A lot of my clients and friends have been told by medical practitioners they have a ‘tilted’ or ‘flexed’ uterus, me included. In fact, 80 – 90% of women have some sort of misalignment of the uterus.
If you experience any of the following before or during your period, chances are you have some degree of uterus misalignment:
- Brown blood at the beginning, or end of your cycle
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Frequent need to pee
- Lower back pain
- Painful leg(s)
- A dragging or heavy sensation in your lower abdomen
- Painful intercourse (dyspareuinia)
Before explaining how fertility massage can help realignment and address these symptoms, it’s helpful to understand the basic anatomy of the uterus.
Anatomy of the uterus
A woman’s uterus is a pear-shaped organ about the size of her fist, weighing about 60 grams when not menstruating. Its held in place by a number of ligaments, around the front, back and sides. The optimal position of a uterus is in the middle of the pelvic cavity, sitting at a slight forward angle. When the ligaments are soft and relaxed, this allows the uterus to adjust to movement, and the pressure of a full bladder or rectum, and then return to its centred state once bladder and bowels are emptied.
However, like every other ligament in the body, these can become tight causing tension and weakness, and over time this can pull the uterus to one side or the other.
Imagine kids holding one of those giant parachutes: If all the kids are distributed evenly around the perimeter, they’re able to keep a beach ball (our metaphorical uterus) fairly centred in the middle of the parachute. If one child lets go, the ball will roll to the side. With the uterus ligaments, if one side is tighter or weaker than the other, it pulls our uterus to that side.
The most common misaligned positions are:
Anteverted or anteflexed – uterus tilting towards the pubic bone (forward)
Retroverted or retroflexed – uterus is tilting backwards towards the sacrum and rectum
What causes misalignment?
A number of factors affect uterus alignment: poor posture and weak core muscles, back injuries, close births, endometriosis, being overweight, heavy lifting and excessive exercise.
Common effects of a tilted uterus
Why does it matter if your uterus is tilted? Well, if you think about a drinking straw with a kink in it, liquid is unable to get through – similarly, if the uterus is hunched forward or backwards, it has to work harder to get rid of menstrual lining so contracts to produce period cramps and brown blood (old blood). If your uterus is correctly aligned, it is able to cleanse itself easily, and will produce a pain-free and bright red bleed from start to finish.
Constipation, sensation of needing to pee, lower back pain and/ or leg pain/numbness before and during your bleed is often caused by the weight of a full uterus lying on our bladder, rectum or nerves. This is because there is no slack in the ligaments for the uterus to move freely, out of the way of these obstacles.
Equally, if there’s a blockage or bend present, it makes it harder for sperm to travel upstream to the womb. While this doesn’t always make it harder to get pregnant, realigning the uterus can only help your uterus to move freely, and allow fluids leave and enter the cervix and uterus more easily.
How can fertility massage help?
Fertility massage helps realign the uterus by loosening and soften the ligaments and abdominal layers that hold the uterus in place.
We work gently over the lower abdomen to release tension and tight ligaments around the womb. We also work on the glutes (top of the buttocks) and sacral regions of the lower back to encourage a retroverted uterus to move forward, away from the rectum and into its optimal position.
Massage also helps to breakdown scar tissue that can restrict ligaments and tissue, and increases circulation of fresh blood and lymph to the abdominal and reproductive organs.
Improvements in symptoms caused by misalignment are usually seen after one to four sessions, depending on how long the uterus has been flexed or tilted. Even with a stubborn womb that doesn’t want to shift, we’ll still see an improvement in symptoms by increasing fresh blood and lymph flow to the area.
A case study
A recent client of mine had misalignment caused by endometriosis. Scar tissue had caused her utero-sacral ligament ‘harden’ and constrict, pulling her uterus backwards and to the right, and the endometrial cells then started to adhere to her rectum. She suffered unbelievably painful bowel movements, constipation, and pain in her right side before and during her periods due to the pressure of her uterus on rectum and nerves at the top of her leg.
After one session, her bowel movements were relatively pain-free. After three sessions, her bowel movements were entirely pain-free, she was back to having regular bowel movements, and her womb had moved into a more upright position.
Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing a series of articles about fertility massage and how it helps common women’s health issues, including uterus alignment, endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), menopause, heavy / painful periods, digestive complaints, and, wait for it… orgasms!
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