Adenomyosis and IBS
Last updated: December 2020
My very first post for this site was on endometriosis and IBS. Endometriosis is when cells similar to endometrium (the lining of the uterus that a woman sheds during menstruation) grow in other parts of the body instead of where they shouldn't, usually in the pelvic cavity. This includes the bladder and bowels and so someone can probably intuit that having tissue that shouldn't be there growing on one's bowels can perhaps adversely impact them and cause IBS-like symptoms.
It's unclear to what extent my endo contributes to or exacerbates my IBS, but it is clear that it undoubtedly plays a (likely prominent) part. When my IBS was at its absolute worse was surgery to remove much of the endo caused significant relief in my IBS symptoms.
What is adenomyosis?
However, a few years ago I was diagnosed with adenomyosis, a similar but separate condition from endometriosis. In adenomyosis, the endometrial cell penetrates into the very muscle of the uterus. It can cause similar symptoms to endo and compound existing symptoms of endo.
The thing about adeno is that you usually cannot remove it without removing the actual uterus. This is a serious step and for a young woman especially, or someone who still wants biological children, might not be the desirable outcome (on an aside, something called a uterine artery embolization, or UAE, might be an alternative because it can potentially help treat adeno in some cases while allowing a person to keep their womb intact).
Adenomyosis affects my IBS
However, for myself, I have decided to have a hysterectomy. I have been experiencing some gut issues too (including more constipation, which may be due to having a tipped uterus swollen with the disease, leaning heavily on my bowels and slowing things down). My GERD has also flared and my new gastroenterologist mentioned constipation and bloating can, in turn, contribute to reflux and heartburn. My back and hips hurt a lot too lately, and while they've got their own thing going on, I am sure the adeno is making it all worse.
Looking forward to potential relief
My hope is that the hysterectomy will also have residual benefits for my IBS and digestive issues, among other things in my body. It's all connected and I think it's hard to deny that something so physiologically close to my GI tract that these diseases could not also be affecting it. In a little over a month I will be finding out, and I am feeling both apprehensive but mostly excited to be rid of the painful periods and it, hopefully, also have some other good results.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?