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Comparing Endometriosis and Adenomyosis

Both endometriosis and adenomyosis are progressive disorders of endometrial tissue which typically cause pain, but are treatable and non life threatening. Both make it harder to get pregnant, and unfortunately, some women can have both conditions.

These are some of the similarities, but what is the difference between endometriosis and adenomyosis?

Cell Growth in Different Locations

These displaced endometrial cells are the culprits leading to endometriosis and adenomyosis. With endometriosis the cells grow outside the uterus and usually in the ovaries, the cavities of the pelvis, and the supporting ligaments of the uterus.

With adenomyosis the cells grow within the walls of the uterus. As the wall grows thicker, it can cause pain and heavy bleeding.

They Typically Affect Different Demographics

Most women who suffer with endometriosis are younger adolescents and those of reproductive ages, whereas adenomyosis usually affects older women.

A Variance in Symptoms

Although painful periods and painful intercourse are experienced with both disorders, there are additional symptoms they do not share. Women with endometriosis typically report the following symptoms:

  • woman with endometriosis painPainful bowel movements
  • Pain during urination
  • Pelvis pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea during periods

With adenomyosis women tend to have:

  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Abnormal bleeding and prolonged periods
  • Infertility
  • An enlarged uterus

Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms at all, and one-third of those with adenomyosis will also not experience symptoms.

Risk Factors Vary

Although these two disorders are common, they are certainly not normal, and risk factors for each can vary from one case to another.

Risk factors for endometriosis include women in their 30s and 40s, a family history of having the condition, periods that last longer than 7 days and come less than 27 days apart, and if you started your period before you were 11 years old.

Risk factors for adenomyosis include women who are age 40 or older, if you gave birth at least once, if you started your period before the age of 10, and if your cycle occurs less than 24 days apart.

Treatment for Endometriosis and Adenomyosis

Treatment for these two conditions also varies. It can range from a minimal procedure to a surgical hysterectomy, mainly due to where the tissue is located.

Newer, more conservative treatments are available which can help to preserve your uterus.

Contact Genesee Valley OB/GYN if you experience symptoms of endometriosis or adenomyosis and find out what treatments might be right for you. You can schedule an appointment today by calling (585) 641-0399 or by completing our online form.