Adenomyosis and subfertility: a systematic review of prevalence, diagnosis, treatment and fertility outcomes

Abha Maheshwari, Sumana Gurunath, Farah Fatima, Siladitya Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND Uterine adenomyosis was initially thought to be found only in parous women, and final diagnosis was made at histology after hysterectomy. With better imaging techniques and with women attending clinics at older ages, adenomyosis is diagnosed with increasing frequency in women attending infertility clinics. A dozen conservative interventions have been advocated, with variable reports of their impact on fertility. This presents a dilemma for clinicians managing such patients. Hence, this systematic review of adenomyosis was performed to determine (i) the prevalence in a subfertile population, (ii) the accuracy of diagnostic tests, (iii) the efficacy of fertility sparing treatment options and (iv) the reproductive and obstetric/perinatal outcomes in women with adenomyosis.
METHODS Systematic searches of various databases were performed independently by two reviewers, and data were extracted according to predefined criteria by two reviewers.
RESULTS There is little data on the epidemiology of adenomyosis associated with subfertility. Both magnetic resonance imaging and ultrasound are non-invasive tests with equivalent accuracy in diagnosing adenomyosis (area under curve 0.91 and 0.88, respectively). Most studies on treatments have been uncontrolled and outcomes are usually reported in the form of case series. Hence, the true impact of various treatments on fertility is not known. There are variable reports of the impact of adenomyosis on the success of IVF. Increased incidence of preterm labour and premature rupture of membranes has been reported in women with adenomyosis.
CONCLUSIONS Further studies are needed to determine the natural history of adenomyosis and implications for fertility and reproductive outcomes, with and without treatment. Currently, there is no evidence that we should find and treat adenomyosis in patients who wish to conceive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-392
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • adenomyosis
  • subfertility
  • MRI
  • ultrasound
  • fertility outcomes


Dive into the research topics of 'Adenomyosis and subfertility: a systematic review of prevalence, diagnosis, treatment and fertility outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this