Adenomyosis-Endometriosis Over 30
When a woman over the age of 30 experiences very painful periods, there may be several different factors influencing the situation. One of the more common causes of uterine irregularities in women in this age bracket is a condition called adenomyosis uteri. Sometimes referred to as endometriosis of the uterus, it is an irregularity of the glands in the uterine muscle tissue. The clinical description of it is a glandular derangement of the muscle of the uterus.
The best way to understand adenomyosis is to understand the anatomy of the uterus. It is a very simple organ comprised of only two types of tissue; the endometrium and the myometrium. The endometrium is the inside lining of the uterus, the place where a fertilized egg will embed when conception occurs. The superficial layer of the endometrium is sloughed off and carried away during menstruation and the deeper layers of the endometrium regenerate the inside of the uterus again. There are glands within the tissue of the endometrium. The myometrium is the thick, muscular wall that forms the actual organ itself. Muscular activity is an important function when it comes to expelling a baby from the uterus during labor and delivery. If there are large blood clots that are to be forced out of the uterus during a particularly heavy menstrual flow, then this muscular activity is necessary as well.
Possible Reasons For Adenomyosis
Under normal conditions, endometrium and myometrium do not mix together. However, in the case of adenomyosis, endrometrial tissue invades the walls of the uterus and penetrates the myometrium. There are two possible reasons for this. One is that the endometrium directly invades the myometrium. When adenomyosis tissue is examined under a microscope, the evidence of direct invasion is present because it is possible to see an unbroken layer of endometrium from the lining of the uterus penetrate directly into the wall of the uterus.
Another possible theory is metaplasia, or the morphing of tissue from one type to another. In this case, it appears that the muscle tissue may change into tissue which resembles the lining of the uterus. This is borne up by the fact that adenomyosis is able to grow within the muscle wall of the uterus without being joined to the inside of the uterus.
No Cause Found
In a similar vein as endometriosis, there is no specific reason why women develop adenomyosis. However, it does become more common later in life and women are commonly diagnosed with it between the ages of 30 and 45. One opinion given as to the development of adenomyosis is that it is affected by pregnancy, saying the possibility that the stress of labor and delivery coupled with the later natural repairing within the uterus allows the endometrium to seep into the uterine wall. The problem with this theory is that women who have never been pregnant have adenomyosis.
In order to properly diagnose adenomyosis, a very thorough study of a woman's medical history and information received through a physical examination are necessary. At present, the most frequently advised method of treatment is to remove the uterus entirely.