Uterus didelphys is an extremely rare reproductive anomaly in which a female has two separate uterine systems, two cervices and two vaginas. This birth defect occurs during embryonic development in the uterus, when the paired Müllerian ducts fail to fuse. As a result, a woman with uterus didelphys will be born with double the normal reproductive organs, including two separate cervices and two vaginas. This condition is often referred to by the more technical term bicornuate uterus.
Despite the dual organ system, women with uterus didelphys may still have successful pregnancies and deliveries – although there are some complexities and risks that could complicate the process.
What is Uterus Didelphys?
According to healthline, Uterus didelphys is a rare congenital defect in which a female has two separate uterine systems, two cervices and two vaginas. Usually, the uterus of a female consists of a single entire structure (also referred to as the womb), however with this condition, the body fails to form one structure and instead produces two separately existing individual uterine systems.
Women affected by this disorder may also have separately functioning fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can lead to a variety of concerning issues with the chance of a successful pregnancy and physical health of the sexual partner. Women with this condition often find it difficult to conceive but with the right medical assistance, successful pregnancies are also possible.
What Causes Uterus Didelphys?
The exact cause of uterus didelphys is still unknown; however, it is thought to stem from a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors (x). During embryonic development, the paired Müllerian ducts form the female reproductive system. Under normal circumstances, the two ducts soon fuse together to form a single uterus but with uterus didelphys, the fusion either fails to occur completely or partially.
As a result of this failure, two separately existing organ systems remain in the body. This can result in two individual uteruses, vaginas and cervical canals.
The severity of the disorder can vary from one person to another. Some people may only have slight division of the uterus, while others may have more severe separation between the two halves of the reproductive system.
How is Uterus Didelphys Diagnosed?
Uterus didelphys is usually diagnosed during a routine pelvic examination, where the gynecologist can identify the two individual cervices. Imaging technology such as a hysterosalpingography (HSG) or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can also be used to further examine and diagnose the condition.
These tests work by sending a radioactive dye or magnetic field through the reproductive organs to identify the two separate canals caused by uterus didelphys.
What Are The Risks and Complications Associated With Uterus Didelphys?
women with uterus didelphys have the same risk of developing conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids as all other women.
The presence of two separately existing uterine systems can also cause emotionally and physically difficult problems during pregnancy, including:
• A higher risk of miscarriage due to the individual uteruses having a different thickness of walls.
• An increased risk of premature labor as the two uteruses can be contracting differently.
• Complications with delivery due to the baby being positioned in the wrong uterus.
In some cases, uterus didelphys may make it impossible to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. If the two uteruses are not symmetrical or the configuration is too complicated, surgical interventions may be necessary to make conception possible.
How Is Uterus Didelphys Treated?
Uterus didelphys itself is generally not treated unless it is causing complications. If there is a risk of miscarriage, premature labor, or complications with conception, then surgery may be recommended. Surgery for this condition can involve two outcomes:
• Fusing the two cavities together to form one uterus
• Removing one of the uterus and associated organs
In some cases, medications may be prescribed for uterine wall thinning or contractions may be prompted to help with delivery.
Uterus didelphys is an extremely rare reproductive anomaly in which a woman has two separate reproductive systems. While it is generally not a cause for concern in most cases, it is still important to diagnose and treat appropriately to prevent any congenital or fertility issues. With the right medical attention and management, women with this condition can have successful pregnancies and deliveries.
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