What is a Septate Uterus?
- Published on August 12, 2022
The uterus is one of the most essential reproductive organs of the female body. It is the part where a fertilized egg attaches itself; the uterus is where the embryo is nurtured into becoming a healthy baby.
However, certain medical conditions can interfere with a uterus’s capability to sustain a woman’s pregnancy. One of these conditions is a septate uterus. This condition is also referred to as Uterine Septum.
While most women do not notice any symptoms of a septate uterus, they may show up when you get pregnant. This condition isn’t particularly painful; however, it may cause problems in pregnancies.
Let’s learn a little bit more about the septate uterus.
About Septate Uterus
The uterus is the reproductive organ in your body where a fertilized egg attaches itself and develops into a full baby. This organ is like a singular cavity that holds the developing embryo while your body nourishes it.
In a septate uterus, however, a membrane of muscular tissue runs along the centre of the uterus, right up to the cervix. This membrane (the septum) divides the uterine cavity into two portions, which may or may not be equal.
Sometimes, the septum may extend beyond the cervix and into the vaginal canal.
Types of Uterine Septum
The degree of division within the uterus determines the various forms of uterine septa. The most common varieties of uterine septa include:
- Complete Uterine Septum: In this case, a thick septum completely divides the uterine cavity into two distinct cavities. This may adversely affect fertility and raise the possibility of miscarriage. In order to remove the septum and increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy, surgical repair is frequently advised.
- Partial Uterine Septum: A partial uterine septum divides the uterine cavity just partially. Even though the hole is not entirely separated, it may nevertheless have an impact on a woman’s ability to become pregnant. If the septum is large and producing difficulties, surgery can be an option.
The condition where your uterus is divided along the middle by the septum membrane is called the septate uterus, or uterine septum.
Sometimes, the septate uterus can be confused with another condition that results in a similar deformity of the uterus: the bicornuate uterus. This is a condition where the fundus of the uterus bends and dips into itself toward the midline, giving the uterus a heart-shaped structure.
The Impact of a Septate Uterus on Fertility
A septate uterus is a congenital defect where a wall of tissue divides the inner cavity of the uterus either partially or completely. The following are some of the impacts that can be seen on fertility:
- Miscarriage: Women with a septate uterus have a high risk of miscarriage, mainly during the first trimester.
- Premature Birth: The risk of preterm labour and premature birth increases because of reduced uterine capacity or irregular muscle contractions
- Suboptimal implantation: The septate uterus makes the site less viable for implantation and potentially leads to suboptimal placenta development.
Septate Uterus Symptoms
Many women don’t feel any symptoms of a septate uterus till pregnancy. Since the septum is a muscular wall dividing the uterus into two parts, you may experience trouble sustaining a pregnancy as your uterus may not be able to function optimally.
The septum also interferes with the pregnancy in more ways.
Here are a few septate uterus symptoms you need to be observant of:
– Frequent miscarriages
If you have been attempting pregnancy but experiencing miscarriages frequently, your doctor may need to consider the possibility of there being a uterine septum in your body.
– Painful menstruation
Menstruation is a direct result of the uterine wall shedding itself every month when you aren’t pregnant.
The septate uterus is a deformity, and the shedding of the lining each month would be more painful than normal.
– Pelvic pain
A septate uterus is an abnormal condition of the uterus, resulting in double-cavity inside the uterus. Pelvic pain may be a result of the deformity, although not many women experience it during the course of their life.
It may get more painful during menstruation or pregnancy – it is best to observe the pain and consult a medical professional.
Septate uterus causes
The septate uterus is a congenital condition; it can’t be acquired. You experience this only when you are born with it.
The uterus is formed in your body by fusion of the Mullerian Ducts when you are a foetus still developing in the womb. When the Mullerian Ducts encounter a problem in fusing together properly, they fail to form a single uterine cavity, resulting instead in two cavities (each formed by one duct) with the tissue wall running along the middle.
As the baby grows, the tissues become more developed and may become thicker or thinner as the baby gets older. This condition is a congenital abnormality – it cannot be developed or acquired during the course of your life.
If you experience symptoms hinting at a septate uterus, consider seeing a medical professional for good advice and a sound diagnosis.
Septate uterus diagnosis
The diagnosis of a septate uterus depends on how far the septum dips beyond the uterus. If your septum reaches up to the vaginal canal, your healthcare professional would be able to provide a diagnosis upon performing a pelvic examination.
If a pelvic exam doesn’t reveal any concrete results, the medical professional will prescribe the use of imaging tools to determine the position, depth and condition of the septum in your body.
Imaging helps healthcare professionals “see” if there is a septum in your uterus, helping determine whether or not you have this condition. Since this tissue is relatively small, it can be difficult to find differences. However, modern imaging techniques help with the diagnosis a great deal:
A septate uterus can be diagnosed using one of the methods listed above.
Septate uterus treatment options
Before the advent of modern technology, a septate uterus required an incision to be made in the abdominal area to get to the uterus and remove the excess tissue (the septum).
However, with the advancements in medical technology, incisions are no longer required to treat uterine septum. Today, hysteroscopic metroplasty is employed to remove the uterine septum surgically.
Your doctor will insert surgical instruments into your body through the cervix and remove the septum without any issues. The procedure takes about one hour to complete and usually increases your chances of a successful pregnancy by about 65%.
Once the septum is removed, your body won’t regenerate it.
If you are experiencing frequent miscarriages and there doesn’t seem to be any other problem, you should consult Dr. Shilpa Singhal of Birla Fertility and IVF for a concrete diagnosis.
- Does the septate uterus affect sexual or reproductive life?
A septate uterus does not affect your sex life. You can continue to experience pleasure and lead your sex life normally, the way you want. Uterine septum also does not impact your fertility; however, once successfully pregnant, it may cause complications in the pregnancy and cause frequent miscarriages and pelvic pain.
- Is a septate uterus hereditary?
No, the condition cannot be passed on from generation to generation. However, it is a congenital abnormality that occurs when the foetus is developing in the mother’s womb. You are born with a septate uterus; it does not happen spontaneously.
- Can I have a baby with a septate uterus?
Yes, there is a possibility of delivering a baby even on a septate uterus. But there might be complications during your pregnant life. You may experience a miscarriage in certain cases or may go into premature labor. In certain septate uterus pregnancies, there have been cases of breech presentation. This happens when the baby’s feet come out first instead of its head. A cesarean section may need to be performed in such cases.
- Is septate uterus a high-risk pregnancy?
You can experience a normal reproductive life even on a septate uterus; however, there will be pregnancy-related complications. There are still chances of delivering a healthy baby if the septate doesn’t cause miscarriage and the complications remain manageable. However, it is recommended to get a consultation from your doctor.
- Is a septate uterus considered a congenital birth defect?
It is considered a congenital or birth defect, and specialists have found no specific evidence, whether it is genetic or caused by any other factor.
Dr Shilpa Singhal
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