and follicle stimulating hormone -- may trigger the condition.
How To Diagnose Adenomyosis?
Until recently, the only definitive way to diagnose adenomyosis was to perform a hysterectomy and examine the uterine tissue under a microscope.
However, imaging technology has made it possible for doctors to recognize adenomyosis without surgery. Using MRI or transvaginal ultrasound, doctors can see characteristics of the disease in the uterus.
If a doctor suspects adenomyosis, the first step is a physical exam. A pelvic exam may reveal an enlarged and tender uterus.
An ultrasound can allow a doctor to see the uterus, its lining, and its muscular wall.
Though ultrasound cannot definitively diagnose adenomyosis, it can help to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms.
Another technique sometimes used to help evaluate the symptoms associated with adenomyosis is sonohysterography.
In sonohysterography, saline solution is injected through a tiny tube into the uterus as an ultrasound is given.
MRI -- magnetic resonance imaging -- can be used to confirm a diagnosis of adenomyosis in women with abnormal uterine bleeding.
Because the symptoms are so similar, adenomyosis is often misdiagnosed as uterine fibroids.
However, the two conditions are not the same. While fibroids are benign tumors growing in or on the uterine wall,
adenomyosis is less of a defined mass of cells within the uterine wall. An accurate diagnosis is key in choosing the right treatment.
How To Treat Adenomyosis?
Treatment for adenomyosis depends in part on your symptoms, their severity, and whether you have completed childbearing.
Mild symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter pain medications and the use of a heating pad to ease cramps.
Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve mild pain associated with adenomyosis.
NSAIDs are usually started one to two days before the beginning of your period and continued through the first few of days of your period.
Symptoms such as heavy or painful periods can be controlled with hormonal therapies such as a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD
(which is inserted into the uterus), aromatase inhibitors, and GnRH analogs.