Uterus didelphys, also known as double uterus, is a rare condition where a person is born with two uteruses. It can affect menstruation and pregnancy. In some cases, a person may need surgery.
Researchers associate the condition with pregnancy issues. These can include preterm labor, pregnancy loss, and other pregnancy complications.
This article reviews what uterus didelphys is, its symptoms, causes, and more.
Uterus didelphys is a
All females start with two Müllerian tubes when they are in the womb. As they develop in utero, the tubes fuse.
In cases of Müllerian abnormalities, the tubes do not form properly or do not come together at all. In the case of uterus didelphys, the two tubes stay separated entirely or only partially join together.
The two uteruses may share one cervix leading to the vagina or may both have their own. The vagina may also separate into two halves with a thin membrane between the two parts.
Health experts do not know the exact number of Müllerian abnormalities in the general population, but uterus didelphys accounts for about 8.4% of total cases.
In other words, it is a very rare condition. As a result, doctors may not have much experience with it and may never have worked with a person who has the condition.
A doctor may find the anomaly during a routine examination or when investigating pregnancy loss.
Researchers think uterus didelphys occurs when the Müllerian tubes fail to fuse during development in the womb.
However, the exact cause of this developmental anomaly is unknown.
It can result in two uteruses, cervixes, and vaginas. It can also result in two uteruses that share a cervix and vagina.
A person may not receive a diagnosis for several years of their life.
In some cases, a doctor may discover it during a routine examination. In other cases, a healthcare professional may discover the double uterus when investigating repeated pregnancy loss.
A doctor may discover a double cervix during a pelvic examination.
If they suspect a double uterus may be present, they may use imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis. This can include:
- a vaginoscopy, where they use a small instrument to examine the vaginal vault and cervix
- imaging such as MRI, ultrasound, or X-rays
- a hysteroscopy, where they insert a small telescope into the vagina to examine the uterus
People who experience no symptoms or complications may not need treatment at all.
However, a person with uterus didelphys who experiences frequent pregnancy loss with no obvious causes may want to consider treatment options, such as surgical correction.
Treatment often focuses on improving fertility and improving pregnancy outcomes for the person. This can include additional testing and monitoring of the fetus’ development in utero.
Uterus didelphys is a rare condition, accounting for a small portion of Müllerian abnormalities.
Some people may also not realize they have the condition, as it does not cause any obvious symptoms. This means that many individuals may go without a diagnosis.
Once doctors identify uterus didelphys, they can focus on helping keep a person pregnant and prevent pregnancy loss.
Uterus didelphys can negatively affect pregnancy outcomes. However, some people with a double uterus can carry a pregnancy to full term with no issues.
A person experiencing issues during pregnancy should consider working with a doctor to help ensure a successful term.
They can help by closely monitoring the pregnancy and suggesting ways to reduce the likelihood of complications.
Pregnancy complications of uterus didelphys
Possible complications include:
- increased risk of ectopic pregnancy
- low birth weight
- pregnancy loss
- preterm labor and birth
A person with uterus didelphys will likely not experience any symptoms.
However, when they try to conceive, they may experience difficulty staying pregnant, have a preterm birth, or experience pregnancy loss, among other possible complications.
There are currently no lifestyle recommendations for living with uterus didelphys due to its rarity. A person should work with a doctor to determine the best care during pregnancy.
Some other conditions a person may develop can include:
- anorectal malformation, a congenital abnormality where the anal opening is missing or blocked
- kidney abnormalities
The following sections provide answers to frequently asked questions about uterus didelphys.
How rare is uterus didelphys?
Estimates indicate that uterus didelphys accounts for about 8.4% of all Müllerian abnormalities.
This makes it a very rare condition. However, it may have slightly higher incident rates because of unreported cases.
Can you be pregnant in both uteruses?
Yes, a double pregnancy can occur. In fact, a
Do people with two uteruses get two periods?
A person with uterus didelphys may experience disruptions to their menstrual cycle. This may include atypical bleeding.
Uterus didelphys is a uterine abnormality that occurs before birth. The condition may not cause any obvious symptoms or signs, but a doctor may discover it during a routine examination or when investigating pregnancy loss.
Once doctors discover it, they may not do anything to treat the condition. Instead, they may monitor and help treat pregnancy-related complications to give a person the best chance of a successful pregnancy.