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Does a septate uterus cause pain and heavy periods? — Ask Dr Jean

9 Apr 2021

When it comes to women's health, there is no such thing as a silly question. Do you have a question you want answered, but have been too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up with your GP? Or you forgot to ask while you were in the doctor's surgery? Now, you can 'Ask Dr Jean'.

Answering your questions for this edition of 'Ask Dr Jean' is Jean Hailes gynaecologist and Medical Director Dr Elizabeth Farrell (pictured below).

Question

Hi Dr Jean, I was recently diagnosed with a partial septate uterus and stage 3 endometriosis. I have had the endo removed by laser, but my gyno won’t operate on the septum unless required.

My question is: I haven’t been able to find many resources about uterine septums, so is there any information you can provide?

I have had extremely heavy and painful periods ever since my first one at 13, but I am unsure if it was caused by just the endo, or both the septum and endo. Do you know if a septate uterus causes pain and heavy periods? Thank you!

Answer

Thank you for your question about heavy periods and a partial septate uterus. I agree there is very few resources or even studies about septate uteri.

A septate uterus is when a band of uterine tissue called a septum divides the uterus (womb) either partially or completely.

Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is associated with many factors. In a young adolescent, we would first exclude any bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease.

Endometriosis and adenomyosis (where the endometrial cells grow into the muscle of the uterus) are both associated with HMB and pain with periods. When endometriosis is diagnosed, there is thought that the uterus may also have an abnormality that contributes to HMB and pain.

A septate (or partial septate) uterus can result in more endometrial lining (or surface area) of the uterus so this can mean heavier bleeding. However, it does depend on the size of the partial septum.

For many women with a partial septum, there is no interference with menstruation and fertility.

Watch a video which talks about the causes and treatments for heavy menstrual bleeding.

This video is captioned

Read more endometriosis or download our booklet, Understanding endometriosis.

All rea­son­able steps have been tak­en to ensure the infor­ma­tion cre­at­ed by Jean Hailes Foun­da­tion, and pub­lished on this web­site is accu­rate as at the time of its creation. 

Last updated: 
18 January 2024
 | 
Last reviewed: 
25 May 2024