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What Is a Uterine Septum?

A uterine septum is a congenital anomaly where a band of tissue divides the uterine cavity, potentially affecting fertility and pregnancy outcomes. This condition, often undetected until related complications arise, can be diagnosed through imaging and treated surgically. Intrigued by how this could influence reproductive health? Discover the implications and treatment options for a uterine septum in our comprehensive guide.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A uterine septum is an abnormal structure that runs partially or completely through the middle of the uterus. A patient with this abnormality is said to have a septate uterus. Patients usually do not experience any problems as a result of having a uterine septum, unless they attempt to get pregnant, when the structure can increase the risk of pregnancy loss in some patients. It is possible to get pregnant with a septate uterus and carry the baby to term, and success of a pregnancy can vary depending on a number of factors, including the precise size and location of the septum.

In the process of embryonic development, the uterus forms from two structures known as mullerian ducts. During healthy embryonic development, the structures fuse together and the septum dissolves, starting at the base of the uterus and working its way up. In some people, for unknown reasons, the septum does not dissolve. It may partially disappear, causing the uterus to have a distinctive heart shape, or it may remain in place, leaving the woman with two uteri and a matching set of cervices.

A uterine septum is an abnormal structure that runs partially or completely through the middle of the uterus.
A uterine septum is an abnormal structure that runs partially or completely through the middle of the uterus.

Patients with a uterine septum have a small chance of also having kidney abnormalities. The patient may only have one kidney, which may not be a problem unless the patient's kidney function is strained. Other patients have skeletal problems in association with the uterine septum. In most cases, all of these issues go unnoticed until a patient is receiving ultrasound examinations during the course of a pregnancy or in a fertility evaluation to find out why she is not getting pregnant.

Patients with a uterine septum should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.
Patients with a uterine septum should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.

Medical imaging studies can reveal the uterine septum and provide information about its size. If the septum does not appear to interfere with pregnancy, a doctor will usually recommend leaving it in place. For patients who experience pregnancy loss recurrently because of the structure, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the septum. In this surgery, the doctor will take care to excise the septum without compromising neighboring structures. The patient will need to heal completely before attempting pregnancy.

Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for abnormalities.
Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for abnormalities.

The chances of having a uterine septum are not known, because this structure is only identified and studied when it becomes a problem. It may be present in many members of the general population who are not aware of it. Patients diagnosed with a uterine septum may want to consider meeting with a gynecologist or obstetrician who has extensive experience with septate uteri in order to get advice on how to manage the issue.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Learn more...

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    • A uterine septum is an abnormal structure that runs partially or completely through the middle of the uterus.
      By: reineg
      A uterine septum is an abnormal structure that runs partially or completely through the middle of the uterus.
    • Patients with a uterine septum should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.
      By: Dangubic
      Patients with a uterine septum should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist.
    • Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for abnormalities.
      By: zayacsk
      Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus when looking for abnormalities.
    • Having a uterine septum may increase the risk of pregnancy loss in some patients.
      By: jovannig
      Having a uterine septum may increase the risk of pregnancy loss in some patients.
    • Patients with a uterine septum have a small chance of also having kidney abnormalities.
      By: CLIPAREA.com
      Patients with a uterine septum have a small chance of also having kidney abnormalities.
    • It is possible for a woman with a septate uterus to become pregnant and carry the baby to term.
      By: Gajus
      It is possible for a woman with a septate uterus to become pregnant and carry the baby to term.