What’s a Retroverted Uterus?

Woman performing a backbend, imitating a retroverted uterus

Almost every day in the office I mention to a patient that she has a retroverted uterus, and I’m met with a blank stare. Or worse, a look of panic from a patient who has no idea what I’m talking about. A retroverted uterus is also called a “tipped uterus.” This means that your uterus tilts back in your pelvis, toward your tailbone. About one in five people with a uterus have one that tips back like this. The rest have an anteverted uterus, that tips forward towards the bladder. You can’t control which way your uterus points, it’s simply your natural direction.

What does having a retroverted uterus mean? For some people, it may mean more difficult speculum exams. Think of your uterus and cervix like a see-saw: When the uterus tips back, your cervix tips forward, and may be hiding behind your pubic bone. If you feel like your gyno is mining for gold in there, tell her to “look up” to find your cervix. Some people with a tipped uterus have worse menstrual cramping. And sometimes it’s a sign that you have endometriosis or uterine fibroids. So if you have heavy or painful periods, be sure to mention this to your doctor.

And if your uterus is tipped, deep penetration with intercourse may cause discomfort. Your cervix—which is more “forward” in your vagina—gets cranky when she’s smacked, and can cause your uterus to start cramping. So positions where you control how deep your partner goes may be more enjoyable. I’ve told this to many patients, who often exclaim, “So I’m not imagining it!” Nope, it’s a real phenomenon.

Having a retroverted uterus isn’t by itself an illness, nor does it need to be fixed. The direction your uterus points does NOT affect your chances of pregnancy. (So, you still need birth control if you’re at risk of pregnancy.) And it won’t cause any complications when you are pregnant. No matter which direction your uterus is in, it straightens out by the end of the first trimester.