what is retrograde menstruation - causes and symptoms

Experiencing painful sex? You could have retrograde menstruation issues

If you’re experiencing severe pain during sex or period cramps aren’t going down – it could be an early symptom of Retrograde menstruation. 

Although sex and periods are two taboo subjects in India, still this phenomenon happens to most women when their period doesn’t flow from the vagina, instead, it goes upward through the fallopian tubes and pelvis. It’s quite normal but can lead to endometriosis.

This article will tell you everything there is to know about retrograde menstruation including definition, causes, symptoms, and possible treatments.  

Ready? Here we go! 

What is Retrograde Menstruation?

Retrograde menstruation occurs when blood from your period runs backward into your abdomen rather than out of the vagina. During a regular monthly cycle, your uterine lining (a combination of blood and tissue) travels downhill and out of your vagina. Retrograde menstruation occurs when blood travels up through the fallopian tubes and into the abdomen. Retrograde menstruation is frequent and seldom causes complications. 

Healthcare practitioners feel that persons who menstruate retrogradely may be more likely to acquire endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common disorder in which your uterine lining develops outside of your uterus. Retrograde menstruation may cause cells from your endometrium (uterine lining) to develop on your abdominal or pelvic organs.

What Causes Retrograde Menstruation?

Retrograde menstruation occurs as the phenomenon of blood running via the Fallopian tubes and into the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal wall), rather than through the cervix and out the vagina.

Most study on retrograde menstruation focuses on endometriosis. There is relatively little study on causes of retrograde menstruation.

Basic research suggests that having a narrower cervical aperture increases the chance of retrograde blood flow.
However, because research indicates that retrograde menstruation is relatively prevalent among women with uteruses, it should generally be considered a typical feature of menstrual activity.

Can it cause endometriosis? 

Yes, multiple studies have found a link between retrograde menstruation and endometriosis. Retrograde menstruation may cause endometrial cells (cells in your uterine lining) to travel through your fallopian tubes and into your pelvis. 

If your body does not eliminate the cells, they might accumulate on the pelvic organs, resulting in endometriosis.

5 symptoms of Retrograde Menstruation

Some of the basic Retrograde Menstruation symptoms are mentioned below: 

1. Pain in the Pelvis 

Immense pelvic discomfort, particularly during periods, is a typical sign of retrograde menstruation.

2. Period pain
Every woman has periods of pain each month, but severe menstrual cramps that are more extreme than usual might indicate retrograde menstruation.

3. Pain during sex
Vaginal dryness can have an impact on your sexual life, however, there are occasions when the discomfort and suffering you experience during sexual intercourse are unrelated to a dry vagina. It might be a sign of retrograde menstruation.

4. Difficulty during bowel motions or urination 

While you’re urinating, an unnatural pain can be experienced due to Endometrial implants on the bowels or bladder. 

5. Fertility issues 

Sometimes retrograde menstruation and endometriosis can cause infertility. 

Note: Above mentioned symptoms are variable depending on each individual. It’s important to consult with your gynecologist for personalized advice. 

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How to diagnose Retrograde Menstruation?

Retrograde menstruation may be diagnosed by your healthcare practitioner via a pelvic organ examination, such as laparoscopy. This technique lets your provider view your abdomen, where they may find blood. Retrograde menstruation is typically diagnosed while another issue is being evaluated. 

As an example, you may visit your doctor with endometriosis symptoms or pelvic discomfort, and they detect blood in your abdomen or pelvis.

How to stop Retrograde Menstruation? 

Retrograde menstruation does not require treatment unless it is associated with other symptoms or problems. Some healthcare practitioners prescribe hormones to lessen menstrual bleeding. This can minimize the amount of blood that flows rearward into your abdomen.

One option for stopping retrograde menstruation is a hysterectomy (uterine removal surgery), although this procedure is often only performed if medically required.

3 tips to reduce risks of retrograde menstruation 

These actions may improve your general health, but the particular avoidance of retrograde menstruation and endometriosis is not always under your control, as hereditary factors may also play a role. If genes have nothing to do with the illness, these pointers can help.

1. Regular exercise
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise can assist to balance hormone levels and improve overall well-being.

2. Balanced diet
The expert recommends eating a balanced diet and avoiding fatty foods to promote hormonal balance and general wellness.

3. Prevent undue stress
Chronic stress can disrupt hormonal balance, so try these stress management practices that may be useful to you.

retrograde menstrual flow

5 Home Remedies to Prevent Retrograde Menstruation 

1. Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity increases the likelihood of hormonal imbalances and retrograde menstruation. As a result, eating well and exercising can help you maintain a healthy weight.

2. Changes in your diet: Lowering caffeine and alcohol use while increasing intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help avoid hormonal imbalances that contribute to retrograde menstruation.

3. Stress management: Stress might disturb hormone balance, engaging in stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness might be beneficial.

4. Avoiding high drug usage: Certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and hormone supplements, might disrupt regular menstruation function. Before making any drug adjustments, consult with a healthcare practitioner

5. Take measures on toxic chemicals: A few chemicals and pollutants in the environment can alter hormonal equilibrium. Try to limit your exposure to these drugs as much as possible.

6. Use heat therapy: Using heating pads or warm baths can relieve your pelvic pain.

Note: If you’re having severe symptoms of retrograde periods, it’s better to see a gynecologist rather than relying on home remedies. 


Retrograde menstruation is a normal phenomenon in which menstrual blood travels backward via the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity rather than leaving the body via the cervix and vagina. While this is common in many women, it can occasionally cause health problems such as pelvic discomfort, dysmenorrhea, and infertility. 

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of retrograde menstruation is essential for good menstrual health. Lifestyle adjustments, stress management, and avoiding specific drugs or toxins may help lessen the chance or severity of retrograde menstruation, but it is best to contact a healthcare expert for personalized guidance and treatment options.


Q.1: Can we prevent retrograde menstruation?

Ans: No, this is a natural process and unfortunately can’t be entirely prevented. However, you can check out our lists above to reduce the risks to a minimum. 

Q.2: Is retrograde menstruation a common condition?

Ans: Yes, it is a common condition. It doesn’t cause problems until it reaches a severe point. 

Q.3: Is retrograde menstruation the same as a retroverted uterus?

Ans: No, It’s the same. A retroverted uterus is a typical condition in which your uterus rests in your pelvis. A retroverted, or tilted, uterus is one in which your uterus is inclined backward towards your spine.

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