Dysmenorrhea refers to painful menstruation. This is one of the most commonly reported symptoms of adenomyosis.
A study by Li et al. in 2018 states that dysmenorrhea occurs in anywhere from 30 to 77.8% of patients. This same study states that 60.2% of women who have both adenomyosis and endometriosis report moderate to severe pain while 39.3% of women who only have adenomyosis (no endometriosis) report moderate to severe pain. Another study by Nelsen et al. (2018) states that 84% of the women in their study reported menstrual cramps, and this symptom was only second to heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
Gunther and Walker (2019) state that prostaglandins are the cause of pain in adenomyosis. However, Gordts et al. (2018) point out that increased expression of oxytocin receptors in adenomyosis may be the cause of uterine hyperperistalsis which can lead to pain.
In my most recent book, Adenomyosis: The Women Speak, I asked members of the Adenomyosis Fighters Support Group about their pain levels. Here are examples of some of their responses:
“On a scale of 1-10, I give it a 15-20. I seriously wish for death.”
“Not even childbirth was as painful.”
“Shaking, crying, can’t move it’s so bad.”
“Intense. Sharp. Painful. Can’t catch my breath. If it flares at night, I will wake up. Pain killers and heat only take a bit of the edge off.”
“Severe. I was just in tears last night from contraction-like pain in my uterus.”
“On a scale of 1-10, definitely a 10. I have ben rushed to the ER by ambulance due to the pain.”
“I delivered two babies naturally. It felt almost exactly the same before crowning. I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes. Had to drag a stool around so I could make my kids snacks and meals.”
“10/10. I often pass out or vomit from pain.”