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A 37-year-old member asked:

What is the difference between adenomyosis and endometriosis?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Jarrett
Fertility Medicine 46 years experience
Location: Endometriosis is the presence of the cells that line the inside of the uterus in areas outside the uterus, such as the ovaries, the lining of the abdominal cavity called the peritoneum, or pretty much anywhere else. Adenomyosis is the presence of the lining cells in the muscle of the uterus itself.
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Dr. Hugo Ribot
Obstetrics and Gynecology 37 years experience
Location of lesions: Endometriosis is the presence of tissue that looks like the endometrium (the lining of the uterine cavity) outside the uterus, in the pelvic or abdominal cavities. Adenomyosis is when implants of endometrial tissue are found within the myometrium which is the muscular walls that make up the corpus, or body, of the uterus itself. Adenomyosis often causes heavy periods, while endometriosis doesn't.
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Dr. John Lipman
Radiology 38 years experience
Same process: The uterus is made up of a thin lining and a much thicker muscular portion. The lining is called the endometrium. When these cells are found outside the uterus, it is endometriosis. When these lining cells are located deep to the lining but still inside the uterus that is adenomyosis. Simply put, adenomyosis is endometriosis that involves the uterus (below the lining).
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Dr. Nicholas Fogelson
Specializes in Gynecology
I'm not sure we know that what Dr Lipman said is actually correct, but his answer is functionally correct. Adenomyosis is endometrial glands in the wall of the uterus. Endometriosis is endometrial glands outside of the uterus. Current theory would suggest that endometriosis is not deposited outside of the uterus during life, but rather occurs there de novo through metaplasia (changing of cell types) or laid down during embryogenesis. Adenomyosis, on the other hand, seems to be laid down in the process of placental implantation and pregnancy.
Nov 5, 2012
Last updated Apr 7, 2020
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