BENGALURU: Some months ago, Renuka N suffered from period pain so severe that it hindered her ability to walk as well. The 39-year-old had been suffering from heavy bleeding for a year and a half now. A visit to the gynaecologist, a scan and a urine test later, she was diagnosed with adenomyosis, a condition that affects four in 10 women, according to Dr Shashikala Ksheerasagar, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Vikram Hospital. While April is well-known to be the month of Parkinson and Autism awareness, not many know that Adenomyosis Awareness Month is during the same month as well. On the occasion, CE spoke to some doctors learn more about the condition.
Sometimes known as the ‘sister’ disease of endometriosis, adenomyosis is a painful condition where the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, grows into the muscle of the uterus, leading to severe pain and discomfort. It generally tends to affect pre-menopausal women or women in their late 30s and 40s. “The uterus tends to get large and tender, sometimes growing to the size it would be during an 8 or 14-week pregnancy. That’s would 10-12 cm extra,” explains Dr Prathima Reddy, director, senior gynaecologist and obstetrician, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road.
In Aishwarya Giresh’s (name changed on request) case, the 45-year-old had been facing heavy bleeding for about 3-4 years but it was around a year ago that the pain started to get intolerable enough for her to reach out to an expert. Girish suffered from no other medicinal issues and painkillers too weren’t effective in helping her deal with this.
“Adenomyosis is not life threatening but it can hamper the quality of your life. Most women tend to ignore such pain and put it off for a long time, but the sooner it’s addressed, the better it will be for them,” adds Dr Reddy, who says that at least 30-40 per cent women suffer from this condition.
On an average, doctors see about three new cases a week and about 10-20 a month, making the condition quite common. According to Dr ManishaSingh – Consultant - Obstetrics And Gynaecology , Infertility Medicine / IVF Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, while period cramps are common in adenomyosis and regular menstrual cycles, the former is also accompanied by heavy bleeding. Agreed Dr Reddy, who adds that the pain can often take a chronic form and constantly persist in the lower tummy.
Treatment for this condition would vary depending on the patient’s condition. While Renuka was suggested a hysterectomy, Girish was advised the use of an intra uterine system. Dr Ksheerasagar says, “The treatment definitely varies but a hysterectomy is suggested to those women who have completed their family and are in pre-menopausal age. For younger women, symptom control by means of combined oral contraceptive pills or an intra-uterine system can be recommended.”
● It generally occurs in women in their 30s or 40s
● Heavier menstrual bleeding
● Pain in the lower tummy just before one’s period
● Chronic pain in abdomen
● Pain during intercourse