Last year I was diagnosed with Adenomysosis and stage 4 Endometriosis. In Chinese medicine, periods are known as the 5th Vital sign. If you are experiencing issues with your period- it indicates you need to investigate further to uncover the root cause. In 2018/19 my periods changed dramatically. I had a miscarriage, a D/C and possible hyperplasia of my endometrium. Thank goodness the later didn’t develop. My periods literally stopped flowing. When I was bleeding (if you can call it a bleed), I had to scoop the clots out my vagina when I was in the shower. The clots were a deep purple colour and the size of a 50c piece and larger. I wasn’t experiencing any pain only severe bloating and vomitting leading up to my period. I decided it was time for another ultrasound. My pelvic ultrasound revealed I had a “bulky uterus” diagnosed as Adenomyosis.
Adenomyosis is known as endometriosis cousin. Adenomyosis is characterized by the presence and invasion of endometrial glands and stroma that grow into the muscle layer of the uterus (myometrium). The myometrium of the uterus is composed of smooth muscle and is hormone sensitive (particularly during pregnancy). When we have the presence of diseased tissue that continues to grow and follow the same hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle (just like endo) thickening then breaking down to release to a bleed, over time this causes destruction to the normal myometrium architecture, changing the shape of the uterus. This is the description used in ultrasounds to describe a “bulky uterus”.
Adenomyosis like endometriosis has a tremendous impact on the quality of a woman’s life, causing many menstrual issues; such as cramping, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), menorrhagia (heavy periods), miscarriages, infertility and pre-term birth. For many women diagnosed with Adenomyosis the choice of treatment has traditionally been a hysterectomy. For young women who still wish to have a family this is a drastic option.
Currently, we are seeing an increase in young women diagnosed with adenomyosis – (which was considered a menopausal condition), due to the advancement in imaging techniques such as transvaginal ultrasound.
Our top 3 tips are:
1. Magnesium & Calcium:
When there is an imbalance between available magnesium and calcium, there can be symptoms of contraction with insufficient relaxation. Magnesium is a mineral with an important role in muscle relaxation throughout the body. Due to its relaxing effects, it can help support smooth muscle contractions like the myometrium of the uterus and relax the pelvis. We recommend nutritional sources like bananas, spinach, legumes, avocados, seeds and nuts. Alternatively a practitioner grade magnesium and calcium supplement may be needed.
2. Evening Primrose Oil:
This can help to reduce overactivity of Prostaglandins, toning and relaxing uterine cells.
3. Chinese Medicine:
There are some brilliant Chinese Medicine herbal formulas that are anti-spasmodic, help reduce inflammation and proliferation of Adenomyosis derived cells. Reduce dysmenorrhea and significantly suppress the expression of adenomyosis cells.
Amanda is the founder of Angea and has over 12 years of experience working with women to support their health journey. In addition to being a registered doctor of Chinese medicine, Amanda is a yoga teacher and founder of Mindful Pregnancy Yoga Training. Amanda offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and womb healing treatments at Angea.