Now we'll move on, to look at the reproductive organs in the female. We'll look at them from several different angles, as we did in the male. We'll look down at them from above, we'll look up at them from below, and we'll look in at them from the side, but we'll start by looking at this isolated dissection that shows the whole of the female reproductive tract. Here we're seeing it from the left side.
Here behind are the ovaries. Here are the uterine tubes, and the uterus. Here's the vagina, passing down through the pelvic diaphragm. This is the base of the bladder: the bladder was here.
To see how these structures relate to their surroundings, we'll go to a more intact dissection. Here we're looking downwards and backwards into the pelvic cavity. Here are the inguinal ligaments in front, here's the pelvic brim, here's the sacral promontory. Here are the uterus, and the two uterine tubes, here's the left ovary, here's the right one. Behind the uterus is the sigmoid colon, in front of it beneath the peritoneum is the bladder.
These are the pelvic organs of an individual past chldbearing age: the uterus and the ovaries are quite small. We're looking down on the highest part of the uterus, the fundus. This is the body of the uterus. The cervix of the uterus is well hidden down here.
The fundus and body of the uterus are covered with peritoneum. On each side this complex peritoneal fold, the broad ligament, tethers the uterus to the side wall of the pelvis. We'll look at its component parts in a minute. When we lift the uterus up, we can see that between it and the upper part of the rectum there's a deep recess, the recto-uterine pouch or Pouch of Douglas. It's the lowest point in the peritoneal cavity. Here in front, where the peritoneum sweeps forwards from the uterus to cover the bladder, there's another recess, the vesico-uterine pouch, that's more evident when the bladder is full.
The body of the uterus tapers down toward the top of the vagina. Here's the line of peritoneal attachment. Just below it, distinct ligaments are attached to the uterus, here's one of them. These pass forward, laterally and backward, tethering the uterus to the walls of the pelvis. The lowest part of the uterus, the cervix, projects down into the vagina. To see it, we'll remove this part of the vaginal wall.
Here's the cervix, projecting into the vagina. In this specimen the cervix is somewhat flattened. Around the cervix, between it and the vaginal wall, there's a recess, the vaginal fornix. Here in the center of the cervix is the ostium, or external os of the uterus.
To see a side view of these structures in their natural location, we’ll go to a dissection in which the left half of the pelvis has been removed. Here’s the pubic symphysis, here’s the coccyx. Here’s the pelvic diaphragm, held in position by a wire frame. Here’s the vagina, here’s the uterus. The broad ligament was here. Here’s the rectum behind the vagina, and the bladder in front of it.
Here’s the peritoneum coming down off the rectum, forming the recto-uterine recess behind the uterus, and the vesico-uterine recess in front of it. Down at the bottom, here's the vaginal opening, the anus, and the external anal sphincter muscle.