Congenital Uterine Abnormalities

Congenital uterine abnormalities occur when the uterus does not properly form in the fetal stage. These anomalies can increase your risk of amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), miscarriage, premature birth or infertility. However, many women with congenital uterine abnormalities don’t experience any fertility problems and go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies.


What Causes Congenital Uterine Abnormalities?

The uterus develops from two ridges of tissue on the left and right sides prior to your birth. Once developed, the two sides fuse together to form a single uterus. Most uterine anomalies occur when the two halves don’t joinproperly or completely.


Symptoms of Uterine Anomalies

Although uterine abnormalities exist from birth, they generally do not produce any symptoms. Some women may not start their period during puberty (amenorrhea) or may experience pain during intercourse. More severe anomalies can cause infertility, recurrent pregnancy loss or preterm birth. Typically, uterine abnormalities are discovered through an ultrasound when you are pregnant or during fertility evaluations.


Types of Congenital Uterine Abnormalities

Generally the type of uterine abnormality you have refers to the degree to which the uterus did not properly fuse.

septate uterus exhibits a normal exterior surface, but a piece of tissue or muscle creates two endometrial cavities. This is one of the most common and minor uterine abnormalities. Women with septate uterus are at an increased risk for miscarriage.

Bicornuate uterus is another common uterine anomaly. The exterior surface of the uterus is indented and there are two endometrial cavities instead of one. Women with bicornuate uterus typically don’t require surgery.

Two less common types of uterine abnormality is a didelphid uterus, which a double uterus,each with it’s own cervical opening. A unicornate uterusoccurs when one-half of the uterine cavity doesn’t develop. The uterus is smaller than normal, and surgery cannot increase the size.


Treating Congenital Uterine Abnormalities

For a septet uterus, your fertility doctor may recommend surgery if you experience recurrent pregnancy loss. The tissue separating the endometrial cavities does not have as much blood flow, so if an embryo implants there- it raises the risk of miscarriage.

Generally, if you have a uterine abnormality, your doctor will monitor you for premature birth and ensure the baby is growing properly, since these conditions can restrict fetal development. You are also more likely to need a C-section.

Talk to your fertility doctor about any concerns or questions you have regarding congenital uterine abnormalities and your fertility.

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