Most of the action during a pregnancy takes place in the uterus. This is where the egg is fertilised by sperm and implanted to develop into a baby. In some cases, structural abnormalities in the uterus can keep the egg from being implanted properly. This can lead to infertility. These issues are termed as uterine abnormalities.
Types of Uterine Abnormalities
Uterine abnormalities may be congenital defects or may arise as a result of an infection or prior surgery. Some of the most commonly seen congenital uterine abnormalities are:
- Unicornuate uterus
- Biocornuate uterus
- Septate uterus
- Arcuate uterus
- Uterus didelphys
These abnormalities develop while a woman is still a foetus in her mother womb. Uterine abnormalities that develop as a result of infections and surgeries include fibroids and scar tissue.
Symptoms of Uterine Abnormalities
In many cases, women do not realise that they have an abnormal uterus until they are diagnosed with infertility. This is because the condition is largely asymptomatic. In cases where symptoms do occur, they can be identified as:
The Complete Absence of Periods
Severe intrauterine scarring can lead to adhesions that make the walls of the uterus stick to each other. This can make the endometrial living very thin. This keeps an embryo from attaching itself to the uterus. In very severe cases, it may stop menstrual bleeding completely.
Anomalies such as a uterine septum divide the uterus into two halves. This does not interfere with fertilisation but can make it difficult to sustain the pregnancy leading to recurrent miscarriages.
Abnormal Positioning of a Baby during Pregnancy or Labour
The baby may go into a breech position wherein the babys feet are facing downward. In such cases, a caesarean delivery is usually advised.
A hostile uterus can result in preterm labour. This may increase the risk of infection for the new-born and can result in developmental issues.
Pain during Sex or While Inserting a Tampon
In some cases, uterine abnormalities may make it uncomfortable to insert a tampon. Similarly, vaginal intercourse may be painful.
The incomplete or abnormal development of the vagina or uterus can create an obstruction for menstrual bleeding. This can cause cramps and abdominal pain.
Uterine abnormalities do not always need to be treated. Medication and hormone therapy are usually the first courses of treatment. Surgery is recommended only in cases where these forms of treatment do not help relieve the symptoms.
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