Adenomyosis: a systematic review of medical treatment

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2016 Sep;32(9):696-700. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2016.1197200. Epub 2016 Jul 5.


Adenomyosis is a heterogeneous gynaecologic condition with a range of clinical presentations, the most common being heavy menstrual bleeding and dysmenorrhoea; however, patients can also be asymptomatic. Several studies support the theory that adenomyosis results from invasion of the endometrium into the myometrium, causing alterations in the junctional zone. These changes are commonly seen on imaging studies, such as transvaginal ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. The aim of this review is to discuss the medical approach to the management of adenomyosis symptoms, including pain and abnormal uterine bleeding. The standard treatment of adenomyosis is hysterectomy, but there is no medical therapy to treat the symptoms of adenomyosis while still allowing patients to conceive. Medical therapies using suppressive hormonal treatments, such as continuous use of oral contraceptive pills, high-dose progestins, selective oestrogen receptor modulators, selective progesterone receptor modulators, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, aromatase inhibitors, danazol, and gonadotrophin receptor hormone agonists can temporarily induce regression of adenomyosis and improve the symptoms.

Keywords: Adenomyosis; GnRH agonist; aromatase inhibitors; danazol; endometriosis; levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device; oral contraceptive; progestins.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenomyosis / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans