Two is better than one – but for the curious case of uterine didelphys, it is probably not. A type of congenital uterine malfunction, this condition presents itself as a “double” uterus where two uteri, or even two cervixes, develop. In some cases, these women may even have two vaginas.
While rare, uterus didelphys is a concerning problem that increases the chance of a miscarriage. Additionally, some patients do not find out about this predicament until they are pregnant, during a pelvic examination or ultrasound scan.
Signs of Uterus Didelphys
For some, this irregularity is detected during a routine check-up or when other symptoms appear. Some of these symptoms include:
- Uncontrollable bleeding when using a tampon
- Heavy bleeding during a period
- Unusual cramping before or after menstruation
- Repeated pregnancy loss
- Preterm labour
- Painful sexual intercourse
During a check, the doctor may order imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to determine the diagnosis. Depending on the severity and nature of the condition, a treatment may then be proposed. Some women with uterus didelphys require no treatments and may even carry on with their pregnancies successfully.
Complications of Uterus Didelphys
The risks of having a double uterus ranges from slight discomfort to serious medical problems.
1. Repeated pregnancy loss
Repeated pregnancy loss is determined when a woman experiences three of more miscarriages in a row. Congenital problems of the uterus, such as uterus didelphys, can lead to this occurrence. Other problems include polyps, fibroids, and scar tissues in the uterine cavity.
2. Preterm labour
The uterus plays an important part during pregnancy – it provides a conducive environment to nourish and develop the baby prior to birth, and changes from the time the embryo is implanted to even after childbirth. A healthy uterus rises out of the pelvis and grows alongside the fetus, develops a thicker uterine wall lining to provide nutrients, and contracts during delivery to help guide the baby out of the birth canal.
An abnormal uterus may not be able to provide the same healthy levels of function required to bring a fetus to full-term, resulting in premature labour. Other complications may arise as well, such as torn vaginal tissue or having a breech baby which usually requires a C-section delivery.
3. Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
As described above, the uterus is paramount in delivering nutrients to the baby. Without a normal uterus, the fetus may not be able to receive important nutrients to grow well, resulting in intrauterine growth restriction – or IUGR. This can be detected through a low fetal weight or ultrasound measurements.
4. Kidney problems
Uterine didelphys is associated with renal agenesis in approximately 25% of cases, which is the absence of one of both kidneys. While the cause of this condition is unclear, this is still relatively rare. Without two healthy and functioning kidneys, the remaining organ typically grows larger as it has to work harder to compensate for both.
5. Fertility problems
Even though uterus didelphys is rarely the only cause of infertility, fertility problems are still a genuine concern for women with a double uterus. Uterine didelphys is also linked to some other conditions such as endometriosis. Commonly manifesting itself in pelvic pain and infertility, this condition can be a debilitating one and may require treatments. Endometriosis affects roughly 10% of women of reproductive age, both in Singapore and around the world.
Seek Help With Gynaecologist Specialist in Singapore
Having a double uterus does not mean that you will suffer from the consequences above, nor be able to enjoy your pregnancy journey. For most, uterus didelphys will not impact their ability to carry a baby to term or even result in fertility issues in the first place.
However, the female anatomy is a complex one and this condition should be managed with the help of a professional obstetrics and gynaecology specialist. Whether it is treating infertility, uterus didelphys or other pre-pregnancy or pregnancy complications, The O&G Specialist Clinic in Singapore is committed to supporting and enhancing the wellbeing of our patients. If you are pregnant and suffering from uterus didelphys, let us provide the optimal care you need. Book a virtual consultation with us today to learn how we can help.
Double uterus. (2021, July 21). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/double-uterus/symptoms-causes/syc-2035226
Maren B. et al. (2016). Uterine didelphys with concomitant renal anomalies in both mother and fetus. ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213576616301191
Gergana I., Sergei S., Galina Y. (2021). Successful pregnancy and delivery in patient with double uterus and in vitrofertilization. MedCrave. https://medcraveonline.com/MOJWH/successful-pregnancy-and-delivery-in-patient-with-double-uterus-and-in-vitrofertilization.html
Endometriosis. (2021). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/endometriosis