A uterus is shown with a pelvis in the background. The uterus is severely leaning to the right.

Why A Displaced Uterus Might Be Causing Me Pain

I approach finding a new OB-GYN with both hope and dread. I yearn for answers about my endometriosis pain, but I fear they won't tell me anything new. To my surprise, my latest doctor informed me of something I'd never heard: my uterus is shifted quite a bit to the left.

A history of right-side pain

When I was 16, I went to the hospital for what I assumed was a rupturing appendix. Upon closer examination, the doctor determined it probably wasn't an appendix emergency — I didn't have a fever and I wasn't vomiting or having diarrhea. They asked about my period. When I said my last one was about two weeks prior, they suggested it might be ovulation pain. A pleasant nurse gave me a shot of something to dull the pain and sent me home, urging a trip to the gynecologist if my menstrual pain continued.

It not only continued, it got worse. It took another eight years, but I was surgically-diagnosed with endometriosis at 24. My cramps were (and still are) always terrible — especially at ovulation — but I also couldn't have penetrative sex because it felt like I was getting stabbed on the right side. The surgeon later removed a mass of scar tissue that was completely covering my appendix. I had another surgery six years later. However, the pain on the right side persisted even after the endometriosis was removed and future ultrasounds revealed normal ovaries. It turns out, it might be because my uterus is out of place.

Why I might have a shifted uterus 

I'd heard of a tilted uterus, when it's too far back or forward. But there's not much research about what happens if a uterus shifts to one side. But if it is out of position, people can experience pain with menstruation and sex. Urinary, back, bowel, and hip problems are other symptoms. Personally, I have regular hip and lower back pain. When I got fitted for ski boots, the technician even told me I shift my hips to the left .

I have always had pain concentrated on my right side, but both of my surgeries revealed that most of my endometriosis was actually concentrated on the left. It's possible that a cyst ruptured in high school, creating a mass of scar tissue that contributed to my shifting uterus. But my new physician told me it's also likely that my endo scarring "tethered" my uterus to the left side; that would cause muscle pain on the right side because it's constantly being pulled.

Can it be fixed?

Instead of heading back to surgery, my doctor and I agreed I would see a pelvic floor specialist. Physical therapy could help manipulate the muscles in the pelvis to reposition my uterus back to its proper place. I don't know if this new treatment will relieve my pain (but I'll definitely write about my experience either way). But even if I don't find what I'm looking for, I am excited for the opportunity to try.

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