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Definition of «Douglas, pouch of»

Douglas, pouch of: An extension of the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and back wall of the uterus.

The term "cul-de-sac," aside from being any "blind pouch or cavity that is closed at one end," is used specifically to refer to the rectouterine pouch. From that fact comes:

  • Culdoscopy, the introduction of a viewing tube (endoscope) through the vagina into the cul-de-sac;
  • Culdoscope, the endoscope that is used to look into the cul-de-sac; and
  • Culdocentesis, the aspiration (withdrawal) of fluid from the cul-de-sac.

In French, "cul-de-sac" literally is "bottom of (a) sack." As early as the 13th century, a cul-de-sac was a dead-end street (or a dead-end way), a blind alley. (The third letter in "cul" is silent in French; in English it is spoken. So, in French "cul" is pronounced "ku" and in English "kul").

The rectouterine pouch is called the pouch of Douglas after the Scottish anatomist James Douglas (1675-1742) who explored this region of the female body and left his name attached to at least 3 other structural features in the vicinity.

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