Uterus didelphys is a rare congenital condition where you’re born with two uteruses. It’s commonly called a double uterus. It can cause pregnancy complications and painful menstruation. Some people have surgery to treat uterus didelphys, but most cases don’t require treatment.
Uterus didelphys is a rare condition where a person develops two uteruses. It’s also called a double uterus. A double uterus is a congenital abnormality that you are born with. Your two uterine cavities are narrower than the cavity of a typical uterus. Each uterus has its own fallopian tube and ovary.
A uterus starts as two ducts. As an unborn baby (fetus) develops, these ducts join together to create the uterus. Your uterus is one hollow organ and looks like an upside-down pear. If you have uterus didelphys, the two ducts don’t join together. Instead, each duct creates its own uterus, which means you have two. Some people with a double uterus may also have two cervixes and two vaginal canals. Instead of having a pear-shaped uterus, if you have uterus didelphys, your uteruses resemble bananas.
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Uterus didelphys is rare and only affects about 0.3% of the population. It’s one of the least common uterine abnormalities.
A bicornuate uterus is a heart-shaped uterus. You still have one uterus, but instead of being pear-shaped, it’s shaped like a heart. If you have uterus didelphys, there are two separate uteruses. A bicornuate uterus is more common than uterus didelphys. Like uterus didelphys, a bicornuate uterus is congenital, meaning you are born with it. Both conditions can cause complications during pregnancy.
Most people don’t know they have uterus didelphys because it doesn’t cause any symptoms. Instead, it’s discovered during a routine pelvic exam or during investigation for recurrent miscarriages or severe menstrual pain.
If you’re experiencing symptoms from uterus didelphys, you might have:
Uterus didelphys occurs when two ducts (the Mullerian ducts) don’t fuse properly during development. These ducts usually join to create one uterus. If you have a double uterus, the ducts didn’t join and each duct turned into its own uterus. Some people will also have two vaginas and two cervixes. Healthcare providers aren’t entirely sure why Mullerian ducts fail to fuse in some people.
Your period can be affected by uterus didelphys in one or all of the following ways:
Your healthcare provider may diagnose a double uterus during a routine pelvic exam after feeling two cervixes or two vaginas. They’ll likely order additional imaging tests to confirm uterus didelphys.
Imaging tests will be used to further examine the size and shape of your double uterus and confirm the diagnosis. Some tests your healthcare provider will recommend are:
Yes, uterus didelphys can be fixed. Most healthcare providers don’t recommend treating a double uterus unless you experience symptoms like repeat late pregnancy loss. Surgery to merge the uteruses can weaken your remaining uterus. If you have painful intercourse, the associated longitudinal vaginal septum (resulting in two vaginas) can be removed surgically.
You can’t prevent uterus didelphys because it’s congenital, which means it formed during development in the womb. Healthcare providers do not know why uterine abnormalities happen or if it’s hereditary.
Uterus didelphys can cause infertility in some people. In most cases, the shape of your uterus doesn’t prevent you from conceiving or getting pregnant. However, it does increase your risk for miscarriage.
You will not have a miscarriage just because you have a double uterus. However, your chance of miscarriage is slightly higher. This is because your uterus is smaller, which restricts the growth of the fetus. The atypical shape can also affect the placenta and the blood flow within your uterus. If you have repeat late second trimester miscarriages, your healthcare provider may suggest surgery to fix your double uterus. Surgical treatment may increase your chances for a full-term pregnancy.
Yes, you can get pregnant if you have uterus didelphys. Your healthcare provider will monitor your pregnancy closely to ensure you and your baby are healthy. You’re at an increased risk for several pregnancy complications.
You are at greater risk for pregnancy complications if you have a double uterus.
The pregnancy complications associated with a double uterus are:
Many people with a double uterus carry healthy babies to term. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you have to make sure you receive the care you need.
Most people who have a double uterus lead healthy lives and don’t have any significant health complications. The following risks are associated with a double uterus:
If you’re diagnosed with a double uterus, some questions you might ask are:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Uterus didelphys is a condition that happens before you’re born and isn’t caused by anything you did wrong. If you’re pregnant or wish to become pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about your condition to make sure you can have a safe pregnancy. They may recommend treating your double uterus. Many people with this condition have healthy pregnancies and babies.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/19/2022.
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