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An irritable uterus during pregnancy

First of all, we need to understand what an irritable uterus is as there is no information present about it on the internet. During pregnancy, women experience regular but sharp contractions in their uterus. The condition in which these contractions do not produce any change in the cervix is known as an irritable uterus, also IU. These contractions are like the Braxton Hicks, but not exactly alike, but might be stronger and more frequent. They are sometimes considered normal, and at times not normal. Its abnormality or harm depends upon the symptoms and the severity of symptoms that you are experiencing. The contractions that occur during the irritable uterus might be annoying or fearing at times, but they are unlikely to harm your baby.

Cause of an irritable uterus

The specific cause of the irritable uterus is still unknown. As said earlier, there is not enough information present on the internet about it even. Also, different women have different reasons for developing an irritable uterus. But with the help of a few pieces of research work and from the experience of the irritable uterus by the women, we have managed to list a few possible causes of this condition. The following are considered to cause an irritable uterus during pregnancy in women:

  • Severe dehydration
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Untreated infections
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Strenuous exercise
  • A full bladder
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Harsh physical activity
  • Constipation
  • Orgasmic disorders

How can sex and masturbation trigger the contractions in the uterus?

The semen from the penis contains some chemicals that trigger the contraction in the uterus. Moreover, any kind of sexual activity, including masturbation and intercourse increases the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin induces contractions in the uterus, which can worsen the preexisting pain due to the irritable uterus.

Symptoms of an irritable uterus

Just like the causes of an irritable uterus, its symptoms may vary from woman to woman. Different women may feel different symptoms of this condition. Sometimes, the symptoms may be mild, and extremely intense at others. Here is a list of some symptoms of the irritable uterus that women may experience during pregnancy:

  • Pain in the stomach
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Frequent contractions in the uterus
  • Strong contractions in the uterus
  • High levels of stress
  • Dehydration
  • Tightness of belly

As said before, the condition of the irritable uterus may feel like Braxton Hicks contractions but these are not the same. Irritable uterus contractions occur far more often and are more painful than the Braxton hicks. Also, they tend to be more regular in terms of time intervals. It can cause the belly to become tight which prevents the women even from standing or walking. It makes the pain even worse and lasts for a couple of hours.

What happens if an irritable uterus prolongs and remains untreated?

The condition of irritable uterus is basically nothing to worry about as these go away on their own after some time. But if the condition prolongs and then remains unchecked, it may cause real uterine contractions which can cause early labor. Early labor means that the baby would be needed to deliver before time, which is also known as preterm labor or premature delivery. However, the chances of an early delivery are extremely rare, yet it is not impossible.

Prevention of uterine irritability

You can prevent the uterine contractions that you are experiencing by following a few techniques. Some of them are listed below:

  • Ensure that you are getting sufficient rest and sleep. Try to stay in bed most of the time and avoid movement.
  • Take the medications that your doctor may have prescribed you. Make sure that you do not miss them.
  • Do not take it on your nerves. No need to worry. It usually does not harm the woman or the baby, but exceptional cases are always there. Most of the time, it goes away on its own.

Diagnosis of IU

If you continue to experience the symptoms of the irritable uterus without any pause, keep in mind that these symptoms can worsen. You can further experience the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Even worse and frequent painful contractions
  • Leakage of amniotic fluid
  • Decreased movement of the fetus

If you tend to face any of the symptoms stated above, seek your doctor or health care provider’s assistance as soon as possible. Keep a track of your uterine contractions, when they occur, how often they occur, how long they last, and everything else related to it. Tell your doctor about it and he or she will see whatever should be done for you.

As said earlier, an irritable uterus does not often lead to labor, but your doctor will possibly perform specific tests and ultrasound to examine your cervix closely. The doctor may perform a fetal fibronectin test if he or she senses anything related to preterm labor. If it comes out to be negative, then you do not need to worry. But in case it results in a positive, get ready to be going into labor in the next two weeks. It is possible that you are recommended to be hospitalized for a few days. Following tests may be recommended to you other than the fetal fibronectin test by your healthcare provider:

  • Ultrasound to examine uterus and cervix
  • Test to examine vaginal secretions
  • Monitoring of the frequency, duration, and intensity of your uterine contractions


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