What is Cervix?
The cervix is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina.
It has a shape of cylindrical or conical and protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall.
The vagina has a thick layer outside and it is the opening for the baby to get delivered from mother’s body.
Cervix is a the important part of the female reproductive system. That’s why it is named as ‘Neck of the Uterus’.
Anatomy of Cervix
The portio vaginalis is the portion projecting into the vagina. It is also called as ectocervix.
This ectocervix is approximately 3 cm long and 2.5 cm wide.
While looking its shape we can see the convex shape with elliptical surface and has anterior and posterior lips.
The external os is the opening of ectocervix.
The ectocervix size & shape varies for different reasons. Age, hormonal state, and a vaginal birth during the delivery of women are some of the reasons.
After delivery through the the vagina the ectocervix appears bulkier and the external os appears wider, more slit-like and gaping.
The endocervical canal is the passage between the external os and the uterine cavity. Length and width of the endocervical canal varies widely. From flattened anterior to posterior, the endocervical canal measures 7 to 8 mm at its widest in reproductive-aged women.
The endocervical canal terminates at the internal os which is the opening of the cervix inside the uterine cavity.
Histology of Cervix
- The epithelium of the cervix is varied.
- The ectocervix is composed of nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium.
- The endocervix is composed of simple columnar epithelium.
The transformation zone is the area adjacent to the border of the endocervix and ectocervix. The Transformation zone undergoes metaplasia numerous times during normal life.
- The metaplasia occurs when the endocervix is exposed to the harsh acidic environment of the vagina it undergoes metaplasia to squamous epithelium which is better suited to the vaginal environment.
- When the ectocervix enters the less harsh uterine area it undergoes metaplasia to become columnar epithelium.
Metaplasia occurs during:
- Normal menstrual cycle
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