AskDefine | Define uterus

Dictionary Definition

uterus n : a hollow muscular organ in the pelvic cavity of females; contains the developing fetus [syn: womb] [also: uteri (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /'jutɜrəs/




  1. An organ of the female reproductive system in which the young are conceived and develop until birth; the womb.


Derived terms

Related terms


Extensive Definition

The uterus (from the Latin word for 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. The term uterus is commonly used within the medical and related professions, whilst womb is in more common usage. The plural of uterus is uteruses or uteri.


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 during pregnancy the mass of a human uterus amounts to only about a kilogram (2.2 pounds).

Forms in mammals

In mammals, the four main forms in which it is found are:; Bicornuate : Found in pigs, cats, and dogs.; Duplex : Found in rodents (such as mice, rats and guinea pigs), marsupials and lagomorpha (rabbits and hares).


The uterus is located inside the pelvis immediately dorsal (and usually somewhat rostral) to the urinary bladder and ventral to the rectum. Outside of pregnancy, its size in humans is several centimeters in diameter. The uterus is a pear shaped muslcular organ which can be divided anatomically into four segments: The fundus, corpus, cervix and the internal os.


From outside to inside, the path to the uterus is as follows:


The layers, from innermost to outermost, are as follows:; Myometrium : The uterus mostly consists of smooth muscle, known as "myometrium." The innermost layer of myometrium is known as the junctional zone, which becomes thickened in adenomyosis.; Peritoneum : The uterus is surrounded by "peritoneum."


The uterus is primarily supported by the pelvic diaphragm and the urogenital diaphragm. Secondarily, it is supported by ligaments and the peritoneum (broad ligament of uterus)

Major ligaments

It is held in place by several peritoneal ligaments, of which the following are the most important (there are two of each):
Other named ligaments near the uterus, i.e. the broad ligament, the round ligament, the suspensory ligament of the ovary, the infundibulopelvic ligament, have no role in the support of the uterus.


Under normal circumstances the uterus is both "anteflexed" and "anteverted." The meaning of these terms are described below:


The bilateral Müllerian ducts form during early fetal life. In males, MIF secreted from the testes leads to their regression. In females these ducts give rise to the Fallopian tubes and the uterus. In humans the lower segments of the two ducts fuse to form a single uterus, however, in cases of uterine malformations this development may be disturbed. The different uterine forms in various mammals are due to various degrees of fusion of the two Müllerian ducts.


Some pathological states include:

Additional images

Image:Scheme_female_reproductive_system-en.svg|Schematic frontal view of female anatomy Image:Illu cervix.jpg|Uterus and uterine tubes. Image:Illu icd o codes.jpg


External links

uterus in Arabic: رحم
uterus in Min Nan: Seⁿ-kiáⁿ-tē
uterus in Bosnian: Materica
uterus in Bulgarian: Матка
uterus in Catalan: Úter
uterus in Czech: Děloha
uterus in Welsh: Croth
uterus in Danish: Livmoder
uterus in Pennsylvania German: Mudder (Uterus)
uterus in German: Gebärmutter
uterus in Dhivehi: ރަހިމު
uterus in Estonian: Emakas
uterus in Spanish: Útero
uterus in Esperanto: Utero
uterus in French: Utérus
uterus in Scottish Gaelic: Machlag
uterus in Galician: Útero
uterus in Hindi: गर्भ
uterus in Croatian: Maternica
uterus in Indonesian: Rahim (anatomi)
uterus in Italian: Utero
uterus in Hebrew: רחם
uterus in Kurdish: Malzarok
uterus in Latin: Uterus
uterus in Lithuanian: Gimda
uterus in Hungarian: Méh (szerv)
uterus in Malayalam: ഗര്‍ഭപാത്രം
uterus in Marathi: गर्भाशय
uterus in Dutch: Baarmoeder
uterus in Japanese: 子宮
uterus in Norwegian: Livmor
uterus in Occitan (post 1500): Utèr
uterus in Polish: Macica
uterus in Portuguese: Útero
uterus in Romanian: Uter
uterus in Quechua: Kisma
uterus in Russian: Матка женщины
uterus in Simple English: Uterus
uterus in Slovak: Maternica
uterus in Slovenian: Maternica
uterus in Serbian: Материца
uterus in Serbo-Croatian: Materica
uterus in Sundanese: Rahim (anatomi)
uterus in Finnish: Kohtu
uterus in Swedish: Livmoder
uterus in Tamil: கருப்பை
uterus in Telugu: గర్భాశయం
uterus in Turkish: Rahim
uterus in Ukrainian: Матка
uterus in Yiddish: רחם
uterus in Chinese: 子宫

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bag, ballocks, balls, basket, beard, breasts, cervix, clitoris, cod, cods, cullions, family jewels, female organs, genitalia, genitals, gonads, labia, labia majora, labia minora, lingam, lips, male organs, matrix, meat, nuts, nymphae, ovary, penis, phallus, private parts, privates, privy parts, pubic hair, pudenda, reproductive organs, rocks, scrotum, secondary sex characteristic, sex organs, spermary, testes, testicles, vagina, venter, vulva, womb, yoni
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