Adenomyosis & Endometriosis: Is There a Correlation Between the Two?
Both adenomyosis and endometriosis are conditions that affect women and their reproductive organs. Adenomyosis occurs when cells that usually line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that usually lines the uterus starts to grow outside of the uterus.
Adenomyosis can occur later in the childbearing years of a woman's life. Pregnancy and childbirth can be linked to the cause, as during both events, the inner wall of the uterus can be damaged. This can also happen if a surgical procedure is performed, but it's more likely to result from pregnancy or childbirth. Birth control can make the condition worse, while menopause often improves the condition or makes it disappear entirely. Although, in severe cases the uterus needs to be removed.
Endometriosis also occurs during the childbearing years for a woman, but is most likely to occur in women who have never given birth. This can also cause infertility. There are typically no specific symptoms of this condition, except pain in the pelvic region that is not always directly associated with this. Endometriosis can cause complications because the endometriosis tissue escapes to other parts of the body it forms together, then thickens, breaks down, and needs to escape. It cannot escape from other parts of the body so then it forms to other parts, causing cysts.
Similarities Between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis
Although there isn't any evidence proving the two conditions are related, women who have adnomyosis often have endometriosis also. One theory suggests that adenomyosis begins within the uterine walls from endometrial tissue that was previously stored there. It's possible that the two are linked because they are both related to the uterus and the lining of the uterus. Each cause spotting between menstrual cycles and can cause painful intercourse, but researchers remain unsure as to how they are caused. Another similarity is that, in severe cases, both require the removal of the uterus (and/or ovaries) for complete treatment. However, it is not required of all cases.
Differences Between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis
Adenomyosis can cause the uterus to enlarge to an abnormal size, while endometriosis is often mistaken with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because of the sharp pains that it causes. The pain caused by adenomyosis typically occurs during menstruation, while someone with endometriosis has pain both before and after menstruation.
No Correlation Proven
While there currently is no proof of a correlation between endometriosis and adenomyosis, research is still being conducted. The two stem from the lining of the uterine wall, so there could be proof that the two are more related. But until studies validate a link between the two, they aren't directly related.