Elizabeth Carr-Ellis 50Sense Retroverted Uterus

Retroverted uterus: Or how a wonky womb put the kibosh on my Mirena coil

After almost 18 months of waiting, I finally had my coil fitting. There I was, legs in stirrups, a stranger sticking her fingers in my vagina, only to hear a sharp intake of breath – the sound the plumber gives before handing you a big bill – and the words: “You have a retroverted uterus.”

Well, obviously, my response was: “Oooooooooookay… A retroverted uterus, eh? Well, well, well. Fancy that.”


“So what’s a retroverted uterus?”

How did I get here?

It was January 2020 that I first found a GP who sat and listened. Truly listened. And not only that, he understood as I explained all the problems I had with progesterone sensitivity. We came away with a plan for oestrogen gel and a Mirena coil and I was ecstatic.

Then Covid hit and everything went backwards, exacerbating all the troubles HRT shortages were having, too.

And then the HRT I did get made me bleed. Bleed a lot.

I was ready to give up HRT completely. I’ve been trying various forms for the last three years – God, that’s a scary thought – and while I thought I’d found an answer with oestrogen gel and Utrogestan, those dark days were starting to slip back in every month.

But I’d got the second Holy Grail: a phone appointment with a menopause specialist, who advised substituting the Utrogestan with a coil and a date was set to get it fitted.

What is a Mirena coil?

A Mirena coil is an intrauterine device (AKA IUD, which I always confuse with military jargon, so you can see why it’s usually called a coil. I mean, who thought to give a name that sounds like a landmine to a device that goes up your vagina? We have enough explosions in our bodies with hot flushes.)

Anyway, in 50Sense English, an IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic or copper gadget that’s put into your womb (AKA uterus – why can’t we have one word?) usually as a form of contraception. Around 0.2% of women using a Mirena coil will fall pregnant, so they’re pretty good.

An IUD – commonly known as a coil

It’s inserted past your cervix, which is the small passage that connects your womb and your vagina, and into your womb, where it usually sits happily for several years. The procedure takes a few minutes.

As well as being efficient contraceptives, when it comes to menopause, the Mirena coil can overcome the problems of progesterone sensitivity by giving you progesterone exactly where it’s needed. In tablet form, it has to be processed by parts of the body that usually have little to do with progesterone.

Mirena coil insertion problems

It’s typical, isn’t it? For years I’d never heard anything about the Mirena coil or IUDs beyond an occasional friend saying they used one. Suddenly, it was everywhere – and it wasn’t good.

It started with TV presenter Naga Munchetty, who said her coil fitting was “one of the most traumatic physical experiences” she’d had.

While Naga was speaking to make women aware of the need to speak out for pain relief if their IUD fitting hurt, social media wasn’t so mindful. I know, what a surprise… My Twitter feed was filled with horror stories, the most memorable being the woman who “was ripped to pieces”.

I was petrified.

You see, like me, Naga hasn’t had children and I’d already been warned the fitting could be “uncomfortable” because of this. In addition, I’d also been told, during a smear test in Madrid, that my cervix was wonky, which is why smears were often painful. (She had then thrown her hands up in dispair, proclaiming my imperfect body was making her job harder.)

What happened at my fitting?

Honest to God, I was shaking as I went to the hospital. Covid rules meant I had to go alone and as Mr 50S works in the local hospital, he wasn’t at home that morning to help calm me down.

I’d taken some paracetamol beforehand, but the tweets kept replaying in my mind and I know I was shaking as I was led into the room to meet my torturers…

Okay, to meet the lovely two nurses and the equally lovely gynaecologist, who thoroughly explained the procedure, told me they would use a local anaesthetic to numb my cervix and if I felt any discomfort at all, to say.

There was a bit of pain as the anaesthetic was inserted but then – nothing and one of the nurses was by my side chatting to me to take my mind off things. Compared to some smears I’ve had (and let’s not go into the polyp removal in Madrid), it was fine.

Until the gynae said she had to stop.

What is a retroverted uterus?

Your uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ which has one function: to grow a baby. Diagrams show it sitting straight up but for the majority of women, it tips forward, with the top tilted towards the stomach.

How the womb usually sits in the body

However, for one in four women, it tips backwards so instead of the top being by your belly, it’s by the rectum – the last part of the large intestine leading to your bum.

It can also be called a tipped uterus, retroflexed uterus and uterine retrodisplacement – or, as I have christened it, a wonky womb.

Symptoms of a retroverted uterus

A wonky womb isn’t thought to cause any problems, but other conditions, such as endometriosis, can have an impact.

However, women can suffer:

  • painful sex, especially when the woman is on top (yup), and
  • period pain (yup again).

But a retroverted uterus shouldn’t interfere with your fertility so if you’re trying for a baby, go for it – just be careful when you’re on top!

A retroverted uterus and the Mirena coil

Having a wonky womb doesn’t mean you’re unable to have a coil fitted, but my gynaecologist stopped because she said it would be too painful. Instead, I’d have to have it fitted under general anaesthetic.

I have to admit, this made me think twice. Did I really want to go through that? As I said, after three years, I’m exhausted.

But I chatted all this through with the gynae and explained how I felt on the progesterone and she agreed with the menopause specialist.

“You can’t go on feeling so bad each month.”

So a retroverted uterus means I’m on a new waiting list. I can still change my mind about having it fitted this way, but last week was another bad week so I’m still deciding.

What would you do? I’d love your advice in the comments…

28 thoughts on “Retroverted uterus: Or how a wonky womb put the kibosh on my Mirena coil”

  1. I’d go for it! I’ve suffered with extremely heavy periods for years, even ending up in A&E on one occasion. I had a coil fitted about 2 months ago and it’s been life changing – significantly reduced bleeding (almost nothing), and no noticeable side effects. I still need to consider HRT for other symptoms of menopause but it’s a (giant) step in the right direction. Good luck!

  2. Go for it! I had to have a coil removed and an ablation done under anaesthetic but it wasn’t so bad and if it solves the progesterone problem and means you can keep your HRT it’s worth it. I maybe going back to a coil but that’s another story. I’m sure it’ll work out for you in the end 🤗

  3. I’ve had several Mirena coils fitted over the years, pre and post baby, by my local GP. I also have an extroverted uterus. Each fitting was uncomfortable but I didn’t use any pain relief. It’s not that painful compared to labour, etc. If well fitted, you shouldn’t feel the coil at all and no pain soon after the fitting. The copper one tends the increase bleeding but the other one is great: zero or almost no bleeding after a few months. There’s also a mini coil option nowadays which may be more suitable for women who have not had children. Good luck!

  4. I’ve had issues with all forms of progesterone, I feel like I’ve tried them all. I’m very sensitive to progesterone. I did have a mirena coil fitted last year. By late afternoon I started having severe panic attacks. By next day I was phoning anyone I could think of, my GP (didn’t phone back), the GUM clinic (couldn’t see me), I phoned the gynae unit that inserted it, by this time I was sobbing. I was about to take it out myself. They said they’d get back to me. I’d just started to run a bath and find a long noses pair of pliers when they phoned back. I’m honestly not saying this to frighten you, just to be aware that panic can set in afterwards. Of course, you can have it removed so it is always worth trying. I’m now on a list for a hysterectomy due to unopposed oestrogen treatment and endometrial hyperplasia. I’m starting to question if HRT is worth it. I started off feeling fine on just the oestrogen patch (no progesterone) but recently I’ve been hit with severe depression. I’m questioning if it’s the oestrogen or the antidepressants that’s causing the depression. Sorry for sounding so negative. I’ve been searching online for answers and to check if HRT is the be all and end all that everyone (incl me in the beginning) makes it out to be x

  5. I have never regretted the choice to have mine. Actually my only regret is that i didnt get mine sooner! I had to have my smear & coil fitting under General Anaesthetic due to my wonky body, rheumatoid arthritis & fibromyalgia which give me high levels of pain. It is worth it, i just hope they will replace mine under GA 🤞 Good luck!

  6. Hi, I just had Mirena fitted 10days ago, and I have a retroverted uterus too. GP said it was no issue. Was given painkillers to take hour before procedure. Fleeting pain when the tenaculum was placed, and some cramping and light bleeding for first 2 days. Since then…nothing at all. I had heard the horror stories too, but the reality for me was ok.

    1. Same, I didn’t need a GA and I have a retroverted uterus. I didn’t get any pain relief at all. If you go just before or during your period there’s virtually no pain 🙂

  7. I had to be put under atheistic for a coil as the doctor couldn’t get it fitted otherwise!I’ve never looked back my heavy painful periods stopped in fact no periods at all!bliss and definitely no regrets! Best of luck

  8. I have a retroverted uterus… and a Mirena coil. The first fitting didn’t go well as the GP didn’t have a long enough speculum (apparently my cervix is very far back too) so said she couldn’t fit the coil. I lost confidence in her after that so saw a different GP who inserted the coil with local anaesthetic and zero fuss, it wasn’t painful at all. I would get a second opinion as I know my uterus is very ‘wonky’ too yet the fitting wasn’t a problem.

  9. I have a retroverted uterus and had a bad experience when I first tried to get an IUD inserted, as the doctor was unable to realize that I had a tilted/retroverted uterus. I ended up being referred to a women’s health surgery unit and I was able to have an IUD inserted under local anesthesia. While I am happy to have it, I have experienced pretty moderate to severe cramping nearly everyday since it was inserted back on Nov-30-2021 (it’s Dec-27-2021 now). It’s pretty sporadic – some days I feel fine, others I feel stabbing pain, cramps, as well as back and thigh pain. I got an ultrasound and the results came back normal so I don’t know if my symptoms are a consequence of (i) having a retroverted uterus or (ii) having a uterus that is very persistent in trying to expel my IUD. Hoping it subsides soon and that my story was able to help you!

    1. It’s worth noting that when I woke up I was in a considerable amount of pain (rated as an 8/10) and started to get really dizzy/nauseous and my blood pressure dropped quite a bit (common when I have bad period cramps), even though the surgeon informed me that everything went fine. Luckily I was given IV and oral medication to help mitigate the pain.

      Also, re: my first attempt, the doctor actually suggested we stop as I was clearly in too much pain – so I would def recommend you opt for (i) local anesthesia or (ii) a cervical block, as I nearly fainted/threw up and had sporadic cramping/contraction-like pain for the rest of the day after trying to get an IUD inserted without any anesthesia.

      1. Hi Lauren. Thanks for your posts. I had a local anaesthetic in the end and so far, so good. I have been advised to take anti-histamines to help with the pain I felt (it’s like I can feel the coil). Might be worth trying? x

  10. Wonky womb – yes
    Babies – none
    IUD – two
    Painful – on the day, like severe period pains, thereafter nothing.

    Life changing. Installed to help mood swings! Only prob I might have is some ‘positions’ might hurt,

    Do it? Definitely

  11. Hi, I also have a wonky womb and had my initial attempt abandoned when the clinic said I’d need a gynaecologist to fit it due to my womb shape. I then had to have the next insertion attempt halted as I nearly passed out with the pain. Gynaecologist was really lovely. She offered me another appointment and said it should be less painful now that she has straightened out my folded womb. I’d need to wait a lot longer to have one under GA so need to decide if I can pluck up the courage to try again. I don’t mind admitting it was not what I had expected and I got very upset as I lay in the waiting area recovering, having not been successful in having it fitted!

    I’m reading that you went ahead. Congrats ! How are you doing now that you’ve had it fitted?

  12. I had the same thing my uterus turned backwards. I had to book double appointments for my smear tests as they could never find my cervix. I had a mirena coil fitted and it was no more uncomfortable than a smear.
    Since then I’ve gone in to have a full hysterectomy as I had endometriosis and the coil didn’t stop the pain I was in. B

  13. I had my Mirena fitted under a general after my practice nurse put me on the too painful to insert list. I had 10 years of bliss however when I hit the Menopause and suffered with symptoms it was removed not replaced and put on Evorel.
    After spotting and pain I was left cold turkey, very bad move when I finally decided to go back to GP my mental health was horrific and anxiety was controlling my life GP said let’s try Evorel again.
    Four months was brilliant I again felt like a woman, in control and loving life but the spotting is back and getting heavier, the pain is a problem.
    After reading the comments I’m going back to the GP for a sensible conversation.
    I now no longer feel totally alone and empowered to discuss my wonky womb and the fact that I can’t do cold turkey !

  14. Ok so I don’t know if you had this done but I had mine today (UK) and yes I was on my period too. So since turning 40 I’ve had endless issues with my period and I’m now 44 with only having ten days of relief between heavy periods so decided this was my only option. I myself have a backwards tilted womb. The procedure wasn’t to bad felt like a pinch and some cramping for all of 5 seconds and I’m cramping and my hip hurts a little but nothing that needs pain relief. I’m just praying it doesn’t fall out.

  15. I have a wonky womb too and have had the mirena coil in place for around 18 months. I had quite a lot of cramping initially, which is something I never usually suffer with periods. My problem now is constant bleeding. Since having it fitted I think I have had only 2months where I have had a normal cycle and now it is just bleeding every day..so frustrating as this, with oestrogen gel is the only thing that suits me for mood swings and anxiety.

  16. I am also the 1 in 4 with a introverted uterus.
    I put off having a marina for years it was always recommended especially as I Don’t get on with progesterone but when they did a scan it showed my uterus thickening my other options had run out. they were going to fit it locally but she said she couldn’t do it because of my uterus. I had it put in under general anesthetic over 3 weeks ago and it was totally pain free and no pain or cramps afterwards I had various pain meds at the ready but didn’t need them. The first week I felt all over the place emotionally and really did wonder what I’d done!
    But now im so glad I got it! moodwise I’m feeling so so settled and steady I’m using a 25mg patch of estrogen and iv been told I can increase if needed ….I’m actually looking forward to doing things and I have my energy back the fatigue I used to get was crippling….If they want this coil back they will have to wrestle me to the floor and wedge my knees apart.😁

  17. I’ve had 3 mirenas fitted over the years.
    My first two under a GA as my innards are a gynaecologist’s nightmare.
    My 2nd expired in 2020 and my GP made a referral back to my gynae to have it removed and a new one fitted. October 2021 the referral was made. I received my letter, rang the clinic and was told a consultant would consider the referral and I’d receive an appointment in the post.
    I heard nothing til June 2022. The letter said the Mirena fitting could be done by my GP and they cancelled the referral.
    At this point I was taking oestrogen only HRT as I’m progestegon intolerant. I was gutted but made an appointment for beginning of Oct 2022 for it to be done.
    My GP removed the old Mirena but then struggled for an hour to insert a new one. Blood everywhere. My cervix took on the features of a tortoise and sucked itself in. My GP had to give in.
    A new referral was sent to the hospital. I got the “call this number” letter and got the same response as last time.
    BUT last Friday I received a call – there’s a cancellation on Monday (today) for a hysteroscopy can I make it? I agreed.
    I took paracetamol, ibuprofen and diazepam before going.
    The nurses and gynae were lovely. The procedure was hell.
    My cervix and uterus are both inverted and the gynae struggled. I was crying in agony. She finally got it in but by that stage I’d almost fainted with the pain and was crying.
    The gynae explained that there was a clear reason why my usual gynae would fit my Mirena under a GA but covid backlogs meant it wasn’t possible.
    I’d had 2 classic sections before, my uterus was stuck to my bowel and bladder and I’m a gynaecological mess.
    I’ll never have it done without GA again. I’d rather book in a full hysterectomy than go through that again. I hope yours eventually went well x

  18. I have a retroverted uterus and tried to get fitted for a copper IUD today…as it is, any insertion is usually quite traumatic for me, so today wasn’t any more comfortable. Apparently, my cervix is shut so they have to dilate it, in order to get to the uterus. I re-scheduled to do this in Sep but am re-thinking if I should do this under GA instead…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top