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* This is the Consumer Version. *


By S. Gene McNeeley, MD

In adenomyosis, glandular tissue from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. The uterus becomes enlarged, sometimes doubling or tripling in size.

Adenomyosis is a common disorder. But it causes symptoms in only a small percentage of women, usually those aged 35 to 50. Some women with adenomyosis also have endometriosis or fibroids. It is more common among women who have had children. The cause is unknown.


Symptoms include heavy and painful periods, bleeding between periods, vague pain in the pelvic area, and a feeling of pressure on the bladder and rectum. Sometimes sexual intercourse is painful.

Symptoms usually disappear or lessen after menopause.


  • Ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging

  • Sometimes a biopsy

Doctors suspect adenomyosis when they do a pelvic examination and discover that the uterus is enlarged, round, and softer than normal.

The diagnosis is usually based on the results of pelvic ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Ultrasonography is often done with a handheld ultrasound device inserted into the vagina.

Sometimes when adenomyosis causes abnormal bleeding, a biopsy is done.


  • Birth control pills or a levonorgestrel intrauterine device

  • For severe symptoms, hysterectomy

Usually, no treatment is effective, although taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives) or using a intrauterine device (IUD) that releases a synthetic female hormone called levonorgestrel can help control the bleeding .

Analgesics may be taken for pain.

If symptoms are severe, a hysterectomy is done.

* This is the Consumer Version. *