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The uterus is a female reproductive organ and is responsible for different reproductive functions such as implantation, menses, gestation, labor and delivery. It is located in the pelvic area between the bladder and the rectum. It is also receptive to hormonal changes within the female body thus allowing adaption to different stages of reproductive cycle.
The uterus is also referred as 'womb' and it is the place where every individual develops initially. Being one of the major parts of the female reproductive system, it is located within pelvic cavity. It adjusts itself and reflects changes during menstrual cycle. It also grows rapidly with specialized contractile activity at the time of pregnancy and at birth.
It has three layers i.e. the inner lining- endometrium, the middle muscular layer- myometrium and the outer layer- perimetrium. It is a hollow organ and is connected to the fallopian tubes, the cervix and then through to cervix and finally tovagina.
Uterus Macroscopic Anatomy
When talking about important female reproductive organ, it is 8 cm long hollow organ and lies between the rectum and the bladder in the female pelvis. Being surrounded by connective tissue, perimetrium, the uterus is almost covered with peritoneum (apart from the cervix's ventral part) and forms two recesses -
1- Ventrally, the vesicouterine pouch
2- Dorsally, the rectouterine pouch
The uterus is divided into three sections which are:
1- Cervix - It is considered as neck and lies subperitoneally. It consists of a portion which is projecting in to the vagina plus a part of it is fixed in the perimetrium (supravaginal portion). There are two cervical canals which has two openings. One is internal orifice to the isthmus and the other is external orifice to the vagina.
2- Isthmus - The narrow passage connecting the cervix and corpus is isthmus, which is about 1 cm long.
3- Intraperitoneally - The body or corpus, which has a triangle lumen through the connection with isthmus as well as both fallopian tubes, lies intraperitoneally.
In many women, the corpus is bent forward a bit at the isthmus against cervix while the uterus long axis is inclined towards the vagina. But the shape and size of the organ may vary due to age, hormonal status and the number of pregnancies. The organ is supplied by uterine artery and the uterine branches of ovarian artery. The venous blood drains into the internal iliac vein via uterine venous plexus. These nerves come from the inferior hypogastric plexus. Through lateral ligaments, all the nerves and vessels run.
Uterus Microscopic Anatomy
Below is the description of three layers of uterus:
1- Mucosa or endometrium i.e. uterine mucous membrane is the inside uterus layer. This is the layer, which develops within the month's course as it sheds each month if there are no signs of pregnancy. This uterus lining shedding is actually menstrual period.
2- Myometrium is the uterus's middle layer which is made up of three smooth muscle layers. These layers are hard to separate. These are subvascular layer, the vascular layer and the supravascular layer.
3- Perimetrium is the outermost layer of the connective tissue which lines outside the organ.
The endometrium layer supplies the nutrients to the fertilized eggs and also supports the placenta when pregnancy occurs. The uterus muscular feature allows it to increase for accommodating the growing fetus. Muscular contractions in the uterus help in pushing the baby out of body during childbirth.
Once the baby is born the uterus contracts and get back to its normal size and assist in stopping the bleeding which took place during delivery.
Functions of Uterus
For human reproduction, uterus plays an important role.
1-It is the organ responsible for carrying the baby and nourishment of fertilized ovum. This fertilized ovum develops into an embryo, which further develops into fetus and holds it till the baby is mature enough for the birth.
2- The organ provides structural integrity as well as support to the bladder, pelvic bones, bowel and organs also. It separates the bowels and the bladder.
3- The network of nerves and the blood vessels of the uterus direct the flow of blood to the pelvis and external genitalia. It includes the ovaries, vagina, labia and the clitoris for sexual response.
4- This organ is also needed for the uterine orgasm to take place.
Hope this article gave you all the information regarding uterus and its layers. Please follow Elawoman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.
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