Pouch of Douglas

Other Known Aliasesrecto-uterine pouch

Definitionspace in the peritoneal cavity between the rectum and the posterior wall of the uterus

Clinical SignificanceAs this is the most posterior and inferior recess in the peritoneal cavity, it is a potential space for fluid and blood to accumulate. This area should always be investigated in trauma as part of the FAST examination.

HistoryNamed after James Douglas (1675-1742), who was a Scottish physician, anatomist, and physician extraordinaire to Queen Caroline. He received his medical doctorate from University of Reims and went on to have a prolific career as an obstetrician and anatomist. He also befriended an early career William Hunter and made him an assistant prior to his own fame as an anatomist. Due to his anatomic research in female pelvic anatomy, there are many eponymonic structures that bear his name including the Douglas fold, Douglas line, and Douglas septum.


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. Brock H. James Douglas of the Pouch. Medical history. 1974; 18(2):162-72. [pubmed]
  7. Rectouterine Pouch. Radiopaedia. https://radiopaedia.org/articles/rectouterine-pouch?lang=us

One thought on “Ep-PAINE-nym

  1. Pingback: Ep-PAINE-nym | PAINE Podcast and Medical Blog

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