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Retroversion of the uterus

Definition

Retroversion of the uterus occurs when a woman's uterus (womb) tilts backward rather than forward. It is commonly called a "tipped uterus."

Alternative Names

Uterus retroversion; Malposition of the uterus; Tipped uterus; Tilted uterus

Causes

Retroversion of the uterus is common. One in five women has this condition.The problem may also occur due to weakening of the pelvic ligaments at the time of menopause. An enlarged uterus can also be caused by pregnancy or a tumor.

Scar tissue in the pelvis (pelvic adhesions) can also hold the uterus in a retroverted position. Scarring may come from:

Symptoms

Retroversion of the uterus almost never causes any symptoms.

Rarely, it may cause pain or discomfort.

Exams and Tests

A pelvic exam will show the position of the uterus. However, a tipped uterus can sometimes be mistaken for a pelvic mass or a growing fibroid. A rectovaginal exam may be used to distinguish between a mass and a retroverted uterus.

An ultrasound test can be used to see the exact position of the uterus.

Treatment

Treatment is not needed most of the time. Underlying disorders, such as endometriosis or adhesions, should be treated as needed.

Outlook (Prognosis)

In most cases, the condition does not cause problems.

Possible Complications

Atypical positioning of the uterus may be caused by endometriosis, salpingitis, or pressure from a growing tumor.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have ongoing pelvic pain or discomfort.

Prevention

There is no way to prevent the problem. Early treatment of PID or endometriosis may reduce the chances of a change in the position of the uterus.

References

Lobo RA. Endometriosis: etiology, pathology, diagnosis, management. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 19.


Review Date: 7/28/2014
Reviewed By: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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