The pubic symphysis is the midline cartilaginous joint uniting the superior rami of the left and right pubic bones (pubis ).
It is located anterior to the urinary bladder and superior to the external genitalia (above the vulva in females and above the attachment of the penis in males) in both sexes. In males, the suspensory ligament of the penis attaches to the pubic symphysis. In females, the pubic symphysis is intimately close to the clitoris.
During pregnancy in the human, hormones such as relaxin soften this cartilage allowing the pelvic bones to be more flexible for delivery. The symphysis pubis may actually separate during the birthing process in some women: this is painful but rare, with reported rates of occurrence ranging from one in 600 to one in 3400 births.
Last updated: 05-21-2005 19:18:04