Issues surrounding one’s fertility are not often spoken about, and yet more and more women are opening up.
At a recent event, actor Gabrielle Union spoke on her struggles with fertility and experiences with miscarriage – the details of which she wrote of in her 2017 memoir – and put a name to her condition: adenomyosis.
What is adenomyosis though? And how does it impact fertility?
Adenomyosis (ad-uh-no-my-O-sis) is a type of endometriosis – which is when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows on the outside.
In the case of adenomyosis, this tissue grows in the wall of the uterus, and continues to follow the monthly cycle of growing and shedding. This can results in an enlarged uterus and heavy, painful periods.
Causes & Treatments
Doctors aren’t quite sure what causes adenomyosis, though it is thought to be more common in middle aged women, and risk factors include childbirth and “prior uterine surgery, such as a C-section or fibroid removal.”**
There is currently no treatment for adenomyosis, though hormone treatments may help, and if symptoms are severe, hysterectomy is an option.
What About Fertility?
Adenomyosis is unfortunately not well understood or studied. One small study*** found that over half of patients with adenomyosis presented as infertile and nearly 10% had frequent miscarriages. Of the 103 participants:
- 70 attempted pregnancy, 21 naturally through intercourse, and 49 through IVF.
- Pregnancy outcomes were 30% pregnancy, with 23% live births.
How Do I Know if I have Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis can only really be 100% diagnosed by inspection of the uterus after a hysterectomy, however your doctor might use the following to help determine if it may be the issue you’re facing by ruling out other possibilities:
- A pelvic exam that reveals an enlarged, tender uterus
- Ultrasound imaging of the uterus
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the uterus
Want to learn more? Talk to your gynecologist today.
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.