At first glance, it may seem like endometriosis and adenomyosis are similar conditions. They're both gynecological diseases that affect endometrium, the tissue lining of the uterus. The endometrial tissue in endometriosis and adenomyosis acts in a similar manner — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds during a woman's monthly period. When it comes to adenomyosis vs. endometriosis treatment, the best fibroid doctor in New York City that is a member of the VIVA EVE fibroid clinic in NYC can make an accurate diagnosis. VIVA EVE’s fibroid doctors are experts that can definitely tell the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis. The right diagnosis is of course essential when choosing the proper treatment.

Adenomyosis vs. endometriosis diagnoses can be confusing and frustrating. There are overlapping symptoms, causes and results, but effective treatment options are different. Both are the result of abnormal endometrial growth in the wrong place. Both seem to occur in the presence of excess estrogen. In cases that are truly severe and complex, both can occur at the same time. To muddle a diagnosis even more, the symptoms mimic those you get from uterine fibroid tumors.

Because of the differences involved in adenomyosis vs. endometriosis — and the possible influence on your organs — these two medical conditions are treated very differently. Adenomyosis is actually a type or subset of endometriosis. One of the primary differences lies in where each occurs.

What Is Adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis occurs when the lining of the uterus — called the endometrium — breaks through the uterine muscle wall. When the lining cells of the uterus bleed during the menstrual period, these misplaced cells in the muscle bleed as well. And bleeding directly into the muscle causes pain. As the blood accumulates, the surrounding muscle swells and forms fibrous tissue in response to the irritation. One of the key symptoms of adenomyosis is the increasing size of your uterus. This swollen area within the uterine muscle wall, called an adenomyoma, feels very much like a fibroid during medical examination.  The condition may affect your entire uterus or it can be localized to one area.

Other symptoms similar to fibroids include:

  • Excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Pain
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Irritation of the surrounding peritoneum

Adenomyosis is limited to inside your uterus. It’s believed to be caused by an imbalance in the levels of estrogen and progesterone, causing unusual growth on the inner surface of your uterus. The primary symptom of adenomyosis is heavy bleeding.

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis refers to any endometrial or uterine tissue growing outside your uterus. As with adenomyosis, the endometrial tissue swells and thickens every month. With no way to leave the body, this extra tissue forms lesions and scar tissue on your ovaries, abdominal ligaments, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum or pelvic wall. These lesions trick the cells of these organs into behaving as endometrial tissue themselves.

Symptoms of endometriosis can be more diverse. While heavy bleeding may occur, pain is the most prevalent complaint. The lesions and scar tissue cause the pelvic organs to bind or attach to each other. Along with the presence of any blood in your abdomen, this situation causes significant discomfort.

Endometriosis can also lead to:

  • Cysts forming and bleeding on pelvic organs, especially your ovaries
  • Infertility concerns
  • A lack of ovulation as lesions bind your ovaries
  • Destruction of the ova after ovulation due to lesions on your fallopian tubes
  • Adhesions and scarring on your bladder or bowels, restricting proper function

Other Differences Between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis

The primary difference between these two conditions is where they occur. Adenomyosis occurs only inside the muscle wall of the uterus, usually between the muscle layers. Endometriosis can occur anywhere in your pelvic or abdominal cavity — and occasionally beyond.

Differences in treatment between adenomyosis vs. endometriosis are due to the location of the tissue affecting your body. You may notice the differences in the following ways:

  • Adenomyosis symptoms usually appear quickly, whereas endometriosis symptoms come on gradually.
  • Since adenomyosis occurs only in your uterus, a hysterectomy often completely resolves your problems. But endometriosis may affect multiple organs. Several types of treatments are needed to effectively control it.
  • Adenomyosis’ primary and sometimes only symptom is heavy bleeding. Endometriosis may exist along with other conditions, including auto-immune issues, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and endocrine diseases. Your NYC fibroid specialist coordinates the treatment of all these conditions.
  • Adenomyosis can be diagnosed through ultrasound, hysteroscopy or a hysterectomy. Occasionally, the best fibroid doctor can detect uterine changes through a physical exam. Laparoscopy is the only guaranteed way of accurately diagnosing endometriosis.
  • Medication to control hormone imbalances often is the best treatment for fibroids and adenomyosis. Endometriosis sufferers may find relief with medications, but usually only in the early stages. Endometriosis surgery may have to be considered.
  • Adenomyosis usually occurs after the birth of a child, especially later in life. Endometriosis may occur in very young women. Those who have endometriosis may never have had a child.

Similarities Between Adenomyosis vs. Endometriosis

Because everyone reacts differently to abnormal endometrial growth, symptoms may overlap. Since adenomyosis is a form of endometriosis, proper diagnosis is essential, which is why a gynecologist specializing in fibroids is your best option. Similarities among the three conditions include:

  • Hormonal in nature
  • Affecting women in their child-bearing years, when they can contribute to infertility concerns
  • Occurring after trauma to your uterus — such as from surgery or a C-section
  • Can induce painful urination, generalized pain, backaches, pain during bowel movements, pain from intercourse and feelings of bloating
  • Initially treated with medications before moving to more aggressive methods, such as surgery
  • Can recur even after successful treatment

Your fibroid specialist understands the differences and similarities between adenomyosis vs. endometriosis vs. fibroids. Keeping your reproductive considerations in mind, the best surgeons in NYC find the most effective, most appropriate treatment. The fibroid specialists at VIVA EVE provide you the diagnosis and treatment for each of these conditions.