Pelvic pain. Endometriosis. For women, lots of not-so-pleasant reproductive problems (ahem, down there) affect your daily life.
But what if you have a tilted uterus? Does it make your periods painful, or make it hard to get pregnant? With everything you worry about, is this something to add to your list?
What Is a Tilted Uterus?
A tilted uterus is a normal variation (or difference) in the location of your uterus. "Every uterus has a position," explains Jessie Dorais, MD, professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Utah.
In many women, the uterus tips, or tilts, forward at the cervix - toward the stomach. If you have a tilted uterus, your uterus tips backward at your cervix, toward your tailbone.
What Causes a Tilted Uterus?
Most women are simply born with a tilted uterus. According to the National Institutes of Health, in rare cases it can also be caused by:
- Infection, like pelvic inflammatory disease,
- Pelvic surgery, or
- Endometriosis (a painful condition where uterine tissues grow outside your uterus).
One in five women has a tilted uterus. Its medical term - retroverted uterus - can sound scary. But in most cases, the condition won't make your menstrual cycle abnormal or make it hard to get pregnant or give birth.
When Can a Tilted Uterus Cause Problems?
Have you heard that a tilted uterus might prevent sperm from reaching your eggs? No matter what you've heard, having a tilted uterus most likely won't make it harder for you to get pregnant.
"I tell my patients there is little data to support that the position of the uterus predicts health outcomes," notes Dorais. A fertility specialist can determine if you are having other problems conceiving and offer treatment options.
When it comes to having your baby, a tilted uterus also won't make labor and delivery dangerous or more painful. A tilted uterus can be the culprit behind painful sexual intercourse and painful periods, though, especially if you have endometriosis.
Don't Sweat a Tilted Uterus
What's the bottom line? Follow a few easy steps to find out if you have a tilted uterus:
- Schedule a gynecological checkup. Your women's health provider will perform a routine pelvic exam.
- If you already know your uterus is tilted, tell your provider and communicate any concerns. A women's health provider can recommend treatments to help relieve painful periods and intercourse.
Don't sweat it if you have a tilted uterus. Talk to your gynecologist if you have painful periods or painful sex. Bodies come in all shapes, sizes … and tilts. Being a little different down there isn't always a bad thing.