Can Having a Tipped Uterus Impact IBS?
In my late teens, when I first began visiting a gynecologist; receiving pelvic exams and pap smears, I was informed of an interesting little tidbit about my body: I have a "tipped uterus."
A tipped or tilted uterus, also known more formally as a retroverted uterus, means that the uterus in question is curved backward and leans more against the lower back (and so, on the colon) as opposed to forward-leaning on/against the front of the body or belly area. Other conditions are often associated with a tilted uterus, including endometriosis and fibroids — both of which I have.
The pressure of a tipped uterus
However, as one might imagine, having a tipped uterus may also have some implications for intestinal function caused by the extra weight or pressure of the womb on the colon. For instance, I had to have an endometrial biopsy earlier this year, which is when an instrument is placed into the cervix to scrape the uterus for some cells to ensure it is healthy. In addition to the general pain I experienced during the procedure, I felt a strong urge to move my bowels that went away shortly after the instrument was removed. When I mentioned this to my OB-GYN, she confirmed that because of my tipped uterus, anything that applies a great deal of pressure on it will also aggravate my bowels, since the uterus is leaning right against them.
Connections between a tipped uterus and IBS
So far, there has been no solid research to more formally establish a connection between a tipped uterus and IBS or at least certain intestinal issues like constipation. But anecdotal evidence does suggest that at the very least, a tipped uterus does play some role in contributing to constipation or other issues with GI function.
It seems to me it can be a compounding factor with other elements. As mentioned, those with a tipped uterus also tend to be more likely to have endometriosis and fibroids — and those two conditions are more strongly connected in scientific research to IBS. So, having a tipped uterus could more inadvertently influence IBS if it plays a role in the development of these other conditions. Currently, I am planning on having a hysterectomy at the end of this year due to complications of adenomyosis (which is endo that is inside the muscle of the uterus) and fibroids. I am curious as to whether I will also gain some additional relief from my IBS once the weight of my womb is off my colon.
Do you have a tipped uterus and IBS? Do you think there is a connection? Please answer in the comments below!
Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?