In a hushed voice she sat us down, cradling a glass of pinot noir in her hands.
She told us she had something important to tell us, something… “embarrassing”.
Although concerned for her, we all leaned forward and licked our lips in anticipation.
“Guys,” she swallowed and then said in a hushed voice, “I have a retroverted uterus.”
We gasped. We murmured sympathies. We hugged it out.
In reality, we were all really just wondering, “What is a retroverted uterus?”
Table Of Contents
You, Too, May Be Retroverted!
Depending on which set of statistics you choose to observe, anywhere form 20 to 30% of all women have a retroverted uterus, and guess what?
It ain’t all that bad.
Our uterus is frequently on the move depending on how we position our body, how full or empty our bladder is, and if/when we need to poop.
While the majority of uteruses (or “uteri” depending on your preference) tilt frontwards and towards the abdomen, some are straight up and down while others tilt backwards towards the spine.
These fine ladies are what are known as a retroverted uterus.
What Did I Do To Cause This?
Ladies, we have no control over which way our uterus chooses to point herself. For the majority of women our uteruses/uteri tilt forward as we mature, but that doesn’t always happen.
Then there are other reasons, like:
- Endometriosis: Pesky rogue uterine lining cells can cause your uterus to become “glued” backwards onto other pelvic structures
- Adhesions: This is caused by a band of scar tissue forcing two anatomic surfaces to stick together
- Fibroids: These lumpy non-cancerous annoyances can cause a retroverted uterus
- Pregnancy: Carrying a baby, a placenta and loads of fluid naturally causes the ligaments of the uterus to stretch. When overstretched, this can cause your uterus to change from its forward-facing position to a backwards-facing one.
How Can I Tell If I’m Retroverted?
Your doctor may have said in passing that you have a retroverted uterus during one of your annual Pap tests.
Otherwise you might have a retroverted uterus if:
- Sex is painful
- If being on top of your partner during sex causes you discomfort (or complete agony, depending on who you ask)
- You suffer from significant period pain
A lot of women realize that they have a retroverted uterus after they become pregnant.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Suffering from back pain (a cold pack, heating pad or even a maternity support belt may help alleviate your symptoms)
- Having a hard time emptying your bladder (which really sucks considering you need to pee every half an hour)
- Your doctor or midwife may have a more difficult time locating your baby (this is because your baby is a bit of a wallflower)
Can I Still Have Babies?
Sex may suck, but the good news is that a retroverted uterus should not pose any increased risk as to whether or not a woman can become pregnant.
Pregnancies often are unaffected because after the first trimester, your expanding uterus naturally lifts outside of your pelvis and assumes the “normal” forward position.
One study did reveal that women with an “anteverted” uterus (a.k.a. this forward-tilting uterus we mentioned earlier) had a higher pregnancy rate (25.3%) than women with a retroverted uterus (16.7%), but this study involved a number of variables and pregnancy was achieved through intracervical insemination and by using a cryopreserved donor spermatozoa.
So the circumstances were pretty unique there.
During pregnancy, a retroverted uterus may become “snagged” (how’s that for a visual?) on a pelvic bone like the sacrum somewhere around 12 to 14 weeks into your pregnancy.
This is what is known as an “incarcerated uterus” (or “uterus jail” in other words).
This is typically treated by using a catheter to ensure that the bladder is always fully emptied to prevent UTIs and a series of exercises like pelvic rocking to set that trapped uterus free.
As for the birth process, it should go as bothersome in real-time and as blissful in memories as every other birth.
There is only scant supposed evidence which may suggest a retroverted uterus may increase your chances of suffering from back labor.
What Happens After I Give Birth?
How your uterus chooses to settle herself after carrying another human being for 40 weeks will depend on a number of factors.
[Try this for support: Belly Support Back Belt]
It will depend on how much the ligaments have become stretched and how much weight has been gained and/or lost.
Can I “Fix” My Non-Conforming Uterus?
Your uterus probably doesn’t need any fixing at all.
If you have any underlying issues (like endometriosis), seeking treatment for those health issues may fix this so-called “problem”.
As touched upon a short while ago, exercises may help and laparoscopic surgery techniques are available if your misbehaving uterus is giving you grief.
Another option is to have a pessary (a tiny plastic or silicone device) placed temporarily or permanently to help keep your uterus in a forward-tilt.
The drawback is that there is an increased risk of inflammation, infection, and your partner may be butting heads with it during intercourse (ouch!).
image source: Pinterest-Etsy
A Retroverted Uterus Is No Big Deal
The main thing to remember is that a retroverted uterus is no biggie.
- Keep calm
- Carry on
- Eat cake
A retroverted uterus should not have any impact on your ability to make beautiful babies today and in the future.
If you are suffering from painful intercourse or experiencing health issues, reach out to your doctor, your gynecologist or your obstetrician for further help.
Have a retroverted uterus or are curious about them? Give us a shout in the comments section below!