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?
Endometrial Cells Grow in Different Places
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.
The Two Disorders Affect Different Types of Women
Most women who suffer from endometriosis are younger adolescents and those of reproductive ages, whereas adenomyosis usually affects older women.
A Difference 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:
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain during urination
- Pelvis pain
- Diarrhea during periods
With adenomyosis women tend to have:
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 Dinesen & Associates OBGYN & Infertility at (215) 489-2066 if you experience symptoms of endometriosis or adenomyosis and find out what treatments might be right for you.