Congenital uterine anomalies are abnormalities of the uterus that tend to develop during embryonic life. Although they occur in less than 5% of women, their likelihood increases to up to 25% in women who have had miscarriages or premature babies.
What are the different types of uterine anomalies?
- Septate: a normal external uterine surface but two endometrial cavities
- Bicornuate: an abnormal, indented external uterine surface and two endometrial cavities
- Arcuate: a normal external uterine surface with a 1 cm or less indentation into the endometrial cavity
- Unicornuate: only one half of the uterus has developed
- Didelphys: the two halves of the uterus remain separate
What are the symptoms?
Usually, uterine anomalies do not have any specific symptoms, although some women may have pain during menstruation. While uterine anomalies do not typically lead to infertility/difficulty getting pregnant, they are often found when evaluating women suffering from infertility or pregnancy loss.
How are they diagnosed?
Uterine malformations may be suspected after a complete medical history and physical examination takes place, although imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI, are needed to determine whether or not the uterine anomaly is present.
How are they treated?
Congenital uterine anomalies cannot be treated non-surgically. Your doctors will advise you on whether or not surgical treatment is recommended, based on your reproductive history and the type of anomaly. Bicornuate, unicornuate and didelphic uteri do not usually require surgery. Often, women with a congenital uterine anomaly do not have any medical or reproductive problems. However, in certain cases, congenital anomalies can increase the likelihood of miscarriages or premature deliveries, and surgical treatment may be recommended.