Uterine anomalies develop when a female is growing in her mother’s womb. The uterus and part of the vagina normally develop from tissue on the left and right side of the body, fusing together to create the hollow uterine cavity. Anomalies occur when this structure does not fuse correctly or does not hollow out completely.
The various uterine development conditions include bicornuate, unicornuate, and septate uterine anomalies.
Most women with uterine anomalies do not experience symptoms and may not discover they have an abnormal uterus until they have a routine pelvic exam or an ultrasound.
When symptoms do occur, women may experience:
- Never having had a period
- Recurrent miscarriages or infertility
- Preterm labor or abnormal positioning of the baby during pregnancy or labor
- Pain when inserting a tampon
- Pain during sex
- Pain with menses
- Additionally, a uterine anomaly can block menstrual blood from exiting the body due to incomplete development of the vagina or uterus. This usually causes monthly abdominal pain, with or without the presence of external bleeding.
Many women with uterine anomalies do not require treatment. If pain, miscarriage or infertility is an issue, a physician may recommend correcting the anomaly surgically. Most cases of uterine anomalies can be corrected through minimally invasive techniques, such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy.