What is an adenomoma?

An adenomyoma is an abnormal growth within the lining of the muscular tissue of the uterus. It forms when endometrial tissue, the cells that normally make up the innermost lining of the uterus, begin to grow spontaneously deep within the uterine walls. An adenomyoma is usually benign and causes no symptoms, although an especially large growth can cause discomfort, tenderness, and heavy bleeding during menstrual periods. Treatment usually involves taking pain medication and using birth control to reduce menstrual problems. A very painful mass may need to be surgically removed, either by cutting off the growth or by removing the entire uterus by hysterectomy.

The exact causes of adenomyoma growth are not clear. The actual disorder that stimulates the development of the mass is called adenomyosis, which is very similar to another type of uterine cell displacement called endometriosis. Adenomyosis does not always result in an adenomyoma. As endometrial cells begin to invade muscle tissue, they can spread evenly and cause the lining of the tissue to thicken. Adenomomas occur when groups of cells protrude through the muscle layer.

An adenomyoma may or may not cause symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can include heavy menstrual bleeding and spotting between periods. Adenomomas can be tender and cause significant pain during menstruation and sexual intercourse. Symptoms tend to worsen over time if not evaluated and treated in the early stages of adenomyosis.

In many cases, minor problems go undetected until a woman has a routine gynecological exam. The doctor may discover a small lump and arrange tests to determine if it is an adenomyoma, a fibroid, or a cancerous growth. Ultrasounds are helpful in studying the composition of the mass, and doctors can usually rule out cancer based on imaging tests alone. A biopsy may be necessary if ultrasound tests are inconclusive.

Treatment depends on the size and severity of an adenomyoma. If the growth is not causing problems, a doctor might suggest that you simply have routine tests. Mild pain and bleeding can usually be controlled with anti-inflammatory medications and oral contraceptives. Patients are discouraged from attempting to become pregnant due to possible complications.

A small to medium sized adenomyoma that is clearly defined and causes significant symptoms may be surgically removed. However, in many cases, adenomyosis affects a larger area of ​​the uterus than just the noticeable mass. Hysterectomy is the only reliable and safe cure for the condition. Modern surgical techniques allow women to undergo hysterectomies as simple outpatient procedures with short recovery times and very few risks.

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