still experiencing. But that still wasn't enough to know for sure if that was what I was dealing with. As I tried to present this to my doctor again, I was left with the same response, "You are fine." So I started to keep a journal of my symptoms. When they occurred, how they felt, how long they lasted, etc.

What are the symptoms of adenomyosis and endometriosis?

Even though the two are different diseases, they still seem to present the same symptoms. Leaving it really hard to pinpoint if adenomyosis is also a culprit. In fact, for a lot of women, they may struggle with this as well. Symptoms you may see with adenomyosis are, pressure on bladder and rectum,  heavy and painful periods, infertility and chronic pelvic pain. As for endometriosis, you may see, fatigue, nausea, pain using the bathroom, stomach pain, pain in legs or during sex and pelvic pain.

How can they diagnosis adenomyosis?

Just like diagnosing endometriosis is tricky, the same goes for diagnosing adenomyosis, it's tricky. Sometimes Ultrasounds or MRI's, may show adenomyosis. But that isn't always the case. Especially if whoever is reading it, doesn't really know what they are looking for. When I had finally found an endometriosis specialist, I got lucky. They were able to see my adenomyosis via ultrasound. Another way to diagnose is through laparoscopic surgery. Some women do not receive an official diagnosis until they have a hysterectomy.

So how do you know which one you are dealing with?

Honestly, you may not know. Because symptoms tend to be so similar and the metriosis.net/news/diagnosis-delays-cost/ can be a long one, you just have to do what you can to try and figure it out. Even though I now know I have adenomyosis as well, I still cannot tell you on my bad days if it is endo or adeno causing me problems. For all I know, it could be both. The only way to cure adenomyosis is via hysterectomy, which is something I am not ready for just yet. So until then, my symptoms will always be a mystery as to which illness is causing me problems.

If you have both adeno and endo, have you found ways to determine between the two, which one causes you certain symptoms? 

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