A woman’s uterus is divided into two parts due to a membrane called a septum, which is known as septate uterus. The membrane is made up of fibrous and muscular tissue that can be thin or thick. The condition is a birth anomaly, meaning the septate uterus develops when a fetus grows in the womb. Women with this condition are at a greater risk of miscarriage, preterm labour, pregnancy loss, and fetal malpresentation – a medical condition when the baby is not facing downwards when it’s being formed in the womb.
The blog deep discusses septate uterus, its causes, types, symptoms, and treatment.
What is a Septate Uterus?
As mentioned above, a septate uterus is a congenital uterine deformity. It occurs if a septum runs down the centre of the uterus and splits it into two parts. The septum may differ in thickness and length. It starts at the top of the uterus and may expand to the cervix and sometimes into the vagina.
The uterus is a pear-shaped, hollow organ in the woman’s pelvis. If a woman has a septate uterus, the uterus has two smaller cavities rather than one cavity. It is due to the septum acting as a partition, or barrier in the uterus.
A septate uterus can cause a few symptoms in some women. However, most are unaware they have a septate uterus till they get pregnant or experience several miscarriages. Women suffering from a septate uterus can have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. A trained healthcare provider can correct this condition with surgery.
The reason for this condition is unknown.. The spetum can also interfere with conception in different ways.
Sometimes, doctors can misdiagnose the septate uterus as a bicornuate uterus. It is a condition in which the top portion of the uterus dips down, forming a heart shape. Usually , women suffering from a bicornuate uterus can have successful pregnancies unless the dip is extreme. In rare cases, women may experience both sepate uterus and bicornuate uterus.
What are the types of a Septate Uterus?
The types of the septate uterus include:
- Partial septate uterus – if the septum tissue does not include the cervix.
- Complete septate uterus – if the septum also includes the cervix, the womb’s opening.
- Septate uterus and vagina – if the septum expands into the vagina.
What are the symptoms of a Septate Uterus?
Most women with a septate uterus are asymptomatic, meaning they do not display symptoms. Women typically become aware of the condition if doctors begin to examine the cause of repeated miscarriages. Sometimes doctors can discover it during a routine pelvic exam when the septum expands beyond the uterus to include the cervix and the vagina. The potential symptoms of a septate uterus include frequent miscarriages, painful menstruation and pelvic pain.
When should a woman seek medical advice?
If a woman is suffering from repeated miscarriages, it is better to seek immediate medical attention.
What are the causes of a septate uterus?
This condition is a genetic abnormality, and doctors are unaware of the cause. It occurs as the embryo develops. All uteri start to build as two tubes that fuse and become one uterus at the body’s midline. However, when these two tubes do not effectively fuse is when women have a septate uterus.
How is a septate uterus diagnosed?
If the healthcare provider suspects a septate uterus, imaging tests are recommended to get a confirmed diagnosis.
The following imaging tests are prescribed by the doctor:
How is a septate uterus treated?
Doctors can treat a septate uterus with a surgery known as a metroplasty. Currently, doctors perform this procedure with a hysteroscopy. The hysteroscopic method lets them treat patients within the uterus without needing an outer abdominal incision.
During a hysteroscopic metroplasty, surgeons insert a lighted instrument into the vagina through the cervix and the uterus. They also insert another device to cut and remove the septum. The technique is minimally invasive and typically takes around an hour to complete—women who undergo a hysteroscopic metroplasty return home the same day as the procedure.
After the surgery, around fifty to eighty per cent of women with a recurrent miscarriage history have a healthy future pregnancy. About twenty per cent of women who previously could not become pregnant may get pregnant after this procedure.
How can women prevent a septate uterus?
There is no known method to prevent a septate uterus. It is a congenital deformity. No evidence is present to prove the condition is genetic.
If women are diagnosed with a septate uterus, they must discuss treatment options with the doctor. The healthcare provider explains the procedure and the chances of a successful pregnancy based on the woman’s health history. Most women suffering from a septate uterus can have healthy pregnancies in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How does a septate uterus affect periods?
A septate uterus usually does not affect periods. However, women with this condition can experience severe pain during menstruation. Women may not know that it is abnormal to have a lot of pain during their periods.
2. Will women have a miscarriage if they have a septate uterus?
The chance of miscarriage is greater when women have a septate uterus or other uterine irregularity. However, many women have healthy pregnancies when the septum is in place. A woman suffering from this condition typically have problems in fertility.
3. Can a septate uterus grow back?
A septate uterus cannot grow back. A septum develops in the uterus if both ducts do not fuse during gestation. Once doctors remove the septum through surgery, the body cannot regenerate a uterine septum.
4. What are the complications of treating a septate uterus?
The risks of removing the septum that divides the uterus include an infection, abnormal bleeding, uterus perforation, and injury to the cervix.
5. How common is a septate uterus?
Although a septate uterus is rare, it is one of the more common uterine anomalies accounting for about 35% to 90% of congenital uterine irregularities. Four per cent of women with a uterus have congenital uterine abnormalities.