Adenomyosis can cause heavy periods that interfere with the things you want to do. Talk with a doctor about ways to feel better.
By Naomi Swanson, MD

Get Relief from Heavy, Painful Periods Caused by Adenomyosis

If you have heavy, painful, or lengthy menstrual periods, ask your doctor about a condition called adenomyosis. This condition makes the endometrial tissues, which come out during your period, grow into the walls of your uterus—not where it is supposed to be. 

Even though the tissue is in the wrong place, it still grows very thick and breaks down like it would for a normal period. This causes the uterus to swell up two or three times the normal size. During your period, the displaced tissue can damage blood vessels and form pockets of blood in the uterine wall. This causes heavy, long, and painful periods. 

Patients with adenomyosis might have trouble going to work or school during their period. The condition can make it hard to get pregnant. But there are options to reduce your symptoms. Medication, hormone therapy, or surgery can help you stay active and feel better. 

Patients with adenomyosis might have trouble going to work or school during their period. The condition can make it hard to get pregnant. But there are options to reduce your symptoms. Medication, hormone therapy or surgery can help you stay active and feel better.

Naomi Swanson, MD

Symptoms of Adenomyosis

Approximately 80% of women with adenomyosis are ages 40-50, and 20% are younger. You don’t have time to not feel well! See a doctor if heavy period symptoms cause problems in your daily life at work, school, or home. 

Some of the common symptoms of adenomyosis include:

  • Anemia (low red blood cells)
  • Bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Heavy periods
  • Low fertility
  • Mood changes
  • Pain during sex
  • Cramps 
  • Frequent urination
  • Low-back pain
  • Pressure or tenderness in the lower belly

Patients with adenomyosis may also have endometriosis, a condition in which excess endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. The two conditions share some symptoms, such as painful periods. Patients with endometriosis often report painful bowel movements, pain during urination, nausea, and diarrhea during their periods.

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Diagnosing Adenomyosis

Because adenomyosis has the same symptoms as other conditions, you will need a few tests and exams to get the right diagnosis:

  • Pelvic exam: The doctor will feel the inside and outside of your abdomen to find out which areas are swollen.
  • Imaging: We will take pictures of your organs using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound. 

These exams may be uncomfortable. Tell your provider if you are nervous or in pain—we will listen to you. Our goal is to find out what’s wrong and help you feel better.

Treating Adenomyosis

Hysterectomy—a surgery to take out your uterus—is the only cure for adenomyosis. However, getting a hysterectomy means you can no longer get pregnant. And having surgery means you will need to take time off work and other activities to recover.

If you still want to get pregnant or if you don’t want to have surgery, talk with your doctor about other treatment options such as:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, which might reduce menstrual blood flow and help relieve pain
  • Hormonal therapies such as a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD), which can relieve pain and uterine swelling
  • Endometrial ablation, a procedure to remove the uterine lining
  • MRI-guided focused ultrasound, which uses high-intensity energy waves to heat and dissolve affected tissues

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If you think you might be pregnant, be aware of these early signs of pregnancy and know when to make a prenatal care appointment.

Your doctor might also recommend several home remedies, including soaking in a warm bath or using a heating paid on your belly. Adenomyosis can go away on its own after menopause. So, ask your doctor about the best treatment for your age and stage of life. 

If your symptoms stop you from doing what you want and need to do, visit a doctor to learn about your options. We will listen to you and find a treatment option to help you feel better. 

To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from Ob/Gyn care, call 505-272-2245

Categories: Health & Wellness, Women's Health