Asherman syndrome is the formation of intrauterine adhesions, which typically result from scars that develop after uterine surgery.
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.
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
A pelvic exam is usually normal.
Tests may include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound examination
- Infertility evaluation
- Blood tests to detect tuberculosis or schistosomiasis
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.
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.
Asherman syndrome can be cured in most women with surgery, although sometimes more than one procedure will be necessary. Approximately 70-80% of women who are infertile because of Asherman syndrome will have a successful pregnancy after treatment.
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
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.
Most cases of Asherman syndrome cannot be predicted or prevented.