|The opening of the uterus is
called the cervix.
While the cervix is considered a portion of the uterus, it is
functionally and histologically quite different. It is composed of dense
connective tissue, with very little smooth muscle. The body of the uterus,
in contrast, is primarily smooth muscle.
The cervix is located at the top of the vagina and is
easily visualized by inserting a vaginal speculum fully into the vagina and
opening the blades. The firm, smooth, pink structure appearing at the end of
the vagina is the cervix.
The cervix is of clinical significance because of:
- The role it plays in pregnancy, remaining tightly closed for the bulk
of gestation, then, at just the right time, thinning and opening to allow
for birth of the baby.
- It's vulnerability to cervical dysplasia and, by extension, cancer of
the cervix, and
- The occasional patient who experiences symptoms of cervicitis,
primarily painful intercourse and vaginal discharge.