A retroverted uterus is a common condition that describes how your uterus sits within your pelvis. A retroverted, or tilted, uterus is when your uterus is tilted backward toward your spine. It doesn’t cause any serious health problems but can cause discomfort during sex and painful menstruation.
A retroverted uterus means your uterus is tilted or tipped backward so it curves toward your spine instead of forward toward your abdomen. Your uterus is the organ where a baby grows during pregnancy. It’s shaped like an upside-down pear and sits in your pelvis between your bladder and your rectum. Its exact position in your pelvis varies among people and can change, especially during pregnancy.
To get a better idea of how a retroverted uterus lies in your pelvis, think of your uterus like the letter U. In a retroverted uterus, the curved part of the U is aimed at your low back. The opening of the U is your cervix (the opening to the uterus from the vagina). If your uterus is retroverted, your cervix is aimed toward your belly. It’s more typical for the curved part of the U to be aimed toward your belly and your cervix to be pointed toward your rectum (this is called an anteverted uterus).
A retroverted uterus is also called a tipped uterus or tilted uterus. You can be born with a retroverted uterus or it can develop later in life. Some people never know they have a retroverted uterus because they don’t have symptoms. In some cases, you will have symptoms that may require treatment by your healthcare provider. This condition rarely causes health complications and is not a cause for worry.
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A retroverted uterus is fairly common. Approximately 25% of people have a uterus that tilts backward at their cervix.
An anteverted uterus means your uterus tilts forward at your cervix and points toward your abdomen. This is the more common position of the uterus. In this position, your uterus is on top of your bladder. In a retroverted uterus, your uterus is usually pressing against your rectum.
Your fertility shouldn’t be affected by a retroverted uterus. You can still get pregnant and have a normal pregnancy. If you’re unable to get pregnant and have a tilted uterus, it’s most likely caused by another condition of your uterus that affects fertility.
Some of the conditions associated with a retroverted uterus that contribute to fertility issues are:
Your pregnancy shouldn’t be impacted by a tilted uterus in any way. There is also no correlation between a retroverted uterus and complications during labor and delivery. In fact, pregnancy will cause your uterus to change to an anteverted position sometime before the second trimester. Your uterus may return to its retroverted position after your baby is born.
Some people don’t experience any symptoms of a retroverted uterus. For those that do have symptoms, the most common are:
Some people are born with a retroverted uterus — it’s present at birth and not caused by any health conditions. In some cases, it happens later in life.
Some reasons you can develop a tilted uterus are:
There’s not enough research to directly connect bowel conditions, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or chronic constipation, to a retroverted uterus. However, uterine fibroids and endometriosis, common causes of retroverted uterus, have been connected to symptoms of IBS. Having a weak pelvic floor from childbirth or menopause has also been connected to fecal incontinence. If you’re having trouble with your bowels, speak with your healthcare provider about your symptoms so they can determine the underlying cause.
Sometimes. One of the main symptoms of a retroverted uterus is painful intercourse. This is because your uterus is positioned differently in your body. Certain positions and deep thrusting may intensify your discomfort. Switching positions may make you feel more comfortable. Talk with your partner so that you can find a way to enjoy intercourse together.
Your healthcare provider can tell if you have a retroverted uterus by doing a pelvic exam. During this exam, your healthcare provider can feel the location of your cervix and uterus to determine which way it tilts. Sometimes an ultrasound is used to confirm a retroverted uterus and rule out more serious causes like uterine fibroids or endometriosis.
Your healthcare provider may recommend the following treatment options:
There’s nothing you can do to prevent a retroverted uterus. Most of the time it is beyond your control because it is caused by a medical condition that can’t be prevented.
If your retroverted uterus is caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) you can reduce your risk of PID by practicing safe sex. Wearing condoms and limiting your sexual partners can help reduce your risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can lead to PID.
Uterine incarceration is a rare, but serious, condition caused by a retroverted uterus. This is a condition during pregnancy where a retroverted uterus doesn’t shift to the anteverted position. During the second trimester of pregnancy, your uterus should tilt forward, which allows it to fully expand. If it doesn’t change to the anteverted position, your uterus can become trapped within your pelvis. This only happens in about .3% of pregnancies.
If you have a retroverted uterus, contact your healthcare provider if your pain and discomfort become unbearable. Painful sex and painful menstruation are the two most common reasons you might see your healthcare provider for a retroverted uterus. Your healthcare provider will want to rule out any health conditions that are causing your symptoms.
It’s common to have questions about a retroverted uterus. Some questions to ask your healthcare provider are:
A retroverted uterus can’t cause a miscarriage. If you have a tilted uterus and experience a miscarriage, it’s likely caused by another factor like a chromosomal abnormality or an underlying uterine condition. In rare cases, uterine incarceration can cause a miscarriage.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A retroverted uterus can be diagnosed during a pelvic exam. It usually doesn’t cause any serious health problems, but if you’re experiencing discomfort or pain, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. They can recommend a treatment to relieve your pain and rule out a more serious condition.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2022.
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