A retroverted uterus is the name given to a uterus that is tilted backwards inside of the pelvis. Normally, women are born with a uterus that is located in a straight up and down position inside of the pelvis, or with a uterus that tips slightly forwards, towards the stomach.
However, some women have a uterus that tilts backwards, pointing towards the spine. Commonly referred to as a tipped uterus, this condition affects more than 20% of women worldwide.
Generally associated with no health complications, a retroverted uterus can occasionally cause painful symptoms or signal an underlying health disorder.
What Causes a Retroverted Uterus?
In the vast majority of women with retroverted uteruses, causes are completely genetic. Many women are simply born with a uterus that is tipped in this position, and this is entirely normal.
However, certain factors can cause a uterus that is in a normal placement to become retroverted. These causes include:
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the uterus becomes enlarged and the ligaments that hold the uterus in place become weakened. As a result, many women find that their uterus becomes retroverted after they have delivered their babies.
- Menopause: During menopause, estrogen levels drop rapidly in women. As with pregnancy, this can cause the ligaments that hold the uterus in place to weaken, allowing it to slip into a retroverted position.
- Reproductive Health Problems: Certain reproductive health issues, including pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis can cause the uterus to tilt backwards. This is because these illnesses can lead to scar tissue formation on the inside of the abdomen, forcing the uterus out of position.
What are the Symptoms of a Retroverted Uterus?
Generally, the majority of women suffering from a retroverted uterus experience no symptoms. However, if symptoms do present, the two most commonly-occurring symptoms include:
- pain during sexual intercourse, particularly vaginal intercourse (dyspareunia)
- pain during menstruation (dysmenorrhea)
This pain and discomfort is the result of pressure that the retroverted uterus places on the rectum and the ligaments around the tailbone.
Rare symptoms associated with a retroverted uterus include:
- lower back pain
- increased number of urinary tract infections
- pain while using tampons
- fertility difficulties
Diagnosing a Retroverted Uterus
If you are experiencing symptoms of a retroverted uterus, you may want to make an appointment with your health care provider for an examination. By performing a few simple tests, your health care provider can easily diagnose the condition. Diagnosis usually consists of:
- a pelvic exam
- an abdominal ultrasound