Rectouterine pouch

The rectouterine pouch (or Patrick-Douglas Bursa, or Ehrhardt-Cole Recess, or Pouch of Douglas) is the extension of the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and back wall of the uterus in the female human body.

The rectouterine pouch is used in the treatment of end-stage renal failure in patients who are treated by peritoneal dialysis. The tip of the dialysis catheter is placed into the deepest point of the pouch.

In women it is the deepest point of the peritoneal cavity, posterior to (behind) the uterus and anterior to (in front of) rectum. (The pouch on the other side of the uterus is the vesicouterine excavation.)

It is near the posterior fornix of the vagina.

In men, the region corresponding to the rectouterine pouch is the Rectovesical excavation, which lies between the urinary bladder and rectum. (There is no equivalent to the vesicouterine excavation.)


The rectouterine pouch, being the lowest part of the peritoneal cavity in a woman who is standing, is a common site for the spread of pathology such as ascites, tumour, endometriosis, pus, etc.


It is also known by the names Douglas pouch, Douglas cavity, Douglas space and Douglas cul-de-sac.

It is named after the Scottish anatomist Dr James Douglas (16751742) who extensively explored this region of the female body. Three other nearby anatomical structures are also named for him - the Douglas fold, the Douglas line and the Douglas septum.

Additional images


External links

  • - "The Female Pelvis: Distribution of the Peritoneum in the Female Pelvis"

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