Septate Uterus: My Decision to Have Surgery

posted by nicole

Uterine anomaly

There are so many wonderful things I’m looking forward to as spring approaches, but the arrival of spring also makes me reflect on a trying time in my life several years ago.

In the spring of 2010, I was officially diagnosed with a congenital uterine anomaly called a septate uterus. Up until that point in my life, I can’t say I had really given my uterus much thought. After three years of marriage, I still considered myself a newlywed, and pregnancy was a distant thought in my mind. When I was diagnosed and learned that a septate uterus could potentially cause infertility issues such as increased risk of miscarriages and inability to carry to term, I was forced to give my uterus some serious thought.

Septate Uterus

Typically, a woman may get a diagnosis of a uterine abnormality after having frequent miscarriages or a preterm delivery. I consider myself extremely lucky.  I was diagnosed by chance before even trying to conceive.  I was having some consistent pelvic pains, so as a precaution my gynecologist ordered a transvaginal pelvic ultrasound.

After reviewing my pelvic ultrasound, there was no sign of what might have been causing the pelvic pains (pains were not related to my uterus), and I was given a clean bill of health (pains did eventually subside).  Still, the ultrasound showed there was evidence that I had a uterine abnormality. There was a possibility of either a bicornuate uterus (also called a heart-shaped uterus) or septate uterus, and I would need a pelvic MRI to confirm. 

From that point, things got intense.  I felt like I was part of a medical domino effect.  After the ultrasound, I went for the MRI. A bicornuate uterus was ruled out and a septate uterus was confirmed. This meant that I had a band of tissue in the middle of my uterus that greatly increased my risk for miscarriages, and if I did not miscarry it put me at risk for preterm labor and delivery.

This was a lot to take in.  Suddenly, I felt like my fertility was in jeopardy.  My mind was flooded with questions and my anxiety was growing.  At 28 years old, I was asking myself, “Would I be able to have children?” I felt a huge pit forming in my stomach.  It’s funny- I had spent a big part of my life so far trying not to get pregnant, and there I was suddenly praying that I could.

After the MRI, I needed further testing to help determine my next course of action. My gynecologist sent me for a test called a hysterosalpingogram or HSG to look closely at the inside of my uterus. I unknowingly had the test done at an imagining center that doesn’t frequently do HSGs and it was an unpleasant experience to say the least.   The results confirmed a partial septate uterus.

My gynocologist suggested I speak to a fertility specialist to go over my options.  She referred me to Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey and I scheduled a consultation with a fertility doctor.  The fertility doctor was patient and comforting. She provided me with a wealth of information and answered all of my questions.  At another appointment, she performed her own HSG (a much better, painless experience). Then, she gave me my options.  

Option 1: Treatment via outpatient surgery to correct my uterus; performed during hysteroscopy in which the tissue band in the middle of my uterus would be removed.  

Option 2: Wait and see what happens when I try to get pregnant; address any concerns if difficulty occurs.

Clearly, I needed time to think about this.  As with any surgery, there was risk involved.  I had to go under anesthesia, there was risk of uterine perforation, infection, and although it reduced the risk of miscarriage, still there was no 100% guarantee my repaired uterus would be strong enough to carry a baby to full term.

On the other hand, could I handle the idea of possibly having recurrent miscarriages? Could I begin my journey of trying to conceive with infertility on my mind? After weighing my options, talking to my husband, and a lot of emotional turmoil, I decided to have surgery.  I did not want to wait and see.  With so many uncontrollable things in this life, I felt good feeling like I could take control and do something about this problem.

Surgery went well and my uterus was corrected.  Aside from cramping and light bleeding for a few days after the surgery, I was just fine.  My uterus was whole again.

Two years later, I was pregnant and had no difficulty conceiving. Having had the surgery, during my pregnancy I was considered high risk and needed extra ultrasounds and monitoring.  For me, that just meant being able to see my baby a few extra times. In 2013, I carried to full term with no problems and that even surprised my ob/gyn. I delivered G, my beautiful full term, 8lb 7oz  baby girl, and I felt so blessed.

Uterine anomalies, such as the one I had, are quite common, and surgery certainly isn’t the answer for everyone, nor is it always necessary. However, I hope my story can give someone else hope and comfort, if ever faced with this issue.








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