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What is a Retroverted Uterus

The uterus is the pear-shaped structure that houses a developing fetus. When in its normal position the uterus is in a vertical position or slightly tilted forward. A retroverted uterus is one that tilts toward the spine, instead of forward. Many women with retroverted uteruses never have any problems and can often lead healthy sexual and reproductive lives. However, some may experience significant side effects, including ones of the sexual nature.

Other terms for a retroverted uterus are

  • Tilted uterus
  • Tipped uterus
  • Backward uterus
  • Tilted womb

Medical terms:

  • Retroversion of the uterus
  • Uterine retroversion or retroflexion
  • Symptomatic uterine retroversion or retroflexion
  • Uterine retrodisplacement

Retroverted uterus causes

Most retroverted uterus cases are genetic. Meaning, some females are born with a tipped uterus. However, the following medical factors may lead to abnormal placement of the uterus as well.

  • Pregnancy - During pregnancy, the lining of the uterus may become weak. A weakened lining can set the uterus out of alignment. 
  • Menopause - Low estrogen levels can cause a retroverted uterus, due to how it affects the muscles that support the uterus.
  • Female medical problems can cause the uterus to tilt backward, such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease. Illnesses such as these can cause scarring of the abdomen which may force the uterus out of place.
  • Pelvic surgery can cause muscles to bind together, which can tilt the uterus into a retroverted angle.
  • Fibroids - a non-cancerous growth can make the uterus tip backward.

Retroverted uterus symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Painful menstrual cycles and the use of feminine products 
  • Discomfort during bowel movements, incontinence
  • Back pain
  • Conception problems

How a retroverted uterus effects fertility, pregnancy, and birth

Fertility

A retroverted uterus does not directly affect a person’s ability to conceive a child. However, any fertility problems should be discussed with your doctor.  

Pregnancy

Having a retroverted uterus may cause the baby to lay further back into the uterus. This can make the baby hard to find with the traditional wand-type ultrasound. In these situations, doctors may choose to use a vaginal ultrasound to get a better look at the fetus.

Some pregnant women may be at greater risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI), especially those that have troubles emptying their bladder within the first trimester. There are no known causes to prevent a full-term pregnancy.

Birthing complications

The most common reported complication due to a retroverted uterus is it may worsen back labor pains. In rare situations, the uterus may become stuck in the pelvis following the first trimester causing an incarcerated uterus.

Retroverted uterus diagnosis

Diagnosing a retroverted uterus begins with a routine pelvic examination. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound if he needs measurements of your uterus.

Treatments for retroverted uterus

Treatment options may include:

  • Pelvic Exercise - helps strengthen the pelvic muscles.
  • Pessary - a silicone or plastic mesh-like sling used to support the uterus.
  • Laparoscopic surgery - a surgical procedure to lift a retroverted uterus.
  • Hysterectomy - removal of the uterus and sometimes the ovaries.
  • The UPLIFT procedure - This is the most recent uplifting procedure for the retroverted uterus.

Retroverted uterus complications

Complications rarely stem from a retroverted uterus itself. However, having a retroverted uterus may be a risk factor or sign of a more serious disorder, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Most woman will never require surgical intervention, but those that do tend to recover well after surgery.

Retroverted uterus exercises

Toning up the pelvic wall muscles may help reposition your uterus. These exercises may be particularly useful to women who’s retroverted uterus is a result from birth or sexual intercourse. Multiple pregnancies can weaken the muscles in the pelvic floor, causing retroverted uterus. The following exercises have proven useful.

Kegel Exercises

Pelvic muscles and tendons hold the uterus in place. Kegel exercises help tone these muscles and realign the uterus.

Exercise instructions:

  • Insert a finger into the vagina (only needed the first time).
  • Tighten the vaginal muscles until you feel squeezes on your finger; hold for 10 seconds.
  • Relax the muscles for 10 seconds.
  • You should feel the pelvic wall move with every squeeze.

Repeat these steps 10 times, three times daily.

Knee to Chest

  • Lay on your back on a flat surface.
  • Bend both knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
  • While leaving one foot on the floor, bring the other knee to your chest.
  • Hold your knee to your chest for 15 – 30 seconds.
  • Return that foot to the floor.
  • Repeat these steps with the other leg.

Perform these steps three times a day.

Kangaroo Walk

The kangaroo walk strengthens the lower back muscles and helps reposition the uterus.

  • Get on your hands and knees.
  • Reach your arms out in front of you.
  • Arch you back
  • While keeping this position, walk on all fours.

With each step of the kangaroo walk, the uterus is pulled forward. Repeat this exercise a few minutes daily.

These exercises may not be advisable for patients with other medical conditions. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for exercise. It is wise to know all your options before surgery.

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