Alterations in the uterus of a woman which are not inborn are termed as uterine abnormalities. These abnormalities are acquired later in life and can affect female fertility.

Examples of acquired uterine abnormalities are uterine polyps, intrauterine adhesions, and uterine fibroids.

What are the symptoms?

Acquired uterine abnormalities may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Increased severity of cramps during menstrual periods
  • Heavier and irregular bleeding during the menstrual cycle
  • Pelvic pressure and pain
  • Remarkable variations in bowel and bladder function
  • Failure in conceiving even after 1 year of trying
  • Recurrent miscarriages

What are the types of acquired uterine abnormalities?

Acquired uterine abnormalities include uterine polyps, intrauterine adhesions and uterine fibroids.

Uterine Polyps

These are growths that are attached to the inner walls of the uterine cavity (endometrium). Polyps are formed by the uncontrolled division of cells in the uterine cavity. They are also called endometrial polyps.

These growths are usually benign, that is, they do not cause cancer. However, they can grow up to the size of a lime in some cases. They affect the uterine walls, but sometimes, they can detach from these walls and slip down to the vagina through the opening of the uterus called the cervix. Uterine polyps are common among young women.

Intrauterine adhesions

When there is severe trauma or infection in the inner lining of the uterus or the endometrium, intrauterine adhesions can develop. These adhesions may result from the destruction of the endometrial lining. The adhesions develop as a result of scarring and inflammation after trauma or infections. These can lead to menstrual changes, cramps, heavier blood flow, and recurrent miscarriages.

Uterine fibroids

These are growths of the muscular wall of the womb that are commonly encountered in women. Uterine fibroids are usually non-cancerous and are also known as leiomyomas. Though generally benign, they can grow quite large and cause problems such as severely distorting the shape of the uterus. Having multiple fibroids at the same time is also possible.

Fibroids generally do not have any characteristic symptoms but may be accompanied with heavy menstrual bleeding or frequent urination.

How is it diagnosed?

Acquired uterine abnormalities can be diagnosed through the following:

  • Pelvic examination, if large enough
  • Ultrasound of the womb
  • Sonohyterogram (Saline ultrasonogram of the womb)
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG)


How are they treated?

The general approach for acquired uterine abnormalities is surgical removal of the affected tissues.

Acquired uterine abnormalities are not only a hindrance in conception but they may also affect the woman’s health adversely. Abnormalities of the uterus can greatly diminish fertility and in certain cases cause repeated miscarriages.

Talk to us if you suspect that you may have uterine polyps, adhesions or fibroids, which could affect your chances of conceiving.


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