What is the uterus?
The Uterus is a word that is mentioned every now and then, but how much do we actually know about it? The uterus, also known as the womb, is the major female reproductive sex organ. It is placed between the bladder and the rectum. One end of the uterus opens into the vagina and is known as the cervix. The other end is connected to the fallopian tubes, which are two very fine tubes that lead from the uterus to the ovaries.
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The pelvic diaphragm, urogenital diaphragm and the perineal body primarily support the uterus. The ligaments and peritoneum also support it.
The main purpose of the uterus is to nourish the developing fetus in the months leading up to birth. Each month, females release an egg, which travels down the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. If the egg is not then fertilized, the egg, along with the lining of the uterus, will be flushed out in the form of blood, which is known as the ‘period.’ If a man’s sperm meets the egg it’s way from the ovaries to the uterus, the egg will be fertilized. Once the egg is fertilized it will come to rest in the uterus. The lining of the uterus, the endometrium, will have prepared itself to receive the embryo and will then house the fetus for the next nine months.
Some women will encounter problems that affect their uterus including cancerous growths and non-cancerous growths called fibroids, which can cause pain and bleeding. Heavy bleeding during and between period, hormonal imbalance, prolapsed uterus, unexplained pelvic pain and endometriosis, a condition where the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body causing pain.
There are four main layers of the uterus.
• The endometrium is the innermost lining of the uterine cavity. Damage to the endometrium can result in adhesions or fibrosis. The endometrium is the lining that is shed during menstruation if no pregnancy has occurred.
• Beyond the endometrium is a smooth muscle known as the myometrium. This is the largest layer of the uterus. The innermost point of the myometrium is called the junctional zone.
• The loose tissue that surrounds the uterus is called the parametrium. The parametrium is where the uterine artery and the ovarian ligament are situated.
• Perimetrium, or peritoneum is the serous membrane that covers the outer most layer of the uterus. This layer supports the abdominal organs and serves as a channel for their lymph and blood nerves and vessels
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