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abdominal hysterectomy - the uterus is removed through the abdomen via a surgical incision.

abortion - medical termination of a pregnancy before the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the uterus.

adhesion - a band of scar tissue that joins normally separated internal body structures, most often after surgery, inflammation, or injury in the area.

adrenal glands - two glands, one on top of each kidney, which produce a variety of hormones that affect nearly every body system.

advance directives - legal documents -- such as living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care decisions -- that detail a person's wishes regarding medical treatment prior to an illness or accident that makes him/her unable to do so.

AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) - a protein produced by a developing fetus that is present in amniotic fluid and, in smaller amounts, in a pregnant woman's blood. Abnormal levels of AFP found in a blood test between the 15th and 18th weeks of pregnancy can indicate abnormalities in the fetus.

Alzheimer's disease - A progressive, incurable condition that destroys brain cells, gradually causing loss of intellectual abilities -- such as memory -- and extreme changes in personality and behavior.

amenorrhea - absence or cessation of menstrual periods.

amniocentesis - prenatal diagnostic procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is withdrawn through a needle inserted through a pregnant woman's abdominal wall into the uterus, then examined in a laboratory to detect genetic abnormalities in a fetus.

amniotic fluid - clear liquid that surrounds and protects the fetus throughout pregnancy.

anemia - blood disorder caused by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells); it can result from abnormal blood loss, such as heavy menstrual bleeding.

anovulation - failure of the ovaries to produce or release mature eggs.

antibodies - proteins produced by the immune system to fight specific bacteria, viruses, or other antigens.

antioxidants - compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are a major cause of disease and aging.

assisted reproductive technology (ART)
- medical procedures, such as intrauterine insemination, that are performed to help infertile couples conceive.

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basal body temperature - temperature of a person's body taken first thing in the morning after several hours of sleep and before any activity, including getting out of bed or talking; often charted to determine the time of ovulation.

BMI (body mass index) - number, derived by using height and weight measurements, that gives a general indication if weight falls within a healthy range.

bone density - measure of the mass of bone in relation to its volume to determine the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Braxton Hicks contractions - Relatively brief, painless contractions of the uterus that may begin during the second half of pregnancy.

breast self-examination (BSE) - Routine, monthly examination of the breasts.

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CA-125 test - Blood test to detect an elevated level of a protein antigen called CA-125, which may indicate ovarian cancer, among other disorders.

calcium - mineral that gives strength to bones and teeth and has an important role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function.

cervical dysplasia - condition in which cells in the cervix have undergone precancerous changes. It is detected by a Pap smear; treatment can prevent it from progressing to cervical cancer.

cervix - neck and lower part of the uterus. It opens into the cavity of the uterus at the top of the vagina.

cesarean delivery or section - surgical procedure to deliver a baby through an incision in the lower abdomen and uterus.

chlamydia - Very common sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection caused by a bacteria-like organism in the urethra and reproductive system.

chromosomes - filaments of genetic material in every cell nucleus that are made up of genes and that transmit genetic information from one generation of cells to the next.

CIN (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia) - term used to classify the degree of precancerous change in cells of the cervix in a condition called cervical dysplasia.

colostrum - thin, white, first milk produced by the breasts during late pregnancy and for a few days after childbirth. It provides a nursing infant with essential nutrients and infection-fighting antibodies.

colposcopy - visual examination of the cervix and vagina using a lighted magnifying instrument (colposcope).

cone biopsy - surgical removal of a cone-shaped section of tissue from the cervix for the treatment of cervical dysplasia.

contractions, labor - rhythmic tightening of the muscular wall of the uterus to push the fetus down through the vagina during childbirth.

CVS (chorionic villus sampling) - diagnostic test usually performed between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the placenta and examined to detect genetic abnormalities in a fetus.

cystitis - inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bacterial infection.

cystocele - condition in which weakened pelvic muscles cause the base of the bladder to drop from its usual position down into the vagina.

cystometry - diagnostic procedure that measures bladder capacity and pressure changes as the bladder fills and empties.

cystoscopy - procedure in which a viewing tube (cystoscope) is passed through the urethra to examine the inside of the bladder and ureters or to treat a disorder.

cystourethrocele - condition that results when the urethra and its supporting tissues weaken and drop into the vagina leading to stress incontinence.

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D and C (dilation and curettage) - surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated (widened) and the endometrium (lining of the uterus) is scraped away.

DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) - imaging technique that uses a very low dose of radiation to measure bone density for the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

dysmenorrhea - pain or discomfort experienced just before or during a menstrual period.

dyspareunia - pain in the vagina or pelvis experienced during sexual intercourse.

dysplasia - an abnormality of growth.

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eclampsia - a serious, life-threatening condition in late pregnancy in which very high blood pressure can cause a woman to have seizures.

ecsubhead pregnancy - pregnancy that develops outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

endometrial hyperplasia - abnormal thickening of the endometrium caused by excessive cell growth.

endometrial implants - fragments of endometrium that relocate outside of the uterus, such as in the muscular wall of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, or intestine, and bleed monthly just as endometrium does in the uterus.

endometriosis - condition in which tissue resembling that of the endometrium grows outside the uterus, on or near the ovaries or fallopian tubes, or in other areas of the pelvic cavity.

endometrium - mucous membrane lining of the inner surface of the uterus that grows during each menstrual cycle and is shed in menstrual blood.

endoscopy - procedure in which a lighted viewing instrument (endoscope) is used to look inside a body cavity or organ to diagnose or treat disorders.

enterocele - condition caused by weakened muscles in the pelvis in which a portion of the intestines bulges into the top of the vagina.

epidural anesthesia - method of pain relief used during surgery or childbirth in which an anesthetic is injected into a small area surrounding the spinal cord (the epidural space) to block pain nerve impulses from the lower half of the body.

episiotomy - incision made in the skin between the vagina and anus to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate childbirth.

estrogen - key female hormone, produced mostly in the ovaries, and essential for the healthy development and functioning of the female reproductive system and in keeping bones strong and brain cells healthy.

estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) - use of the female hormone estrogen to replace that which the body no longer produces naturally after medical or surgical menopause.

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fallopian tubes - two thin tubes that extend from each side of the uterus, toward the ovaries as a passageway for eggs and sperm.

fecal occult-blood test - screening test for possible signs of cancer of the colon or rectum.

fetal alcohol syndrome - set of serious birth defects that can occur when a pregnant woman drinks excessive amounts of alcohol.

fibroadenoma - noncancerous, firm, rubbery lump in the breast that is painless and moves around easily when touched.

fibrocystic breasts - noncancerous condition in which small lumps and cysts develop in the breasts.

fibroids - noncancerous growths in, on, or within the walls of the uterus that develop from muscle cells in the wall of the uterus.

folic acid - one of the B vitamins especially important for a woman to take before conception to help prevent neural tube defects in a fetus.

FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) - hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the growth and maturation of eggs in females and sperm in males and sex hormone production in both.

functional incontinence - difficulty reaching a restroom in time because of physical conditions such as arthritis.

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genes - basic, functional units of heredity, each occupying a specific place on a chromosome.

genetic counseling - providing information, advice, and testing to prospective parents at risk of having a child with a birth defect or genetic disorder.

genital herpes - a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus.

genital warts - sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).

gestational diabetes - form of diabetes that may develop during pregnancy in women who do not otherwise have diabetes.

GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer)
- method of treating infertility by removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them with sperm from her partner or a donor in the laboratory, and placing the eggs and sperm together in one of her fallopian tubes, where fertilization can occur.

gonorrhea - common sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium, which can lead to infertility in women.

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HRT (hormone replacement therapy) - use of the female hormones estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) to replace those the body no longer produces after menopause.

human chorionic gonadotropin - hormone produced by the placenta during early pregnancy.

human papillomaviruses (HPVs) - viruses that can cause warts. Some HPVs are sexually transmitted and cause wart-like growths on the genitals. HPV is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.

hyperplasia, endometrial - excessive growth of cells in the endometrium.

hypothalamus - small structure at the base of the brain that regulates many body functions, including appetite and body temperature.

hysterectomy - surgical removal of the uterus.

- x-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that uses dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.

- visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.

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incontinence, urinary - uncontrollable, involuntary leaking of urine.

intrauterine insemination - treatment for infertility in which semen is introduced into the uterus via a slim tube inserted through the vagina.

in vitro fertilization - treatment for infertility in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside her body, with her partner's sperm or sperm from a donor.



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laparoscope - a slender endoscope inserted through an incision in the abdominal wall in order to examine the abdominal organs or to perform minor surgery

laparoscopy - procedure in which a lighted viewing tube called a laparoscope is inserted through tiny incisions in the abdomen for examination or surgery.

laparotomy - surgery in the abdomen done through a large incision in the abdomen.

LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) - procedure for treating cervical dysplasia in which a fine wire loop and low-energy current are used to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix.

LH (luteinizing hormone) - hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the growth and maturation of eggs in females and sperm in males.

liposuction - type of cosmetic surgery in which localized areas of fat are removed from beneath the skin using a suction-pump device inserted through a small incision.

lumpectomy - breast-conserving surgical procedure for breast cancer patients in which only the tumor and a small area of surrounding tissue are removed.

lymph nodes - small glands clustered in the neck, armpits, abdomen, and groin that supply infection-fighting cells to the bloodstream and filter out bacteria and other antigens.

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malignant - a condition, such as cancer, that tends to become progressively worse, resistant to treatment, and frequently fatal.

mammography - a low-dose x-ray of the breasts.

mastectomy - surgical removal of all or part of the breast.

mastitis - infection of the milk ducts in the breast.

melanoma - the most serious, life-threatening form of skin cancer.

menopause - the cessation of a woman's menstrual periods.

metastasis - the spread of cancer from its original site to other sites in the body.

miscarriage - spontaneous termination of a pregnancy before the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the uterus.

morning-after pills - hormonal medications to prevent pregnancy taken within 72 hours of having unprotected intercourse.

mycoplasma - very common sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection caused by a bacteria-like organism in the urethra and reproductive system.

myoma - a benign tumor composed of muscle tissue, commonly called a fibroid.

myomectomy - surgical procedure done to remove fibroids from the uterus and leaving the uterus intact.

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needle biopsy - biopsy procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed through a hollow needle.

neural tube defect - type of birth defect, such as spina bifida, that results from failure of the spinal cord or brain to develop normally in a fetus.

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oncogenes - genes that promote normal cell division.

oophorectomy - surgical removal of one or both ovaries.

osteoporosis - disorder in which bones thin and become brittle and more prone to fracture; most common in women after menopause due to estrogen deficiency.

ovaries - pair of small glands, located on either side of the uterus, in which egg cells develop and are stored and the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced.

overflow incontinence - the leakage of small amounts of urine from a bladder that is always full.

ovulation - release of a mature egg from an ovary.

oxytocin - hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates contractions of the uterus during labor and release of milk during breast-feeding.

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pap test/smear - test in which a sample of cells is taken from the cervix and examined to detect cancer or precancerous changes.

perimenopause - transition period of waning ovarian function that precedes menopause.

pessary - rubber or plastic device that is inserted through the vagina to help hold the uterus in place in women who have prolapse of the uterus.

PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) - infection of the upper female reproductive tract.

pituitary gland - gland at the base of the brain that secretes hormones and regulates and controls other hormone-secreting glands and many body processes, including reproduction.

placenta - organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy to link the blood supplies of a pregnant woman and fetus to provide nutrients and remove waste products from the fetus.

placental abruption
- premature detachment of the placenta from the wall of the uterus causing severe bleeding that is life threatening to both a pregnant woman and fetus.

placenta previa - abnormal location of the placenta in the lower part of the uterus, near or over the cervix.

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) - range of physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience prior to their monthly periods.

polyp - growth that projects, usually on a stem, from a membrane in the body and can sometimes develop into cancer.

preeclampsia - disorder of pregnancy characterized by increased blood pressure, water retention, and protein in the urine.

preterm labor - labor that begins before the 37th week of pregnancy.

progesterone - a female sex hormone, produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle.

progestin - synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone.

prolactin - hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates breast development and milk production.

prolapse of the uterus - displacement of the uterus down into the vagina caused by a weakening of supporting tissues in the pelvis.

pudendal block - pain relieving procedure used during childbirth in which an anesthetic is injected into tissues surrounding the pudendal nerves on either side of the vagina. It blocks pain in the tissues between the vagina and anus.

pyelonephritis - kidney infection.

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radiation therapy - treatment that uses x-rays or other forms of radiation to destroy or slow the spread of diseased cells.

rape - forced or manipulated nonconsensual sexual contact, including vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex, or penetration with an object.

rectocele - condition in which weakening of the lower vaginal wall causes the rectum to bulge into the vagina.

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safe sex - sex in a monogamous relationship where neither party is infected with a sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection is considered to be "safe". However, many healthcare professionals believe there really is no such thing as "safe" sex and the only way to be truly safe is to abstain because all forms of sexual contact carry some risk.

salpingectomy - surgical removal of a fallopian tube.

serotonin - chemical messenger in the brain that affects emotions, behavior, and thought.

sigmoidoscopy - examination of the rectum and lower part of the colon (sigmoid colon) using a flexible viewing tube passed through the rectum.

SIL (squamous intraepithelial lesion) - like CIN, SIL is a term used to classify the degree of precancerous change in cells of the cervix in a condition called cervical dysplasia.

spinal anesthesia - injection of an anesthetic into the area around the spinal cord to block pain sensation during surgery.

squamous cell cancer - a slow-growing cancer in cells in the top layer of the skin.

STD (sexually transmitted disease)
- infection spread through sexual intercourse and other intimate sexual contact.

stress incontinence - involuntary leaking of urine during activities that increase pressure inside the abdomen, such as coughing, sneezing, or jogging.

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testosterone - key male sex hormone, which stimulates bone and muscle growth and the development of male sex characteristics.

thrombosis, deep-vein - formation of blood clots in veins deep inside the legs.

trichomoniasis - very common vaginitis caused by a single-celled organism usually transmitted during sexual contact.

tubal ligation - surgical sterilization procedure in which the fallopian tubes are sealed or cut to prevent sperm from reaching an egg.

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ultrasound - diagnostic imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of internal body structures on a video screen.

urge incontinence - the inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom.

ureters - two tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

urethra - narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body.

uterus - hollow, muscular organ in the center of the female pelvis that sheds its lining each month during menstruation and in which a fertilized egg implants and grows into a fetus.

urethritis - infection limited to the urethra.

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vacuum aspiration - procedure in which a suction tube attached to a vacuum pump is inserted through the vagina into the uterus to loosen and remove its contents.

vacuum extraction - procedure used to ease delivery by applying a metal or plastic cup to the baby's scalp and using suction to pull the baby gradually out of the vagina.

vaginal hysterectomy - the uterus is removed through the vaginal opening.

vaginitis - irritation, redness, or swelling of the vaginal tissues, usually resulting from a bacterial infection.

vaginosis, bacterial - very common vaginal infection characterized by symptoms such as increased vaginal discharge or itching, burning, or redness in the genital area.

varicose veins - enlarged, curving veins just beneath the skin, usually in the legs.

vulva - external, visible part of the female genital area.

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yeast infection - common fungal infection of the vagina, characterized by itching, burning, or redness of the vaginal area.

ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer)
- method of treating infertility by removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, fertilizing them in the laboratory with sperm from her partner or a donor, and inserting one or more of the fertilized eggs into one of her fallopian tubes.


Source: Oregon Health & Science University.

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