Uterine perforation is a medical term that may be used to describe the accidental puncturing of the uterus. This typically occurs as a result of a medical procedure that involves the uterus, although it may sometimes be caused by a contraceptive device known as an IUD, or intrauterine device. Common symptoms of uterine perforation include heavy bleeding, abdominal pain, and fever. Treatment usually involves removal of the IUD or surgical intervention to repair the damage.
Common medical procedures that may lead to uterine perforation include childbirth, insertion of an IUD, or abortion. This type of injury is most common during childbirth when the baby has to be manually turned or if forceps are used. This damage may also occur during a tubal ligation, a sterilization procedure that provides a permanent form of birth control. An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a birth control device that is inserted into the body by a doctor.
Some women may have a higher risk of uterine perforation than others. Women at higher risk include those who have had a C-section in the past or who have had any type of abdominal surgery, especially surgery involving the uterus. Women who are breastfeeding at the time of a surgical procedure involving the uterus may also have a higher risk of uterine perforation.
Uterine perforation may lead to lower abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. Nausea, vomiting, and fever may also indicate that the uterus has been damaged. A physical exam may help the doctor to determine if perforation has occurred, although further diagnostic testing may be performed in order to confirm the diagnosis. If an IUD is the cause of the uterine damage, the doctor will likely remove it and help the patient find a different method of birth control while the body heals.
Most cases of uterine perforation will require some sort of surgical intervention. If the uterus is the only organ that has suffered damage, the surgeon can usually repair the damage with relative ease. In some cases, the intestines may be damaged as well. If this is the case, a portion of the intestine may have to be removed, and then the healthy ends of the intestine will be reattached. This type of surgery typically requires a longer recovery period, although it does have a high success rate, and complications from this type of surgery are rare.