Uterine Abnormalities

Definition - What does Uterine Abnormalities mean?

Uterine abnormalities are a type of structural abnormalities that occur in the uterus, the child-bearing organ of the female reproductive system. These abnormalities are present at birth and occur due to defects in the development of the embryo. However, women usually don't know that they have uterine abnormalities until they reach the childbearing age, at which these abnormalities can cause fertility related issues such as the inability to conceive and recurrent miscarriages.

Uterine abnormalities are also called uterine malformations.

FertilitySmarts explains Uterine Abnormalities

The normal uterus is pear shaped. The cavity of the uterus takes the shape of an inverted triangle with the tip pointing at the vagina and the base connecting with the two fallopian tubes.

In a developing embryo, the uterus develops by the fusion of two tubes. Any defect in this process can cause the uterus to take an abnormal shape. Some of the most commonly seen abnormalities include,

  • Arcuate uterus - Mildest form. Pear shaped uterus with a dimple at the top.
  • Septate uterus - A wall splits the uterine cavity into two cavities.
  • Bicornuate uterus - Heart shaped uterus.
  • Unicornuate uterus - Banana shaped uterus.
  • Double uterus - Two distinct banana shaped uterus.

Mild abnormalities do not affect fertility, but the presence of significant abnormalities can interfere with the passage of sperm towards the egg as well as implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterine cavity. This will result in infertility or recurrent miscarriages.

Abnormalities of the uterus can be diagnosed with the use of an ultrasound scan. Sometimes, an MRI may be required for more accurate assessment of the uterus for the planning of corrective surgery.

Whether the abnormality can be corrected or not depends on the degree of uterine abnormalities. Abnormalities like a septate uterus can be treated with a surgical procedure called a uterine septum resection, with a considerable proportion of women improving their fertility. For some, even after corrective surgery, the ability to conceive may not return to normal.

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