I thought it was about time that we review some anatomy related to the menstrual cycle, and we’re starting with the uterus.
The uterus and ovaries are pretty cool organs (at least I think so). The uterus is a muscular organ that’s in the lower abdomen in between the urinary bladder and rectum. It has 3 layers: the outermost layer is the perimetrium, the middle layer is the myometrium, and the innermost layer — the layer that is shed during menstruation — is the endometrium (also called the endometrial lining).
The uterus can be positioned a bit differently for different people; for e.g., it may be tilted forward (anteverted) or backward (retroverted) from the base where it meets the cervix and it can also be tilted forward (anteflexed) or backward (retroflexed) at the top. Depending on the development of your uterus, you could even have a partial or full divide in the uterus.
At the base of the uterus is the cervix which is a cylinder with an opening on each end, the bottom connects with the vagina. It is the part of the uterus that dilates during labour in order to allow the fetus to pass through to the vaginal canal for delivery. The uterus is connected to the ovaries via the fallopian tubes.
It’s the cervix that produces the mucus (whitish or clear discharge) especially in the middle of the cycle under the influence of your hormones (namely estrogen). The cervix has tons of glands responsible for producing mucus that contains proteins, electrolytes, sugars, fatty acids, and enzymes. When estrogen is high, more mucus is produced that is thinner in consistency and has a higher pH to facilitate sperm travel and life. After ovulation when progesterone goes up, the mucus becomes thick and more acidic to act as a barrier to pathogens in case pregnancy has occurred.
The cervix becomes a bit softer, more open, and is found higher (closer to the body of the uterus) during ovulation time. This can be used a sign of fertility whether you’re trying to conceive or avoid it.
So, that’s a bit about your uterus. I’ll be posting a bit more on anatomy and physiology in our bodies so we that we can all have a better understanding about how our bodies actually work. Stay tuned!