(4) Clitoris. The clitoris is a small projection of sensitive erectile tissue,
which corresponds to the male penis. The female urethra, however, does not pass
through the clitoris. As in the male penis, the clitoris is covered by prepuce.
Urinary meatus. The urinary meatus is located between the clitoris and
Vaginal orifice. This is the opening to the vagina from the outside.
(7) Bartholin's gland. These are bean-shaped glands located on each side
of the vaginal orifice. They provide lubrication of the vagina.
(8) Perineum. The perineum is the area between the vaginal orifice
(opening) and the rectum. The perineum is sometimes referred to as the pelvic floor.
b. Internal Genitalia. See figure 1-10.
(1) Uterus or "womb." The uterus is a hollow, muscular, pear-shaped
organ. It is located in the pelvic cavity between the urinary bladder and the rectum.
During a woman's child-bearing years, the uterus is about 7.5 centimeters long, 5
centimeters wide, and 2.5 centimeters thick. The three anatomical divisions of the
uterus are the fundus, the body, and the cervix. The fundus is the upper, convex part of
the uterus. This part of the uterus is located just above the entrance to the fallopian
tubes. The body is the central part of the uterus and the cervix is the lower, neck-like
part of the uterus.
(a) Walls of the uterus. The walls of the uterus are made up of three
layers: the endometrium, the myometrium, and the parietal peritoneum. The
endometrium, the inner layer, attaches itself to the myometrium layer and lines the
uterus. This layer is sloughed off during menstruation or post delivery. The middle
layer, which is composed of smooth muscle, is the myometrium. This layer is made up
of longitudinal, circular, and spiral muscular fiber that interlaces. This middle layer of
wall is thickest in the fundus and thinnest in the cervix. During childbirth, this muscle
layer is capable of the very powerful contractions necessary for a normal birth. The
third layer, the parietal peritoneum, is the outer layer and is a serous membrane (a
membrane that lines body cavities but does not open to the exterior). This layer of wall
is incomplete and covers only part of the uterine body and none of the uterine cervix.
(b) Functions of the uterus. The uterus holds the fertilized egg during
its growth and development during pregnancy. The fetus grows in the uterus. During
the birth process, the uterus produces powerful contractions to expel the mature infant.
And, finally, during a female's menstrual phase, fluid is discharged from the uterine
cavity. Three functions of the uterus are, therefore, pregnancy, labor, and menstruation.