Why do we need this research?
Adenomyosis is a medical condition that occurs when tissue from the lining of the womb – the endometrium – is found deep in the muscular wall of the womb. Although adenomyosis is not life threatening, it can cause heavy and prolonged periods and chronic pain in the pelvis, and these symptoms can have a big impact on day-to-day life.
Scientists think it is possible that women and birthing people with adenomyosis are more likely to struggle with fertility and to have a miscarriage, but the studies that have been carried out so far have not proved this. We want to find out more.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are carrying out a large clinical trial to find out whether there really is a link between adenomyosis and miscarriage. The team will use ultrasound to scan the wombs of women who are going through fertility treatment and will compare the rates of miscarriage in those with adenomyosis and those without it. They want more than 800 women to take part in the study, which should be enough to give a definitive answer about whether adenomyosis really can cause miscarriage.
As well as this clinical trial, our researchers are looking at existing evidence to learn more about adenomyosis. For example, by combining data from other research studies and reports, our team are finding out how common adenomyosis is in women who are struggling to get pregnant. The team are also using existing data to explore the link between adenomyosis and various types of pregnancy loss, including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and stillbirth.
What difference will this project make?
If our research shows that there is a clear link between adenomyosis and miscarriage, we will next develop a screening programme to identify the women and birthing people who are most at risk and who need special care during pregnancy. In the future, it may also be possible to develop treatments that can reduce the chances of miscarriage in these people, meaning that fewer families would have to experience the pain of pregnancy loss.