Uterine abnormalities refer to structural problems of the uterus. This can be the result of an infection or a prior surgery or could even be a congenital defect. Some types of uterine abnormalities can cause infertility and complications in the pregnancy. In many cases, an abnormality is detected only after infertility is diagnosed.
Diagnosis of Uterine Anomalies
Most uterine anomalies are asymptomatic. Hence, they are usually diagnosed only when a woman finds it difficult to conceive or when complications arise during the pregnancy. The tests used to confirm a diagnosis of uterine abnormalities are:
- Vaginal Ultrasound - A vaginal ultrasound is not the same as an abdominal ultrasound. This is an internal ultrasound that uses sound waves to capture images of the uterus and vagina.
- Hysterosalpingogram - This test involves inserting a dye into the cervix and then taking an X-ray of the reproductive organs.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Magnetic and radio waves are used in this test to identify uterine abnormalities.
- Sonohysterogram - This test involves taking an ultrasound of the uterus after salt water has been inserted into it.
Do All Uterine Abnormalities Need treatment?
Treatment is not needed in all cases of uterine abnormalities. Abnormalities such as fibroids may not even interfere with pregnancy. They may even shrink on their own. Hence treatment usually depends on the severity of the abnormality.
Treatment of Uterine Abnormalities
Uterine abnormalities caused by an infection or scar tissue may be treated with medication or hormonal therapy. Surgery is advised only if these forms of treatment do not help.
Surgery may also be used to correct congenital uterine abnormalities. This surgery is usually performed laparoscopically to minimise risks of infection and speed up the healing time. In cases where the uterus is divided by a septum, the septum may be surgically removed to open up the uterus to its normal shape and size.
In the case of a unicornuate uterus, part of the uterus is obstructed. This obstruction may be surgically removed if the other half of the uterus is functional.
In some cases, treatment may be needed not to correct the abnormality but to limit its effects on pregnancy. For example, women who have a high risk of preterm labour or a miscarriage in the late stages of a pregnancy because of a uterine anomaly may need a cervical cerclage. This refers to narrowing the cervix with a stitch so as to prevent premature dilation.
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