Apparently adenomyosis is a common gynaecological condition. In my experience however, after experiencing debilitating migraines, being sent for blood, abdominal, bladder and bowel tests, and seeing various specialists (even having a brain scan), not one medically qualified person mentioned the existence of the condition to me.
Eventually, after suffering chronic and constant pelvic pain and anaemia, and physically changing shape so much that only maternity clothes were comfortable, a gynae nurse called upon by a radiographer for a 'second opinion' of yet another scan uttered the infamous words
that changed my life forever "I can see what it is, it's benign, it is spreading across your uterus and it's called adenomyosis".
I was relieved, a diagnosis! Subsequently, it seemed my gynaecologist was aware of the condition, but explained how hard it was to diagnose. Not being medically qualified, I started to do my own research on-line to find out more, and noted there was limited information available to help me understand the condition that I was newly diagnosed with.
My particular experience of this condition has affected my family, home and work life considerably. When I needed support and advice there was little available. I was shocked at the lack of information and research available to read, to enable me to manage the extreme symptoms despite the apparently common occurence of adenomyosis. I battled on, on my own and spent literally months coming to terms with the fact that ultimately I would need a hysterectomy.
This experience lead me to think of setting up an advice group and indeed this web site, to create an awareness at least of the symptoms of the condition. Personally, I had to really push for answers, a diagnosis and support. It was physically and emotionally exhausting.
Now that I have finally received my treatment in the form of a total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH), I wanted to make others aware that you do not have to suffer alone with this particular condition. At the lowest points of my illness, I felt frightened, distressed and I wanted my life back. Ultimately having a hysterectomy was a BIG, but very necessary decision for me.
More rersearch into the causes of adenomyosis can only be a good thing, since adenomyosis seems indiscriminate in terms of age, and can occur in women who have had no children or any trauma to their womb. This year the Adenomymosis Advice Association has launched the first 2017 global digital survey, the results of which will be published here on the main website and distributed to the Association's 300 clinicians worldwide. These clinicians form the panel of the Adenomyosis Awareness Network. The panel are themselves eager to raise an awareness and are in some cases are already carrying out further studies and research into the condition. If you would like to be included in the 2017 Study, please send a message and you will be sent a link to complete the questionnaire. Clinicians in the fields of gynaecology, fertility, endocrine, bladder, bowel and oncology are very welcome to join the LinkedIn Adenomyosis Awareness Network to see training videos and materials relating to identifying adenomyosis and to network with other clinicians to research further into the causes of this condition. This group is also open to those working in the occupational health and insurance institutions to create an awareness into the fact that once hysterectomy has taken place, that the patient is free of adenomyosis and able to go back to work and live a pain and symptom free life.
I personally feel that regular estrogen testing for women at the time of a smear test might in some way detect the likelihood of adenomyosis. Many women in their late teens and early twenties are being diagnosed with the condition. At the very least it might highlight potential reproductive problems early, thus preventing the need for expensive diagnostic tests, major surgery and infertility treatments further down the line for this and other estrogen dependant diseases such as cancers (anywhere) in the body.
From the volume of visits to this website and the various social media pages, I feel there is an urgent and genuine need to raise the profile of this condition in terms of media reportage. Endometrosis is well known, adenomyosis is not. There is now an e-petition which supports the global adenomyosis awareness campaign which only requires an electronic signature ~ so please feel free to support and be counted!
I've included an On-line Support page, which is intended to be used by visitors to the website wishing to share their symptoms, experiences or simply needing a soundboard or advice. Partners are very welcome too, since they too can be affected by this condition, witnessing the stresses and physical changes it brings (they may not feel comfortable discussing the subject matter openly with their partners, family and friends).
Moving forward ...
I hope the information that I have put together here will help others who have recently learned that they have, or have yet to be diagnosed with this condition. Families, employers and even GP's may not yet be aware of adenomyosis. Always remember, the condition is very real even if those around you have not heard of it, or cannot yet see a change in your appearance. Ultimately, if you sense something is wrong, don't ignore your symptoms... keep going back to your GP/Consultant/Surgeon until you get answers!
The Adenomyosis Advice Association website and Facebook page is monitored daily. If anyone wishes to link their website to support this cause, either in relation to help groups or commercial products that can be used to support and ease the condition etc, please feel free to contact me via the 'Contact' page or join us on Facebook or Twitter and you will be added to the 'Thank you' page in recognition of your supporting the global adenomyosis awareness campaign.
Please note the Adenomyosis Advice Association does not endorse any specific medication and all advertisement SPAM which is directed to the site will be removed accordingly.
Finally, and above all, there is life after adenomyosis!
Wishing you very good health and happiness.
Adenomyosis Advice Association