GI Symptoms in Adenomyosis

Many women experience gastrointestinal symptoms while dealing with adenomyosis. I endured 17 years of these symptoms, and had horrible gastrointestinal issues, namely severe constipation, severe cramping pain and diarrhea.

It is extremely important to be aware of the fact that adenomyosis is COMMONLY misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This happened in my case. If you have symptoms of adenomyosis and are diagnosed with IBS, please insist on further testing to confirm the diagnosis. Please tell your doctor about adenomyosis and your concerns that you might have it. So many women out there are being misdiagnosed with IBS who actually have adenomyosis. Get second and third opinions. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

A study by Nelsen et al. (2018) showed that 31 adenomyosis patients who were interviewed reported that they suffered from consitpation, difficult defecation, and diarrhea. Li et al. (2018) report that rectal irritation occured at a greater rate (24.8%) in women with both adenomyosis and endometriosis compared to women who only had adenomyosis (11.2%). The authors state, “The age of menarche, symptoms of rectal irritation, volume of the uterus, and CA125 levels were significantly associated with the status of co-existing [endometriosis] in patients with [adenomyosis] (para. 15). Gonzales et al. (2012, Discussion section, para. 8) state that patients with both adenomyosis and endometriosis are more likely to have endometriosis of the rectosigmoid colon. They state, “These findings confirm previous data correlating adenomyosis with deep endometriosis (principally bowel endometriosis) and with advanced stages of the disease.”

In my most recent book, Adenomyosis: The Women Speak, I asked women in the Adenomyosis Fighters Support Group about their gastrointestinal symptoms. Here are some examples of their responses:

“Yes. I was misdiagnosed with IBS-D when it was really all lady-related.”

“Bloating and hemhorroids.”

“Yes. Intense pain in my abdomen. Ended up in emergency because my doctor thought I had a perforated bowel.”

“Yes. Acid reflux, nausea, blood in stool. My appetite is low.”

“Intestinal pressure, bloating, constipation, painful bowel movements.”

“Yes. Awful heartburn.”

Li, Y.W., Liu, Y.T., Wang, S., Shi, H.H., Fan, Q.B., Zhu, L., Leng, J.H., Sun, D.W., Sun, J.H., and Lang, J.H. (2018). Clinical manifestations of adenomyosis patients with or without co-existing endometriosis. Chinese medical Journal, 131(20), 2495-2498.

Gonzales, M., Accardo de Matos, L., Goncalves, M., Blasbalg, R., Dias, J.A., Podgaec, S., Baracat, E., and Abrao, M. (2012). Patients with adenomyosis are more likely to have deep endometriosis. Gynecological Surgery, 9, 259-264.