Asherman syndrome is the formation of scar tissue in the uterine cavity. The problem most often develops after uterine surgery.
Causes of Asherman syndrome
Asherman syndrome is a rare condition. In most cases, it occurs in women who have had several dilatation and curettage (D&C) procedures.
A severe pelvic infection unrelated to surgery may also lead to Asherman syndrome.
Intrauterine adhesions can also form after infection with tuberculosis or schistosomiasis. These infections are rare in the United States. Uterine complications related to these infections are even less common.
Asherman syndrome Symptoms
The adhesions may cause amenorrhea (lack of menstrual periods), repeated miscarriages, and infertility.
However, such symptoms could be related to several conditions. They are more likely to indicate Asherman syndrome if they occur suddenly after a D&C or other uterine surgery.
Tests and Exams
A pelvic exam does not reveal problems in most cases.
Tests may include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound examination
- Blood tests to detect tuberculosis or schistosomiasis
Treatment of Asherman syndrome
Treatment involves surgery to cut and remove the adhesions or scar tissue. This can most often be done with hysteroscopy, which uses small instruments and a camera placed into the uterus through the cervix.
After scar tissue is removed, the uterine cavity must be kept open while it heals to prevent adhesions from returning. Your health care provider may place a small balloon inside the uterus for several days. You may also need to take estrogen while the uterine lining heals.
You may need to take antibiotics if there is an infection.
The stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems.
Asherman syndrome can be cured with surgery. Sometimes more than one procedure will be necessary.
Women who are infertile because of Asherman syndrome may be able to have a baby after treatment. Successful pregnancy depends on the severity of Asherman syndrome and the difficulty of the treatment. Other factors that affect fertility and pregnancy may also be involved.
Complications of hysteroscopic surgery are uncommon. When they occur, they may include bleeding, perforation of the uterus, and pelvic infection.
In some cases, treatment of Asherman syndrome will not cure infertility.
When to Contact a Health Professional
Call your health care provider if your menstrual periods do not return after a gynecologic or obstetrical procedure. See a specialist for an infertility evaluation if you cannot get pregnant after 6 to 12 months of trying.
Prevention of Asherman syndrome
Most cases of Asherman syndrome cannot be predicted or prevented.
Katz VL. Benign gynecologic lesions: vulva, vagina, cervix, uterus, oviduct, ovary, ultrasound imaging of pelvic structures. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 18.
Simpson JL, Jauniaux ERM. Pregnancy loss. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 26.
|Review Date: 7/28/2014
Reviewed By: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.