Double uterus is a rare congenital abnormality in which a female has a double uterus instead of one uterus. The uterus starts out as two tubes during fetal development in females. As the fetus develops, the tubes gradually fuse to form one uterine cavity. However, in some cases these two tubes do not fuse and instead develop into separate cavities.
A double uterus may have one opening (cervix) into the vagina or each uterine cavity may have a cervix. A thin membrane usually runs down the vagina to separate the two openings. Women with double uterus may have successful pregnancies although they have a high risk of having miscarriages.
Women with a double uterus may not experience any symptoms.
Most cases are diagnosed during regular pelvic examinations or tests to investigate the causes of repeated miscarriages. Women with a double vagina along with a double uterus may experience bleeding that is not stopped by a tampon. This is due to the fact that the tampon is placed in one vagina while blood is still escaping from the second uterus and vagina.
The exact cause of the development of a double uterus is unknown. Researchers believe genetics may play a role since this condition runs in families.
4 Making a Diagnosis
A double uterus is usually diagnosed during a regular pelvic exam. Tests that can be used to confirm the diagnosis include:
Ultrasound - high frequency sound waves are used to create images of the uterus. These images are viewed on a screen with the help of a transducer that can be placed against the abdominal skin or inserted into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound)
Sonohysterogram - an ultrasound performed after fluid has injected into the uterus through the vagina and cervix. This helps doctors to look for abnormalities in the shape and structure of the uterus
Magnetic imaging resonance (MRI) - a test in which a magnetic and radio waves are used to make cross-sectional images of the body
Hysterosalpingography - a type of X-ray imaging technique in which a dye is injected into the uterus through the cervix. As the dye moves, X-rays are taken to determine the shape and structure of the uterus. This test can also help doctors to check if the fallopian tubes are open
Most women with a double uterus experiencing no symptoms do not require surgical treatment.
Women who have unexplained miscarriages due to a double uterus may undergo surgery to unite the two the double uterus. This greatly reduce the risk of having miscarriages.
Women with a double uterus and vagina may also undergo surgery to remove the thin membrane separating the double uterus and vagina.
6 Risks and Complications
Some complications associated with a double uterus include:
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