By Atiya Hasan
It’s been a while since our last lesson. After the impromptu summer break, let’s return to our discussions about the inner workings of the female body. It surprises me to this day how little girls tend to know about where all the female knickknacks are located in their body.
In this side cross section, it can be clearly seen that the uterus is located squeezed in between the bladder and the rectum. Seeing it at this size can make it difficult to imagine the elasticity the uterus must have to be able to accommodate a fetus, but the ingenuity of our human body makes it happen.
Ovary: Normally, two ovaries are present and each one holds about a million eggs from birth, giving a total of two million eggs. The ovary is nothing more than the storage house of the follicles that hold the eggs until the arrival of puberty. Once menstruation does begin, not all of the follicles will undergo the cycle, some may even fail mid-cycle. Those that do graduate from the ovary, will first enter the Follicular phase, then Ovulation and finally the Luteal phase, as was covered in the previous lesson.
Fallopian Tubes: This is the pathway the egg will use to reach the uterus. The fimbriae on the end closest to the ovary are given the job of grabbing the egg (or the ovum as it is now known following its release from the ruptured follicle) once it is ready to move on from the ovary to the uterus. The ovum travels in through the fimbriae to the ampulla. The ovum promptly turns into the Corpus Luteum in the ampulla and awaits fertilization by sperm. If it is fertilized, the Corpus Luteum is now called a zygote and continues on its path to the uterus through the isthmus which is the narrower part of the tube.
Uterus: It is divided into three parts. The Fundus is uppermost portion of the uterus. The size of which is used to determine the growth rate of a fetus during a pregnancy. The Body is the central portion of the uterus. The Cervix is the narrow end of the uterus that opens into the vagina. It can be from 10-13 cm long and the shape depends on age, hormonal state and previous vaginal deliveries.
The walls of the uterus are also divided into three layers. The innermost layer is called the Endometrium. This layer is responsible for the formation of the cushioning that is necessary to comfortably hold the fetus. It is also the shedding of this cushioning in the absence of fertilization that causes menstruation. This layer is also responsible for the regeneration of the other layers, therefore damage to this layer causes difficulties in attaining pregnancy and menstrual irregularities.
The middle layer is called the Myometrium. This is the muscular component of the uterus. The rippling effect of the myometrium causes the baby and menstrual debris to move downward toward that vaginal opening. However, the pain caused by menstrual cramping and labor contractions can also be blamed on this effect.
The outer most layer is called the Perimetrium and is just a simple lining that holds all the different components together and attaches to adjacent organs to hold the uterus in place.
If you have questions or suggestions for topics you would like me to incorporate into future lessons, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Lesson 1: Hormones http://browngirlmagazine.com/2012/05/brown-girl-u-mahila-facts-hormones/