Current and Future Medical Therapies for Adenomyosis

Adela G. Cope, Alessandra J. Ainsworth, Elizabeth A. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There is no approved medical therapy for adenomyosis and limited evidence to guide treatments in part due to the complexity of nonhistologic diagnosis and the prevalence of concomitant gynecologic conditions. Most available evidence focuses on the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding, painful menses, and pelvic pain. Data evaluating fertility outcomes, sexual function, and quality of life following treatment are lacking. Additionally, there is no disease-specific measure of quality of life for adenomyosis. The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system appears to be the most effective first-line therapy based on efficacy compared with oral agents, maintenance of steady-state hormonal levels, and contraceptive benefit. In areas where it is marketed, the progestin dienogest appears superior to combined oral contraceptives. Long-acting gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists are effective and should be considered second-line therapy but are limited by hypogonadal effects. Additional data regarding oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists are required. While aromatase inhibitors demonstrate improvement in heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pain, further research is needed to determine their role in the management of adenomyosis. Progesterone receptor modulators may have a role for this disease if released again to market with appropriate safety parameters. Finally, modulation of prolactin and/or oxytocin may provide novel nonsteroidal treatment options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalSeminars in Reproductive Medicine
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - May 1 2020


  • adenomyosis treatment
  • heavy menstrual bleeding
  • infertility
  • painful menses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Physiology (medical)


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