Nse Ikpe-Etim recounts her struggle with adenomyosis and subsequent hysterectomy
Award-winning actress Nse Ikpe Etim has opened up about her struggles with adenomyosis and subsequent hysterectomy. The revelation came at her event in Lagos tagged Conversations with Nse. The event was to promote her new movie Heaven’s Hell.
Her revelation has led to a lot of conversation online and has created awareness about the condition.
What is Adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is a medical condition whereby the inner lining of the womb breaks through the wall of the uterus. People with this condition usually experience bloating before their periods, heavy bleeding during periods, severe menstrual cramps.
This condition can affect a woman’s quality of life even though it is not life threatening.
Symptoms of adenomyosis
The most common symptoms of this condition are:
• Menstrual cramps
• Abdominal bloating
• Heavy bleeding
• Prolonged menstrual flow
Who is at risk of getting adenomyosis
Adenomyosis is common among women who have previously had children, middle aged women, and women who have previously had uterine surgery.
There are several studies linking adenomyosis to hormonal issues like estrogen, prolactin, progesterone, and follicle stimulating hormone.
How it is diagnosed?
In the past, diagnosing adenomyosis was very difficult. It involved removing the uterus and examining it to check for the condition under a microscope. The advancement in medical technology has made it possible to diagnose it without having to perform a hysterectomy.
The diagnosis options include:
1. Pelvic exam
A pelvic exam is usually the first step in the series of tests. This will allow the doctor to know if the womb is enlarged or tender.
Ultrasounds will show the condition of the uterus, helping the doctor to see if a woman has adenomyosis of related conditions.
With sonohysterography, a saline solution is passed through a tube into the vagina during an ultrasound. This can allow the doctor to see whether or not the woman has adenomyosis.
4. Transvaginal ultrasound
With transvaginal ultrasound, the doctor will not only see the condition but also the physical appearance of the disease.
MRIs can confirm an adenomyosis diagnosis. It is recommended for women with heavy uterine bleeding.
Treatment for the condition is not a one-size-fits-all process. The doctor will determine what treatment is best for the woman based on the woman’s childbearing history and the severity of the condition.
Treatment options include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help manage period pain at the beginning and during menstruation.
• Endometrial ablation
This procedure destroys the lining of the womb. It is usually the best treatment option for women with early stage adenomyosis.
• Uterine artery embolization
This procedure cuts off blood flow to the affected tissue, thereby effectively killing the adenomyosis. Uterine artery embolization is also used to treat uterine fibroids.
• Hormone therapy
Hormone therapy can work in the treatment of adenomyosis. IUDs and some hormone releasing intra-uterine devices can be used to treat the condition.
Completely removing the uterus can put an end to adenomyosis. Nse Ikpe-Etim elected to have this done. However, it is not advisable for women who still desire to have children.
Adenomyosis and infertility
This condition can lead to infertility, as was Nse Ikpe-Etim’s case.
By openly talking about her condition in a culture where women usually keep silent when it comes to fertility issues, Nse Ikpe-Etim has opened up the floor for a much-needed conversation about female reproductive health.