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Uterine Abnormalities Can Affect Your Fertility, Seek Timely Intervention

Types of Congenital uterine anomalies (Image: medlineplus.gov)

With hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, reproductive surgeons can diagnose and treat a variety of uterine abnormalities. Get to know the symptoms of uterine abnormalities and when a surgery may be required.

Although uncommon, uterine abnormalities can increase risk of infertility, miscarriage, premature birth and other pregnancy complications. Uterine anomalies are congenital malformations of the female reproductive tract develop when a female is growing in her mother's womb. These abnormalities occur in less than 5% of all women but have been reported in 25% of women who had miscarriages or premature deliveries, said Dr. Bhagya Lakshmi, Consultant Obstetrics, Gynaecologist & Laparoscopic Surgeon, Yashoda Hospitals, Hyderabad.

According to Dr. Lakshmi, uterine abnormalities of the female reproductive tract occur due to defects in the embryonic development during organogenesis, fusion or septum resorption. "A girl child in her mother's womb develops the uterus as two separate halves that fuse together before she is born. If there is any difference in this development, it results in uterine abnormality," she explained.

Signs of uterine abnormalities

The symptoms associated with uterine abnormalities are: no menstruation cycle between puberty and menopause (amenorrhea), menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), recurring pain in pelvic region during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), cyclic abdominal pain, infertility, repeated first-trimester & second trimester pregnancy loss depending on the nature of the defect.

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Uterine abnormality is treatable

Most cases of uterine anomalies can be corrected with a minor surgery, yet many women with such abnormalities do not require treatment. A physician may suggest correcting the anomaly surgically only if it is causing pain, miscarriage, or infertility. With hysteroscopy and laparoscopy, reproductive surgeons can diagnose and treat a variety of uterine abnormalities. Thanks to a laparoscopy performed by Dr. Lakshmi, a 25-year-old woman with unicornuate uterus with a rudimentary horn can now lead a normal reproductive life and have children of her own.

A unicornuate uterus is a uterine anomaly in which only half of the uterus is formed. A woman with unicornuate uterus will have a single fallopian tube instead of two and a smaller uterus. This anomaly can affect a woman's ability to get pregnant and to carry a pregnancy to term. The woman who Dr. Lakshmi treated had unicornuate uterus with a rudimentary horn. This is a rare uterine abnormality, occurring only in the 0.06% of fertile populations, said Dr. Lakshmi.

When a laparoscopy may be required?

The unmarried lady Savita (name changed) was suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding and severe pain in the lower abdomen for three months when she came to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad. She was known to have hypothyroidism. After her condition was correctly diagnosed, Dr. Lakshmi recommended the lady to get a laparoscopy done.

"The procedure that we have done is essential, since it has ensured that the normal half of the uterus and the fallopian tube of that side were saved along with both the ovaries. This procedure helps the patient to lead a normal reproductive life and have children of her own," she explained.

"If the timely intervention wouldn't have been done, Savita could go on to develop higher grades of endometriosis which eventually compromises the quality of life causing physical and psychological and emotional trauma and in many cases can lead to a stage where the reproductive organs might have to be removed," she continued.

"The patient who was apprehensive about getting married and having children and was suffering from inexplicable pain is now pain free and can go ahead boldly to get married and plan her reproductive future," Dr. Lakshmi added.

Sharing her trauma, the patient said, "I was in a lot of pain, so a laparoscopy was performed under general anesthesia after consultation with Dr. Bhagya who motivated me to get this procedure done. I am so glad that I made this decision, now I am pain free and being medically managed."

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