Double uterus

In a female fetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes. As the fetus develops, the tubes normally join to create one larger, hollow organ — the uterus. Sometimes, however, the tubes don't join completely. Instead, each one develops into a separate structure. This condition is called double uterus (uterus didelphys). A double uterus may have one opening (cervix) into one vagina, or each uterine cavity may have a cervix. There may even be two vaginas.

Double uterus is rare — and sometimes never diagnosed. The percentage of women with a double uterus is likely higher in those with a history of miscarriage or premature birth.

Treatment is needed only if a double uterus causes symptoms or complications, such as pelvic pain, repeated miscarriages or preterm labor.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Some women have a double uterus and never realize it — even during pregnancy and childbirth. Each cavity in a double uterus often leads to its own cervix. Some women with a double uterus also have a duplicate or divided vagina.

Possible signs and symptoms may include:

  • Unusual pressure or cramping pain before or during a menstrual period
  • Abnormal bleeding during a period, such as blood flow despite the use of a tampon

When to see a doctor

If you have signs and symptoms of a double uterus, make an appointment with your doctor. An early diagnosis is especially important if you plan to become pregnant or if you've had repeated miscarriages. Your doctor can recommend treatment options to improve your chances of getting pregnant, staying pregnant and having a safe delivery.

If you've been diagnosed with a double uterus and are considering pregnancy, talk with your doctor first. Together you can make a plan for optimal care during pregnancy and delivery.

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