Endometriosis is often found along with other conditions that can cause similar symptoms (see Related Conditions). One of those conditions is called adenomyosis, where endometrial glands and stroma invade the muscular part of the uterine wall (Gracia et al., 2022). Vannuccini and Petraglia (2019) report that “adenomyosis and endometriosis share a number of features, so that for many years adenomyosis has been called endometriosis interna,” but the authors go on to point out that “nevertheless, they are considered two different entities.” Adenomyosis is found in those with endometriosis anywhere from 20-80% of the time (Vannuccini & Petraglia, 2019)!
Both conditions share similar symptoms, such as painful periods and abnormal uterine bleeding. This is important to keep in mind when looking at treatment options as it has been seen that “after surgical treatment…pelvic pain and abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) were significantly more likely to persist with the presence of adenomyosis” (Gracia et al., 2022). Vannuccini and Petraglia (2019) also found this- noting that “on ultrasound pre-operative assessment, 47.8% of patients undergoing surgery for [deep infiltrating endometriosis] were affected by adenomyosis, and in those affected by both conditions, the surgical treatment was not as effective in treating pain as it was in those with only endometriosis.” The ability to diagnose adenomyosis with magnetic resonance imaging and/or transvaginal ultrasound (versus only after a hysterectomy) has made it easier to plan prior to surgery and adjust expectations.
When looking at treating chronic pelvic pain, it is important to note that endometriosis often coexists with several other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. These other conditions, if left untreated, can continue to cause symptoms, which can lead to a great deal of discouragement if you are not aware.
For more information on adenomyosis, see: https://nancysnookendo.com/learning-library/related-conditions/lessons/adenomyosis/
Vannuccini, S., & Petraglia, F. (2019). Recent advances in understanding and managing adenomyosis. F1000Research, 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419978/
Loring, M., Chen, T. Y., & Isaacson, K. B. (2021). A Systematic review of adenomyosis: It is time to reassess what we thought we knew about the disease. Journal of minimally invasive gynecology, 28(3), 644-655. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1553465020311006
Gracia, M., de Guirior, C., Valdés-Bango, M., Rius, M., Ros, C., Matas, I., … & Carmona, F. (2022). Adenomyosis is an independent risk factor for complications in deep endometriosis laparoscopic surgery. Scientific Reports, 12(1), 1-8. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-11179-8