Many women face the possibility of having a reproductive disease and/or problems at some point in their lifetime. For some they’ve had issues their whole lives, for others problems develop suddenly with little or no warning. Some of the reproductive diseases that women can face are well known while others are not very well known and often get missed or misdiagnosed until it is either too late for treatment or the woman is physically and mentally/emotionally crippled by the pain.
This blog post series is inspired by my own recent experience of facing a potential diagnosis of either Endometriosis, which is what I was officially diagnosed with after a minor laparoscopic surgery and of which I already had a rudimentary knowledge of endometriosis as my mother has it as well, or Ovarian Cancer, which I knew pretty much nothing about let alone what the most common symptoms were until I faced the possibility of having it and began researching everything I could about ovarian cancer, so we are going to have a look at some of the most common reproductive diseases and problems that we as women can potentially face including endometriosis and ovarian cancer. I must stress right now that not everyone will develop one of these diseases/problems and this is not intended as a diagnostic or medical tool, this post is meant to provide awareness as it is always a good idea to know the signs and symptoms that can point to there being a problem so that you can find the best care provider possible for your particular circumstances.
The diseases we will be looking at in this blog post series are as follows:
- Ovarian Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Like endometriosis Adenomyosis isn’t very well known. It is similar to Endometriosis in that the cells that normally form the lining of the womb are in a place that they shouldn’t be. Unlike endometriosis however, adenomyosis does have a cure which will be discussed below.
Women with adenomyosis often also have endometriosis, and while similar they are both completely different conditions: with endometriosis the uterine lining grows outside of the womb, eg in the fallopian tubes, ovaries and the pelvic and abdominal cavities; with adenomyosis the cells that normally form the lining of the womb are growing inside the muscles that form the uterus.
So What Is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial cells (the cells that make up the lining of the uterus) grows into the muscles of the uterus.
These cells, just like normal endometrial tissue, continue to grow, break down and bleed during each menstrual cycle which causes the uterus to be larger or bulkier than usual along with heavy, painful periods and painful intercourse (sex).
Signs and Symptoms of Adenomyosis
- Heavy or prolonged periods
- Painful periods
- Pain during intercourse (sex)
- A larger, or bulky, uterus
- Worsening period pain
Diagnosis and Treatment of Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is normally diagnosed by a combination of tests – including palpation (both external and internal), MRI, ultrasound and laparoscopic surgery.
Treatment is usually a combination of hormonal contraceptives, uterine artery embolisation (the deliberate blockage of the veins supplying blood to the adenomyosis), IUD’s (intra-uterine devices) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories along with heat pads/packs, but a hysterectomy with preservation of the ovaries (leaving the ovaries inside to prevent premature menopause) is the only known cure.
Symptoms often begin in the later child bearing years after the average woman has finished having children.
When do I seek Help?
Seek help when:
- It begins to impact your physical, emotional and/or mental health.
- When it is impacting on your quality of life.
- When it is interfering with your sexual function and/or relationship.
http://www.greenslopesgynaecology.com/services/adenomyosis - on adenomyosis