The broad ligament is a broad fold of tissue that supports the uterus. It extends from the wall of the uterus and the pelvis on either side. This ligament helps to attach the diaphragm to the liver and add stability as well as separate the left and right hepatic lobes. The broad ligament also helps to hold the uterus in its position, but it is not a major contributing factor to its location.
In essence, the broad ligament is a sheet of fibrous tissue which connects and stabilizes the liver, diaphragm and uterus. Although it does not play a major part in the reproductive system, it is necessary in order for successful reproduction in a woman. Complications and ailments associated with this ligament are not considered common, but may be serious if not treated correctly.
Disorders of the broad ligament are generally very rare, and those which can occur are often misdiagnosed because of their rarity. The most common of the broad ligament complications are caused by anatomic defects, which can be congenital or caused by a traumatic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, or surgical damage. Cysts may appear within the ligament, and if they rupture, they could potentially cause a defect in the area.
Broad ligament lacerations can cause chronic pelvic pain in a woman. This is a rare ailment, but it may need medical attention if it occurs. If the ligament is lacerated, the mobility of joints in the uterus can be affected. This condition usually happens after or during delivery of a child or sometimes even from abortions.
Another possible complication is a broad ligament hematoma, an effect caused by a tear in the upper vaginal area, cervix, or uterus. They commonly follow an operative delivery, trauma, or other surgery. Common symptoms reported by patients include pain and pressure in the rectum; individuals may also become dizzy and anemic.
Any sharp or prolonged pain in the pelvic area, pressure or dull pain in the rectal area, or uncommon symptoms following birth, abortions, or reproductive surgeries should be reported to a physician right away. While it is unlikely they are the result of a complication with the broad ligament, untreated symptoms and issues may lead to permanent damage and even death. If they are the result of a complication within the broad ligament, damage can extend to infertility and other issues, which makes a visit to the doctor all the more important.