Joseph Asherman

Joseph G. Asherman (1889-1968)

Joseph Gustav Asherman (1889-1968) was an Israeli obstetrician and gynaecologist.

Former director of the Hadassah Municipal Maternity Hospital, Tel Aviv and prominent in the introduction of early post-partum mobilisation and commencement of the surgical management of vesicovaginal fistula.

Asherman was also responsible for introducing welfare centres for impoverished pregnant women and their children. He is eponymously remembered for a series of papers describe the frequency, aetiology, and symptoms of post-traumatic intrauterine adhesions also known as Asherman syndrome

  • 1889 – Born on September 11 in Rosovice, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic)
  • 1913 – Graduated with an MD from Charles University, Prague
  • 1914-1918 – Served as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian army during WW1
  • 1920 – Emigrated to Israel (then called British Palestine)
  • Head of Department for obstetrics and gynaecology at Hadassah Municipal Hospital, Tel Aviv
  • 1927 – Elected the first president of the Israeli Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • 1948 – Publishes his first description of Amenorrhoea Traumatica (Atretica)
  • Visiting Professor at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • 1968 – Died on October 9 at Ichilov Hospital

Medical Eponyms
Asherman Syndrome (1948)

Rare, acquired clinical syndrome presenting with amenorrhoea, menstrual disorders and reproductive dysfunction secondary to intrauterine adhesions. [aka Fritsch syndrome; uterine atresia; amenorrhea traumatica; endometrial sclerosis; intrauterine adhesions; intrauterine synechiae]

In 1948 Asherman described 29 cases he termed ‘amenorrhea traumatica‘ treated between 1944 and 1946, in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the British Empire. He acknowledged the work of Stamer and their previous case reports.

This pathological reaction of the uterus is the outcome of a graver injury than usual, such as repeated or deep curettage for missed abortion…or as a result of a normal or even very slight injury when the uterus has been harmed by large-scale haemorrhage

Asherman 1948

Asherman’s cases suffered obliteration of the endometrial cavity with amenorrhea ranging from 3-12 months. Treatment involved the passage of a uterine sound through the internal os and dilatation which restored some degree of menstruation in 27/29 cases, with 10 achieving subsequent pregnancy. Asherman initially felt that the stenosis was due to muscular contraction

In our opinion, under certain conditions, the uterus reacts to curettage by tetanic contractions, which may pass after a few moments or hours, but may also continue so long as to become permanent. The contraction of the circular muscles round the uterine os, causes the os to narrow at the close of any abrasion. In the cases under consideration here, prolonged spastic stricture becomes organic in the course of time.

Asherman 1948

1950 – Asherman followed his original article with a description of ‘traumatic intrauterine adhesions.’ Asherman collected 65 cases between 1848-1850, evaluated by hysterosalpingography. He presented evidence that curettage or packing of the post-termination or postpartum uterus could induce formation of synechiae within the body of the uterus and advocated hysterotomy, hysteroscopy and digital breakdown of the adhesions as treatment.

Also, hysteroscopy, which has so often been mentioned in the literature and just as often discarded, may perhaps be of use for this purpose. If it were possible to see the adhesions and to loosen them instrumentally, using the eye as a guide, the ideal method would have been found

Asherman 1950

1988 – The American Fertility Society developed an objective scoring system for classification of intrauterine adhesions that correlated the menstrual history with hysteroscopic and hysterosalpingographic findings

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


the person behind the name

Dr Lucy J Yarwood LITFL author

MSc, MBChB University of Manchester. Currently doctoring in sunny Western Australia, aspiring obstetrician and gynaecologist

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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