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uterus





uterus.gif
uterus
Images credit: U.S. National Institutes of Health
Also known as the womb, a hollow muscular organ located near the pelvis of female mammals. The uterus protects and nourishes the growing fetus until birth.

The upper part of the uterus is broad and branches out on each side into the Fallopian tubes. The lower part of the uterus narrows into the cervix, which leads to the vagina.

The wall of the uterus has two layers of tissue. The inner layer, or lining, is the endometrium. It is to this inner, mucous membrane to which the egg attaches after fertilization. The outer layer of the uterus is muscle tissue called the myometrium.

In women of childbearing age, the lining of the uterus grows and thickens each month to prepare for pregnancy. If a woman does not become pregnant, the thick, bloody lining flows out of the body through the vagina. This flow is called menstruation.


Related entries

   • disorders of the uterus
   • cancer of the uterus
   • female genital tract
   • female reproductive system


Related category

   • ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY