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Uterus

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(Redirected from Womb)
Female internal reproductive anatomy
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Female internal reproductive anatomy

The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina; the other is connected on both sides to the fallopian tubes. In mammals, the four main forms in which it is found are: bipartite, as in cows; bicornuate, as in pigs; simplex, as with the pear-shaped one found in humans and horses; and duplex, found in rabbits.

Contents

Anatomy

The uterus is located in the pelvis immediately dorsal (and usually somewhat rostral) to the urinary bladder and ventral to the rectum. It is held in place by several ligaments. Outside of pregnancy, its size is several centimeters in diameter.

The uterus mostly consists of muscle, known as myometrium. The innermost layer of myometrium is known as the junctional zone, which becomes thickened in adenomyosis. The lining of the uterine cavity is called the endometrium. In most mammals, including humans, the endometrium builds a lining periodically which, if no pregnancy occurs, is shed or reabsorbed. Shedding of the endometrial lining in humans is responsible for menstrual bleeding (known colloquially as a woman's "period") throughout the fertile years of a female. In other mammals there may be cycles set as widely apart as six months or as frequently as a few days.

Function

The main function of the uterus is to accept a fertilized ovum which becomes implanted into the endometrium, and derives nourishment from blood vessels which develop exclusively for this purpose. The fertilized ovum becomes an embryo, develops into a fetus and gestates until childbirth. Due to anatomical barriers such as the pelvis, the uterus is pushed partially into the abdomen due to its expansion during pregnancy. Even in pregnancy the mass of a human uterus amounts to only about a kilogram (2.2 pounds).

Terminology

The term uterus is commonly used within the medical and related professions, whilst the term womb is in more common usage.


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Reproductive system
Female: Cervix - Clitoris - Clitoral hood - Fallopian tubes - Bartholin's glands - G-spot - Hymen - Mammary glands - Ovaries - Skene's glands - Urethra - Uterus - Vagina - Vulva
Male: Bulbourethral glands - Cowper's glands - Ejaculatory duct - Epididymis - Foreskin - Frenulum - Penis - Prostate - Scrotum - Seminal vesicles - Spermatic cord - Testes - Urethra - Vas deferens
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