The Oviducts Uterus and Vagina

After ovulation, the ovum travels into an oviduct (also called the uterine tube or fallopian tube), one of the two tubes attached to the upper lateral portions of the uterus (see Fig. 15-1). These tubes arch above the ovaries and have fingerlike projections (fimbriae) that sweep the released ovum into the oviduct. If fertilization occurs, it usually takes place in the oviduct.

The uterus is the organ that nourishes the developing offspring. It is pear-shaped, with an upper rounded fundus, a triangular cavity, and a lower narrow cervix that projects into the vagina. The innermost layer of the uterine wall, the endometrium, has a rich blood supply. It receives the fertilized ovum and becomes part of the placenta during pregnancy. The endometrium is shed during the menstrual period if no fertilization occurs. The muscle layer of the uterine wall is the myometrium.

Round ligament

Oviduct (fallopian tube)

Ovary

Labium minus

Labium majus

Pubic symphysis

Peritoneal cavity

Uterus

Clitoris

Sagittal Section

Urinary Urethra Vagina Anus

FIGURE 15-1. Female reproductive system, as seen in sagittal section. (Reprinted with permission from Cohen BJ, Wood DL. Memmler's The Human Body in Health and Disease. 9th Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.)

Urinary Urethra Vagina Anus bladder

FIGURE 15-1. Female reproductive system, as seen in sagittal section. (Reprinted with permission from Cohen BJ, Wood DL. Memmler's The Human Body in Health and Disease. 9th Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2000.)

Box 15-1 Crazy Ideas

Most women would be shocked and surprised to learn the origin of the root hyster/o, used for the uterus. It comes from the same root as the words hysterical and hysterics and was based on the very old belief that the womb was the source of mental disturbances in women.

A similar history lies at the origin of the word hypochondriac, a term for someone who has imaginary illnesses. The hypochondriac regions are in the upper portions of the abdomen, an area that the ancients believed was the seat of mental disorders.

The vagina is a muscular tube that receives the penis during intercourse, functions as a birth canal, and transports the menstrual flow out of the body (see Fig. 15-1).

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Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

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Responses

  • Liisi Vuorela
    What is the upper lateral portion of the uterus from which the oviducts or fallopian tubes extend.?
    4 years ago

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