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The Case of the Wandering Womb

Updated: Oct 25, 2022


The wandering womb as found in the medical textbooks of ancient Greece referred to a displaced uterus that was able to float around the body.

A uterus on the loose was perceived to be the bane of women's lives and the cause of many medical pathologies. Described as a living thing within a living thing, it delighted in fragrant scents and fled from putrid smells, moving up to the thorax, left or right to the liver and spleen or prolapsed downward, erratic and closely resembling an animal.

Now imagine that for a moment……


Another theory to understand woman’s symptoms which oppose that of the wandering womb was hysterical suffixation, inflammation caused by the drawing down and suffocation of the uterus. These concepts further developed the idea of hysteria and a medical massage device later to become the vibrator check out this movie for a giggle) Gynaecology has come a long way since 2nd century BC and although the ancient physicians may not have got it completely right, you could say there is some truth.

The uterus doesn’t wander, but rather resides in a central place in the pelvis, leaning slightly over the bladder, about one and a half inches above the pubic bone. This allows maximum free flow and circulation of nutrient-rich blood, nerve, and lymph.

The womb is the creative bowl, the bearer of life, doubling in size at menstruation from 113g to 226g and can weigh as much as 850g in pregnancy. It is held in this position by muscles, the vaginal wall and ligaments that attach it to the back, front, and sides of the pelvis. Uterine ligaments are made to stretch to accommodate a growing foetus inside and to move freely when the bladder or bowel is full.​​

Due to modern life, injury, or accidents, ligaments and muscles can weaken and loosen, causing the uterus to fall downward, forward, backward or to either side. A uterus in any of these positions is called tilted or prolapsed. Not quite the wandering womb but displaced and often inflamed.


Uterus position, Arvigo massage