Are endometriosis and adenomyosis the same?

Is endometriosis another name for adenomyosis?
No. Both the conditions, endometriosis and adenomyosis are different from each other, even though they have overlapping symptoms, such as painful periods, heavy periods, etc. With adenomyosis, the endometrial tissue grows into the muscle of the uterus whereas with endometriosis, the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and infiltrates nearby organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic side walls, or bowel.

Various uterine conditions that involve abnormal growth of cells can depict similar signs and symptoms. A few such conditions are adenomyosis, fibroid tumors (leiomyomas), uterine cells growing outside the uterus (endometriosis) and growths in the uterine lining (endometrial polyps). In this article, we’ll focus on adenomyosis and the difference between endometriosis and adenomyosis.

What is adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is a condition of the female reproductive system where the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) breaks through the muscle wall of the uterus (the myometrium). Here, the displaced tissue continues to act normally like that in a menstrual cycle. It thickens, breaks down and bleeds during every menstrual cycle.  This condition causes the uterus to thicken and enlarge. Other associated symptoms are sharp, knife-like chronic pelvic pain during periods, heavy periods, severe cramping, and painful intercourse (dyspareunia). A hysterectomy (uterus removal procedure) offers permanent relief to this condition.

What is the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis?

The main difference between these conditions is where the endometrial tissue grows. Adenomyosis is a condition where the endometrial tissue grows into the muscle of the uterus. It doesn’t go past the uterus itself. Contrastingly, with endometriosis, the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, and the growth can breach nearby organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic side walls, or bowel.

Because of this, another significant difference arises, i.e., the uterus becomes enlarged in adenomyosis, because of which there is an increased pressure on the bladder and rectum, which usually doesn’t happen in endometriosis. Other than this, Adenomyosis is more likely to cause heavy menstrual bleeding. However, further studies are needed because some results are inconsistent.

There is a possibility that both conditions can be present in the same patient. A 2017 study concluded that there is a high prevalence of endometriosis in patients with adenomyosis who present with either dysmenorrhea or pelvic pain.

What are the similarities between adenomyosis and endometriosis?

Adenomyosis and endometriosis are disorders that involve abnormal growth of endometrial tissue. Both conditions can be painful and can cause anemia due to heavy bleeding. Interestingly, another similarity is that both adenomyosis as well as endometriosis are estrogen-dependent diseases. Both conditions usually don’t require treatment unless they cause you problems, such as difficulty in getting pregnant, etc. They may result from tissue injury and repair (TIAR) after trauma to the uterus. These two conditions may be managed with pain medicines, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), birth-control pills, etc. In fact, the drug research and development (R&D) for both endometriosis/adenomyosis has been slow. There is a lack of proper study even for the medical treatment of the conditions.

Are endometriosis and adenomyosis the same?

No. Endometriosis and adenomyosis are different from each other. Although they have overlapping symptoms like painful periods, heavy periods, etc. With adenomyosis, the endometrial tissue grows into the muscle of the uterus. Whereas with endometriosis, the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and infiltrates nearby organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvic side walls, or bowel.

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Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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