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Definition Return to top
Asherman syndrome is the formation of intrauterine adhesions, which typically result from scars that develop after uterine surgery.
Causes Return to top
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, and uterine complications such as Asherman syndrome related to these infections are even less common.
Symptoms Return to top
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.
Exams and Tests Return to top
A pelvic exam is usually normal.
Tests may include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment involves surgery to cut and remove the adhesions or scar tissue. This can usually 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 and prescribe estrogen replacement therapy while the uterine lining heals.
Antibiotic treatment may be necessary if there is an infection.
Support Groups Return to top
The stress of illness can often be helped by joining a support group where members share common experiences and problems. See www.ashermans.org for information about an online Asherman syndrome support group.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Asherman syndrome can be cured in most women with surgery, although sometimes more than one procedure will be necessary.
Women who are infertile because of Asherman syndrome may have a successful pregnancy after treatment Successful pregnancy depends on the severity of Asherman syndrome and the difficulty of the treatment, as well as other factors that affect fertility and pregnancy.
Possible Complications Return to top
Complications of hysteroscopic surgery are uncommon and include bleeding, perforation of the uterus, and pelvic infection.
In some cases, treatment of Asherman syndrome will not cure infertility.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if your menstrual periods do not resume after a gynecologic or obstetrical procedure. An evaluation for infertility is also warranted if you are unable to achieve a pregnancy after 6 to 12 months of trying.
Prevention Return to top
Most cases of Asherman syndrome cannot be predicted or prevented.
References Return to top
Kodaman PH, Arici A. Intra-uterine adhesions and fertility outcome: how to optimize success? Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2007; 19(207-214).Update Date: 10/28/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.