Hypoplastic Uterus

Definition - What does Hypoplastic Uterus mean?

A hypoplastic uterus is a uterus that is very small in size from birth. A hypoplastic uterus is the result of incomplete development of the uterus during birth. Some girls can develop hypoplastic uterus during puberty due to massively raised prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone produced by a small gland in the brain, called pituitary gland. When produced in excess amounts before or during puberty, prolactin interferes with the normal development of reproductive organs and sexual characteristics, including the development of uterus.

In addition to the absence of menses, affected women also experience difficulty conceiving. Even when they conceive with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the chances of miscarriage are quite high.

FertilitySmarts explains Hypoplastic Uterus

A hypoplastic uterus can be a component of Mayer Rokitansky Kuster-Hauser syndrome, a condition in which both the uterus and vagina fail to develop. It was also reported to occur in female children of mothers exposed to diethylstilbestrol - a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen.

Females with a hypoplastic uterus usually present during puberty with an absence of menstrual periods (or primary amenorrhea). Secondary sexual characteristics are usually preserved, suggesting a normal ovarian function with the exception of a hypoplastic uterus that follows raised prolactin blood levels or a chromosomal disorder like Turner syndrome. Because the embryo implants in the uterus, women with a hypoplastic uterus have difficulty conceiving.

Genital areas develop normally, because of which the condition is usually not diagnosed before puberty until a girl fails to have normal periods.

In suspected females, a doctor performs an ultrasound of the pelvis; a small-sized uterus is indicative of the condition. The ovaries have a higher position relative to the uterus. Sometimes MRI is also used for more detailed examination of the pelvic organs.

Treatment options in females with a hypoplastic uterus include hormonal replacement therapy and assisted reproduction and the administration of gonadotropin medications (drugs that induce follicle maturation in the ovaries). IVF failure is however common in these women.

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