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Double uterus

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 15, 2024.

Overview

A double uterus is a rare condition that is present at birth in some women. In a female fetus, the uterus starts out as two small tubes. As the fetus grows, the tubes typically join to create one larger, hollow organ. This organ is the uterus.

Sometimes the tubes don't join completely. Instead, each one develops into a separate organ. A double uterus may have one opening into one vagina. This opening is called the cervix. In other cases, each uterus has its own cervix. Often, there's also a thin wall of tissue that runs down the length of the vagina. This divides the vagina in two, with two separate openings.

Women who have a double uterus often have successful pregnancies. But the condition can make you more likely to have a miscarriage or premature birth.

Symptoms

A double uterus often causes no symptoms. The condition may be discovered during a regular pelvic exam. Or it may be found during imaging tests to find the cause of repeated miscarriages.

Women who have a double vagina along with a double uterus may first see a health care provider for menstrual bleeding that isn't stopped by a tampon. This can happen when a tampon is placed in one vagina, but blood still flows from the second uterus and vagina.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical advice if you have a menstrual flow despite using a tampon. Or if you have severe pain during your periods or you have repeated miscarriages.

Causes

Health experts don't know exactly why some fetuses develop a double uterus. Genetics may play a role. That's because this rare condition sometimes runs in families.

Risk factors

The risk factors for a double uterus are not well understood. The cause of the condition isn't known either. Genetics likely plays a role, along with other unknown factors.

Complications

Many women with a double uterus have active sex lives. They also may have routine pregnancies and successful deliveries. But sometimes a double uterus and other uterine factors can cause:

Diagnosis

A double uterus may be diagnosed during a routine pelvic exam. Your doctor may observe a double cervix or feel an unusually shaped uterus. To confirm the diagnosis of double uterus, you may need certain tests:

Sometimes, ultrasound or MRI is also done to check for kidney problems.

Treatment

Treatment often isn't needed for a double uterus if you have no symptoms or other problems. Surgery to join a double uterus isn't usually done.

But sometimes surgery can help. If the uterus is partially divided, and you've had a pregnancy loss with no other medical explanation for the loss, your doctor might recommend surgery. This may help you keep a future pregnancy.

Surgery also might help if you have a double vagina along with a double uterus. The procedure removes the wall of tissue separating the two vaginas. This can make childbirth a little easier.

Preparing for an appointment

You may start by seeing your primary doctor or other care provider. Or you may be referred to a specialist. This could include seeing a doctor, called a gynecologist, who specializes in conditions that affect the female reproductive system. Or you may see a doctor who specializes in reproductive hormones and helping with fertility. This type of doctor is called a reproductive endocrinologist.

What you can do

When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do to get ready. You may be given instructions for preparing for certain tests. Next, make a list of:

Bring a family member or friend along, if you're able to. They can help you remember what you talk with your doctor about during your appointment.

For a double uterus, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

Don't hesitate to ask other questions as they occur to you.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor may ask you several questions, such as:

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