Some Important Facts about a Tilted Cervix

Most women learn that they have a tipped or tilted cervix at their first vaginal examination and naturally have questions about the condition and how it may affect them.  They will find it reassuring to know that this condition is not dangerous or harmful and that there are answers to all of their questions.

Anatomy of the uterus

The uterus, or the womb, is the organ within a woman which is designed as a safe haven for a fetus as it grows and develops before it emerges with birth.  It has a pear like shape with a size of approximately 3 inches in length when a woman is not pregnant.  The organ is hollow and is normally positioned in a straight vertical line in the lower abdomen.  Called the “neck” of the uterus, the cervix is the doorway between the vagina and the uterus.  This opening is only about the size of a straw except during childbirth when it is capable of stretching to accommodate the size of the fetus.

In some women, the uterus leans backward in the body toward the lower back, creating a condition called a tipped uterus.  Since it is part of the uterus, a tipped or tilted cervix is also found in this situation.  This may also be called a retroverted or retroflexed uterus and cervix.  Though not found in the majority of women, the condition is not uncommon by any means and generally does not pose a threat for the woman.  It is only natural though that a woman will have questions when she learns that she has this condition.  Some of the most frequently asked questions are:

What causes it?

Approximately 20% of all women have a tipped uterus, and in many of them, the uterus simply does not move forward during puberty.  In some women, disorders such as endometriosis and fibroids can cause the uterus to become tipped by way of scar tissue. 

Can a tilted cervix affect my fertility?

In the majority of cases, fertility is not affected by the positioning of the cervix or uterus.  The vagina is designed in such a manner as to be considered a “potential” space, which means that there is no space unless something is inserted into it.  Otherwise, the walls are compressed together, so when semen is present it will be pushed back to where the cervix is found.  Regardless of whether there is a tilted cervix or an upright cervix, the sperm within the semen that is propelled to the cervix through ejaculation will find its way into the opening and begin its journey through the uterus in search of an egg to fertilize.  One important fact to note is that if the tipped uterus is the result of a condition such as endometriosis, fertility could be more challenging but it is due to the underlying issue of the endometriosis, not the tipped uterus or cervix.

Will the tilted cervix cause problems during childbirth?

The human body is a wondrous thing.  While a uterus may be tilted for years prior to conception, during pregnancy it has a tendency to straighten itself as the fetus within grows and stretches the organ to accommodate the infant.  The baby will continue to grow and develop as normally expected, with the cervix positioning itself to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal.  After childbirth, the uterus and the cervix will likely return to its original position. 

Will I have any symptoms of a tilted cervix or uterus?

Most women experience no problems or symptoms of the condition.  However, in a few cases, women may have pain either during sexual intercourse or during menstruation, minor incontinence, problems using tampons or frequent urinary tract infections.

Can a tilted cervix/uterus be fixed?

There is a surgical procedure that is able to reposition the tipped uterus to a forward facing position.  It is called a “uterine suspension”, and is able to provide relief for women who experience pain during sex and, in some cases, pain during menstruation.  For women who do not have any of the symptoms of the condition, however, no fix is needed since the condition does not pose any problems.  

Do any women have problems with a tilted cervix?

It is important to note that the position of the cervix itself is not a medical issue with symptoms.  However, there can be problems and symptoms that are due to an underlying condition that causes the tilted positioning, such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases or fibroids.  Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus is outside the uterus, while pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an inflammation of any of the female organs.  Fibroids are benign tumors typically found on the uterine walls.  All of these conditions can cause scar tissue to form, and scar tissue is a primary cause for a tipped uterus.

Learning that you have a tipped cervix / uterus is not a matter of great concern, especially once the implications of the condition are understood.  It is important to know the reason for the positioning to ensure that no underlying causes that requires medical attention.  Knowing the facts about the condition and its cause can be reassuring for the woman who is diagnosed.

 



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