Uterine abnormalities are structural problems with the uterus that are either congenital (from birth) or acquired from infection, surgery or other problems. These abnormalities can lead to infertility and difficulties in carrying a pregnancy. Other factors that affect the uterus, such as Asherman’s syndrome (scar tissue acquired via surgery or infection) and uterine fibroids, can hamper fertility, but these generally are not considered uterine abnormalities.
Symptoms of uterine abnormalities
Most uterine abnormalities do not cause symptoms, and many women might not know they have uterine abnormalities until discovered during an ultrasound or pelvic exam. If women have symptoms, they may include:
- Never having a period
- Abdominal pain with or without bleeding during menses
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Irregular bleeding during periods
- Pain during intercourse.
Treatment of uterine abnormalities
Not all uterine abnormalities require treatment. Surgical treatment is an option for women who experience uterine bleeding that cannot be treated with medication or hormone therapy. If women with uterine abnormalities experience pain during menses or recurrent miscarriages, the specialist might recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure such as a hysteroscopy or laparoscopy.
Hysteroscopy is a technique that allows the specialist to look inside the uterus to find abnormalities and fix them if necessary. A hysteroscope is a slim, lighted instrument that is inserted into the vagina and cervix to view the uterus.
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive reproductive imaging procedure that involves inserting a camera and small instruments in the abdominal cavity to provide the surgeon a view of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries so he or she can treat uterine abnormalities.
Other more invasive surgical procedures are available for women with uterine abnormalities that require lengthening or reshaping the uterus. Women at risk for preterm birth may be recommended to have a stitch placed in the cervix once pregnant to attempt to prevent preterm delivery.