Several diseases can affect the uterus (uterus), such as polyps, endometriosis , fibroids , adenomyosis , and cancer . Symptoms for the various conditions of the uterus are similar and can include pain or discomfort in the pelvis and lower abdomen, which can spread to the mid-abdomen or lower back. Irregular menstrual bleeding and difficulty getting pregnant can occur due to conditions that affect the uterus.
Many uterine conditions are harmless and can be treated with minimal intervention, but some uterine conditions are serious and pose a threat to your health. It is important to see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
The uterus is a pear-shaped structure in the pelvis that lies behind the bladder and in front of the rectum. During pregnancy, the uterus enlarges and shrinks to almost its original size within a few weeks after delivery.
Given the proximity of all these organs, pelvic pain can be caused by a disease of the uterus or something else.
Condition of the uterus
The condition of the uterus can start in the uterus itself or it can be caused by factors outside the uterus, such as hormones. Most of these conditions can be treated with medication, but some may require surgical treatment, which may include a hysterectomy , which is the surgical removal of the uterus.
Dysmenorrhea is period pain that can occur before and / or during the menstrual cycle. This is not a sign of uterine disease or any other medical condition, and your condition often improves with pain relievers or hormone therapy.
Menorrhagia is prolonged or very heavy menstrual bleeding . It can occur without a known cause, but it can also be the result of hormonal imbalances, uterine fibroids, polyps, certain types of birth control, cancer, and other conditions.
Menorrhagia often causes iron deficiency anemia (low red blood cell count), so you may need treatment to stop the bleeding, as well as treatment for anemia.
Prolapse of the uterus
Uterine prolapse occurs when the muscles and ligaments that hold the uterus in place loosen, allowing the uterus to sink closer to the bladder. Many people develop mild to moderate uterine prolapse as they age.
The most common symptoms are urination and urine leakage, but pain can occur in severe cases, especially during or after intercourse.
The retroverted uterus leans excessively toward the back of the spine. In most cases, it does not cause symptoms and rarely causes complications during pregnancy. Your healthcare provider can tell if you have a retrograde uterus during a routine pelvic exam.
Congenital malformation of the uterus.
Sometimes the uterus itself is irregularly shaped. This can interfere with the pregnancy and increase the risk of miscarriage. Your healthcare provider can detect an abnormality of the uterus on an ultrasound during pregnancy if you are pregnant, and it can be seen on a computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen or ultrasound, even if you are not pregnant.
There are several typical malformations:
- Uterine septum : The uterus consists of two separate sides, and the uterine tissue completely or almost completely separates the sides from each other.
- Bicornuate uterus : The uterus is shaped like a heart, resulting in two halves of almost the same size, which are not as clearly separated as the septum of the uterus.
- Didelphys uterus : The uterus divides, especially near the lower foramen, into two parts, each with a separate cervical foramen.
- Unicorn Uterus: The uterus appears to be smaller as the portion may be compressed or underdeveloped, resulting in a single "real" cavity, which is especially small.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
When bacteria or organisms enter the cervix and spread upward, the infection can affect one or more pelvic organs, including the uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease . Symptoms may include discomfort, discharge, a bad smell, the urge to urinate, or pain.
Many people have uterine polyps , which are small, soft lumps inside the uterus that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding, spotting between periods, and bleeding after intercourse.
A fibroid is a growth on the lining of the uterus or the lining of the uterus. Sometimes the fibroid attaches to the outside of the uterus with a pedicle. They can be the size of a seed or a pea, or even larger than an orange.
Symptoms include heavy or prolonged bleeding between or during your period, pelvic pain or pressure, back pain, pain during intercourse, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Although uterine fibroids are sometimes called tumors, they are not cancer and do not invade tissues or travel to other parts of the body, as is the case with cancer.
Endometrial hyperplasia is a condition in which, due to overgrowth of endometrial cells (the lining of the uterus), it becomes too thick, leading to abnormal bleeding.
It is not cancer, but in some cases it can lead to uterine cancer. Symptoms include abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, or abnormal Pap smear.
In endometriosis, the tissue that lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body, usually the abdomen or the ovaries. This can cause scar tissue to form around the affected organs. Often times, people with endometriosis also have endometrial hyperplasia, but not always.
Symptoms include painful or heavy periods, irregular bleeding or spotting, pain during or after intercourse, pain in the abdomen or intestines, and pain when urinating or having a bowel movement.
Scars in the uterus (Asherman's syndrome)
Having adhesions (scars) after uterine surgery, radiation therapy, or injury is called Asherman's syndrome. This can lead to missed periods or light bleeding during menstruation. In severe cases, pain or infection can occur.
Cancer of the uterus, most often caused by endometrial cancer , causes abnormal vaginal bleeding. It requires aggressive treatment if it has spread outside the uterus.
Chronic pelvic pain
If the cause of the pain cannot be determined, you may have been diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain . You may need treatment when your pain worsens and you may be more sensitive to conditions that cause pain, such as a gastrointestinal or bladder infection .
Symptoms of uterine disease include:
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Vaginal discharge
- Pelvic pain or discomfort
- Back pain
- Urinary problems
- Difficulty getting pregnant
During the menstrual cycle, the uterus undergoes important changes, and this causes some uterine conditions to appear from time to time or cause various symptoms throughout the month .
Your medical history and symptoms can help your doctors decide if you need certain tests to identify conditions that may be affecting your uterus.
Your healthcare provider may consider several diagnostic tests:
- Pelvic exam : This can reveal problems such as a prolapsed uterus or retrograde uterus. A pelvic exam may not adequately evaluate the inside of the uterus, and you will likely need an additional exam if your healthcare provider believes there is another cause for your symptoms.
- Pap test : This is an important test that can detect changes in the cells of the cervix, which is directly adjacent to the uterus. If you haven't had a Pap smear recently, your healthcare provider will likely recommend one if you have symptoms of a uterine condition.
- Urinalysis: This test can look for infections and sometimes cancer cells that can explain your symptoms.
- Blood samples; Sometimes these tests can help diagnose hormonal changes that may or may be caused by diseases of the uterus.
- Imaging tests: Ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) are useful for imaging the uterus and can reveal anatomical abnormalities such as a prolapsed uterus, uterine malformation, or retrograde uterus. CT may involve injecting a dye into a blood vessel to visualize structures.
- Interventional Procedures: Hysteroscopy involves inserting a tube into the cervix to visualize the inside of the uterus, while hysterosalpingography or sonohysterogram involves injecting a fluid or dye into the cervix to visualize the inside of the uterus.
The correct treatment for your uterine condition depends on the cause. Medications, hormone therapy, surgery, or other procedures may be required:
- Antibiotics – An infection, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, requires treatment with antibiotics.
- Hormonal treatment : Endometriosis is often treated with medications, such as hormonal contraceptives , to reduce symptoms. Similarly, endometrial hyperplasia, dysmenorrhea, and menorrhagia can be treated with hormone therapy if symptoms are severe.
- Embolization : Uterine fibroids can be treated with embolization , which is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces the blood supply to the uterine tissue to shrink it. Polyps can also be treated with embolization, but generally do not require treatment.
- Surgery : Uterine prolapse can be treated with surgery and, in severe cases, a hysterectomy may be necessary. Many other conditions of the uterus, such as fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, endometriosis, and cancer, can also be treated with surgery.
- Follow -up: People with a congenital uterine malformation rarely need surgery, but they often need close monitoring and care during pregnancy to reduce the chance of miscarriage. A retrograde uterus rarely requires treatment, but lifestyle changes may be needed to correct urine leakage, if so.
Sometimes a combination of treatment approaches may be required, depending on the severity of the condition and the improvement of the condition after the first approach.
Get the word of drug information
If you have symptoms of a uterine condition, it can be difficult to tell if something serious is going on. Treatment can alleviate many of the effects of your condition and reverse some conditions completely.
Frequently asked questions
Emergencies for which a woman should seek immediate medical attention include anything that can cause bleeding, such as an ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease associated with abscesses, complications from fibroids, and uterine bleeding.
Certain diseases of the uterus can cause pain during sexual intercourse. These conditions include fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ectopic pregnancy.