Understanding the Term “Tipped Uterus”
The uterus is normally suspended in a straight up and down position or slightly forward toward the belly in your body. A tipped uterus is the term used to describe a uterus that is tilted backwards or forwards away from the belly. The condition is also referred to as a retroverted uterus or tilted uterus and all the three terms are interchangeable. There are also a few other alternative terms that can be used to describe this situation. Common substitutes include:
- retroflexed uterus
- tilted uterus
- backward uterus
- retroverted uterus
- tilted womb
Medical professionals may use the terms:
- uterine retroversion
- uterine retroflexion
- retroversion of the uterus
- symptomatic uterine retroversion
- symptomatic uterine reflexion
- uterine retrodisplacement
- reflexion of the uterus
Causes of a Tipped Uterus
A tipped uterus occurs in approximately 20% of women and is usually something they are born with. But it can also be caused by labor while giving birth or by some particular diseases. A tipped uterus can affect all women regardless of marital status, age, race or childbearing history.
The condition tends to be more problematic for women in their childbearing years as women tend to be more sexually active during this time period. Some of the documented causes of a tipped uterus include the following:
- The uterus fails to move to the forward position as a woman matures.
- Childbirth can tip the uterus forward or backward.
- A disease such as a fibroid tumor, endometriosis, and pelvic adhesions from pelvic infection or from a prior surgical procedure can cause displacement of the uterus.
Symptoms of a Tipped Uterus
There are not many specific symptoms of a tipped uterus because it is more of a situation than a disease. Hence, most women with a tipped uterus do not experience any problems.
However, some women have reported the following common symptoms of a tipped uterus:
- Pain during sexual intercourse. This happens when the penis hits the cervix or uterus during sex. This condition is known as collision dyspareunia.
- Women may also suffer pelvic pain during menstruation or ovulation because of a tipped uterus.
- Back pain during menstruation
- Minor incontinence
- Urinary tract infections
- Problems when trying to conceive
- Difficulty using tampons
Tipped Uterus and Trying to Conceive
If you suspect that you have a tipped uterus, please discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor can perform a simple physical exam to find out. This can be done during a routine pelvic exam. It is not necessary to have any treatment for this condition if it does not trouble you.
A tipped uterus doesn’t normally affect your fertility. Ovulation and hormonal balance are not affected by this condition. Some women are born with their uterus tilted forward or backward. Often with a pregnancy and delivery of a baby, the uterus goes back to the normal position. A tipped uterus is typically only thought to be problematic when trying to conceive after all other possible reasons for fertility problems have been investigated and ruled out. If there is no other explanation for your fertility problems a uterine suspension may be recommended by your doctor. However, this is not common.
A tipped uterus can occasionally lead to difficulties if sexual intercourse is painful and difficult. If this is the case, it can hamper your ability get pregnant but with an understanding partner, it should not be a problem. If a doctor determines that it is causing a problem for you, when trying to conceive, the uterus can be tipped into its correct position. Straightening out the uterus can often enable a woman to become pregnant, if that was the reason for the failure to conceive.
Some doctors recommend the use of a pessary inserted into the vagina, but this prescription is debatable. Because insertion of a pessary can lead to vaginal infections and restrains one from regular intercourse, it is generally considered a only temporary solution for pelvic pain resulting from a tipped uterus. Also, a pessary typically makes intercourse painful for the male partner although it might help you a little bit.