Eutopic and ectopic endometria of women with adenomyosis show a series of metabolic and molecular abnormalities that increase angiogenesis and proliferation, decrease apoptosis, allow local production of estrogens, create progesterone resistance, and impair cytokine expression. These changes enhance the ability of the endometrium to infiltrate the junctional zone myometrium and the growth of ectopic tissue. In addition, in these subjects several immunological abnormalities have been observed, together with an increased production of 'free radicals' leading to excessive growth of endometrial stromal cells that may facilitate the establishment of adenomyosis. A limiting factor is that these studies have been performed on hysterectomy specimens representing final stages of the disease. This increased knowledge has created new therapeutic options, including the block of local aromatase production through the use of selective estrogen receptor modulators, estrogen-progestin combinations and gonadotropin-releasing hormone super agonists. Also promising are investigations into the mechanism of dysmenorrhea and abnormal uterine bleeding.