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Uterus
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Uterus

The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. One end called the cervix, opens into the vagina, and the wider end, called the body of uterus, is connected on both sides with the Fallopian tubes. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes in different organisms. In humans it is pear-shaped. Some organisms such as rabbits, pigs, goats, and horses have bipartite or "horned" uteri.

Table of contents
1 Anatomy
2 Function
3 Pathology
4 Terminology

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. The innermost permanent layer of tissue 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).

Pathology

Some pathological states include:

Terminology

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


Reproductive system
Female: Cervix - Clitoris - Fallopian tubes - Bartholin's glands - Hymen - Mammary glands - Ovaries - Skene's glands - Urethra - Uterus - Vagina
Male: Bulbourethral glands - Ejaculatory duct - Epididymis - Penis - Prostate - Seminal vesicles - testes - Urethra - Vas deferens