Abdomen, GI, GU, Pelvis

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    The abdomen (Fig: a) (commonly called the belly) is the body space between the thorax (chest) and pelvis. The diaphragm forms the upper surface of the abdomen. At the level of the pelvic bones, the abdomen ends and the pelvis begin.

    The abdomen contains all the digestive organs, including the stomach, small and large intestines, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. These organs are held together loosely by connecting tissues (mesentery) that allow them to expand and to slide against each other. The abdomen also contains the kidneys and spleen.

    Many important blood vessels travel through the abdomen, including the aorta, inferior vena cava, and dozens of their smaller branches. In the front, the abdomen is protected by a thin, tough layer of tissue called fascia. In front of the fascia are the abdominal muscles and skin. In the rear of the abdomen are the back muscles.

Fig: b shows the pelvis and associated parts

Differences between male and female pelvis:

    The shape of the female pelvis allows for the passage of the baby during childbirth. In comparison with the male pelvis, the female pelvis has lighter bones, is more shallow and rounded and is generally more roomy.

Gastro intestine & Genitourinary system (GI & GU):

    Gastro intestine system: The gastrointestinal system is essentially a long tube running right through the body, with specialized sections that are capable of digesting material put in at the top end and extracting any useful components from it, then expelling the waste products at the bottom end. The whole system is under hormonal control, with the presence of food in the mouth triggering off a cascade of hormonal actions; when there is food in the stomach, different hormones activate acid secretion, increased gut motility, enzyme release etc. etc. Nutrients from the GI tract are not processed on-site; they are taken to the liver to be broken down further, stored, or distributed.

 Genitourinary system: The kidneys are essentially regulatory organs which maintain the volume and composition of body fluid by filtration of the blood and selective re-absorption or secretion of filtered solutes. The kidneys are retro-peritoneal organs (ie located behind the peritoneum) situated on the posterior wall of the abdomen on each side of the vertebral column, at about the level of the twelfth rib. The left kidney is lightly higher in the abdomen than the right, due to the presence of the liver pushing the right kidney down.

    The kidneys take their blood supply directly from the aorta via the renal arteries; blood is returned to the inferior vena cava via the renal veins. Urine (the filtered product containing waste materials and water) excreted from the kidneys passes down the fibro-muscular ureters and collects in the bladder. The bladder muscle (the detrusor muscle) is capable of distending to accept urine without increasing the pressure inside; this means that large volumes can be collected (700-1000ml) without high-pressure damage to the renal system occurring. When urine is passed, the urethral sphincter at the base of the bladder relaxes, the detrusor contracts, and urine is voided via the urethra.


1.What is the capacity of urine to be collected  normally?


b) 800ml


d) 2000 ml

2.  At which level of the abdomen ends?

a) 12 rib

b) Lumbar 1

c) Pelvic bone

d) All


c)  700-100ml

c)  Pelvic bone


1. http://www.webmd.com

2. http://www.le.ac.uk

3. Ross and Wilson, Anatomy and physiology in health and illness by Anne Waugh and Allison Grant.

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