What is it and some tips for managing this condition.

Are you struggling with abnormally painful periods, heavy flow, bleeding at irregular times or feeling like your bloating or lower abdomen is growing despite the same diet and exercise habits? These may be signs that there are more than the average period problems happening. In some cases, these painful and debilitating periods can be due to elevated prostaglandins, endometriosis, estrogen dominance and a condition I will go further into below called adenomyosis.

What is Adenomyosis?

Adenomyosis is a condition that enlarges the uterus caused by growth of endometrial tissue into the uterine tissue. This means that the lining of the uterus grows into the wall and muscle of the uterus. The tissue keeps working just like the uterine lining, so it gets thicker and then breaks down every month during your period.

It is not clear at all how common this condition is as many women actually do not experience any symptoms. There are estimates though that range from 5-70%, however 10-30% is probably more accurate given it seems to be an under-diagnosed condition. It is most common in women who have had children.


Signs and symptoms of Adenomyosis:

• Heavy periods and prolonged bleeding

• Painful periods (Dysmenorrhea)

• Bloating

• Clots in the period blood

• Bleeding between periods

• Bowel issues

• Pain with sex

• Chronic pelvic pain

• Back pain

• Extreme pelvic pressure

• Anaemia


If you’re main issue is heavy bleeding without many of these other symptoms, I encourage you to reach out as this could be due to other reasons due to a hormonal imbalance. These could include oestrogen dominance, hypothyroidism, fibroids or even iron deficiency. Do not attempt to self-diagnose adenomyosis. The condition can have the same symptoms as other health problems like endometriosis.


Why is Adenomyosis so painful?

Heavy periods are thought to occur in more than half of women with adenomyosis, however pain is only present in a third. The tissue that is within the muscle wall of the uterus responds to hormones in the same way as your normal uterine lining does. This means it can expand, grow and bleed, all of which can be quite painful.


What is the difference between Adenomyosis and Endometriosis?

Endometriosis has similar symptoms as adenomyosis, including pelvic pain and painful periods. The big difference is where the lesions or endometrial tissue are found. In endometriosis the tissue occurs outside the uterus. In adenomyosis, the tissue is inside the muscle wall of the uterus.

Both are painful, can result in heavy bleeding and it is possible to have both at the same time.

It can be more difficult to diagnose adenomyosis than it is to diagnose endometriosis. The first step is to rule out other causes of painful, heavy periods.


How to treat and manage Adenomyosis.

There are nutrition and lifestyle practices that can help reduce pain, improve hormonal health, lower inflammation and improve health outcomes.

Unfortunately, the Pill, Mirena and IUD’s are all commonly prescribed to treat women’s hormonal imbalances. Please know there are side effects and risks with any of these and its important to know that if you are considering using these to “manage” symptoms that you are not treating the underlying cause. Therefore, the condition still exists even though the symptoms may be less.

Eat an anti-inflammatory, hormone friendly diet. Decreasing inflammation can help improve many pain related conditions. Using nutrition to replenish nutrients lost by heavy periods and support optimal hormone balance is an important aspect of managing adenomyosis. Nutrition can be tremendously helpful in women’s health. Bio-individuality is key. What works for one person may not work for another. You need to understand your dietary inflammatory triggers, and this is where I can help to assist in finding and treating the root cause.


Magnesium is a critical nutrient required in the diet and these days (even with the best of diets) we just do not get enough of it due to our soils being depleted because of modern day farming. So, it may be necessary to supplement, and not all supplements are created equal. Let me know if you want assistance with this.


Cramp Bark is an herb you can get from a health food store. Use it in tincture form. A couple of droppers can help with pain. And generally best if you start it at least 2 days before your period and use it 3 times a day. Using a hot water bottle on the abdomen for 20-30 mins at a time can help reduce cramping.


It is also important to support oestrogen detox pathways. Excess oestrogen (also known as oestrogen dominance) can cause heavy, painful periods with clots on its own. Supporting your body’s natural process of creating more beneficial oestrogen metabolites within the liver and moving it out via the bowels and urine is an important step in managing adenomyosis (and oestrogen dominance in general).


You can do this by drinking plenty of clean water everyday, avoiding environmental toxins that disrupt hormones, eating a hormone balancing diet and getting plenty of good quality sleep. I have meal plans and recipes to help you get started in using nutrition to support your body. I can give you the tools to bring in more nutrient dense foods that help you build better hormones and eliminate the ones in excess.

Please know, living with painful reproductive conditions does not have to be your normal. You are not alone, and you can improve your condition.


Sending love and wellness.


Nicole INHC HHP.