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Glossary of Common Medical Terms

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Like all the " FemaleHealthMadeSimple " sites , this one is also under constant construction and will never be 100% completed.

If   a   figure appears at the end of word's description , click on to get more information about that word.

 

> ABDOMEN :   It is the soft lower part of the trunk. It is situated below the chest and above the legs. Commonly known as the belly.

> ANTERIOR :   It refers to position and means in front or to the front. It therefore refers to the front part of the body. The opposite is posterior. The heart is anterior to the spine.

> AMENORRHEA :   It refers to the absence or stoppage of menstruation. Most experts define it as absence of menstruation for three months or longer. ( the absence of three cycles or more).

> AMENORRHOEA :  The British English spelling of amenorrhea.

> ANOVULATION :   It refers to the absence of ovulation. It occurs when no egg cells are released during menstrual cycle. It is associated with infertility. See infertility .

> ANOVULATORY :   If ovulation does not occur during a specific cycle that cycle is an anovulatory cycle.

> BASEMENT MEMBRANE :   It refers a membrane on which the cells of covering tissue ( skin and mucous membranes) rest. The cells of glands also rest on a basement membrane. No vessels ( blood and lymph nor nerves pass through the basement membrane.

> BENIGN :   It refers to a non cancerous growth. There is increased in cellular growth , the cells are abnormal but they stick together and do not infiltrate the surrounding tissue. It is the opposite of malignant.

> CARCINOMA :   It is the scientific name for cancer of tissue that cover body surfaces and cancer of glands. Skin, the mucous membrane of the mouth, the mucous membrane covering the gut, stomach and intestine, the mucous membrane of the mouth of the womb ,cancers of all these parts are referred to as carcinomas. Also cancers of any gland like the liver, pancreas or the small glands in the mouth of womb or the glands in the digestive system are referred to as carcinomas. Another type of cancer is sarcoma and sarcoma refers to cancers that originate in connective tissue.

> CERVIX:   It is derived from a Latin word that means neck. In the case of the womb (uterus) it refers to the constricted lower part of the uterus that connect to and bulges into the vagina. See cervix.

> CELL : It is very small minute structure that is the basic building block of all living beings. It is alive and therefor able to heal itself, to grow and to divide to form two daughter cells . Compare them to bricks, tiles ,etc used to build a building except cells are alive and able to repair any damage. All cells orinated from the fertilized egg cell. SEE ALSO STEM CELL.

> CH0RION:   It is the outer layer surrounding the early embryo. It is responsible for implantation and nutrition of the embryo. It later gives rise to the placenta (after birth). See Implantation

> > CH0RIONIC:   Anything pertaining to the chorion.

> CH0RIONIC GONADOTROPIN:   See human chorionic gonado tropin.

> CORPUS LUTEUM:  It is a structure in the ovary, It forms as soon as ovulation occured. It produces estrogen and progesterone. It is the only structure in the body that prduces progestrone in significant quantities. Corpus luteum (Latin) literally means Yellow body. It is only present if ovulation occured.

>DECIDUA:  It refers to an endometrium associated with a pregnancy. The moment a pregnancy implants , the endometrium becomes very thick and is called a decidua The endometrium in a pregnant uterus is called a decidua regardless of the duration of pregnancy.

> ENDOMETRIUM :   It is the scientific name for the mucous membrane that lines the cavity of womb. Its unique properties are responsible for menstruation and implantation (the mechanism of attachment between embryo and mother.

> ENDOMETRIOSIS :  It is a condition where tissue representing the endometrium is found outside the womb usually in the peritoneal cavity. The abnormal endometrium causes pain and infertility. ( Click here)

>FSH :  It is an abbreviation of Follicle Stimulating Hormone. It is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It stimulates the growth of a follicle in the ovaries. If this hormone is absent the follicles will fail to develop, causing anovulation. It is also essential for the development of the female body during puberty. If the follicles don't develop no estrogen is produced and the female body fails to mature.
It is also present in the male , stimulating the testis to produce testosterone and sperms.
FSH is absent before puberty. The body only start producing it at puberty in both sexes.

>Follicle Stimulating Hormone:  See FSH

> GONADOTROPIN :  Any substance that stimulates the gonads ( ovary in the female and testis in the male). In the female follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) luteinizing hormone (LH) and human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) are important gonadotropins. Also spelled gonadotrophin.

> HUMAN CHORIONIC GONADOTROPIN :   A hormone secreted by the chorion that stimulates the corpus luteum of the ovary, this preventing the corpus luteum from dying in early pregnancy. If the corpus luteum stop functioning in early pregnancy , menstruation will occur and the pregnancy will be lost. See Implantation and Pregnancy and Childbirth .

> HYSTERECTOMY :  It is an operation done to remove the womb. If is done trough the tummy it is called an abdominal hysterectomy. If it is done vaginally (through the vagina) it is called a vaginal hysterectomy. In recent times the laparoscopic approach is also used. ( laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy) See hysterectomy.

> HYSTEROSCOPE : It is the name of instrument that is used to do hysteroscopies. It is an optical lens system and just a thinner version of a laparoscopy.

> HYSTEROSCOPY :   It is a procedure done to view the cavity of the womb and to visualize the endometrium. Pieces ( biopsies ) of abnormal parts of the endometrium can also be obtained. Small tumors can also be removed. An endometrial ablation (destruction of the endometrium to reduce bleeding) can also be performed. See hysteroscopy.

> IMPLANTATION : It refers to the way the embryo attaches itself to it's mother's womb . See implantation

> INFLAMMATORY REACTION: It refers to body 's response to injury. Prostaglandins and other substances are released in the damaged area. These subtances cause an increase in blood flow to the area, dilation of the small bloodvessels and an incrase permeability of the blood vessels . The result is swelling, redness and tepmperature increase in the damage area. The reaction is aimed to increase the blood supply to the area to enhanche healing.

> IMPLANTATION BLEEDING : It refers to a bleeding that occurs during impaction of the embryo. Refer to implantation and implantation bleeding

> LAPAROSCOPE:   It refers to the instrument ( a special optical lens system) used to do laparoscopies.

> LAPAROSCOPY:   It refers to an operation done by passing a thin optical lens through a small incision at the belly button. It is use to inspect the internal organs of the tummy. See laparoscopy and Gynecological Operations .

> LH :   It is an abbreviation of Luteinizing Hormone. It a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and it assist follicle development in the ovary. Just prior to ovulation the LH values increase about 3 x ( refer to as the LH surge) This LH surge causes the follicle to rupture and ovulation to occur. In the absence of a LH surge , ovulation won't occur.

>Luteinizing Hormone:  See LH

> LYMPH:   It refers to a fluid that is present in the lymph vessels. The lymph circulation is another circulation system consisting of vessels like blood vessels. This system collects access fluid from all parts of the body and returns it to the blood via the lymph vessels.

> LYMPH NODES:   It refers to filters set up at regular intervals in the lymph vessels. The lymph must pass through these filters before it is returned to the blood. They are also known as lymph glands. The often became swollen and tender in cases of bacterial infections. The bacteria are removed from the infected area by the lymph system and as lymph passes trough lymph nodes the bacteria are filtered out and can cause an infection in a lymph node. The same happens with cancer. The cancer often spread to lymph nodes because cancer cells are filtered out of the lymph and start growing in the lymph nodes.

> MALIGNANT :   It refers to a cancerous growth. There is increased cellular growth and the abnormal cells do not stick together but invade and infiltrate the surrounding tissue. It is the opposite of benign.

>PERITONIUM :   It refers to a membrane that covers all the organs in the abdomen as well as the inner walls of the abdomen.

> PLACENTA: It refers to the organ that attach the umbilical cord to the mothers womb. In lay terms known as the "after birth" because is is usually expelled after the baby during normal birth.

> PROLAPSE: In gynecology ( female or women's diseases) it refers to prolapse of the female organs. The womb, upper part of vagina, bladder and rectum are pulled down in vagina ( by gravity). For more information click here.

> PROSTAGLANDIN (PROSTAGLANDINS): A group of similar chemical substances present in living tissue. First discovered in semen and hence called prostaglandins. Early researchers thouhgt it orginated in the prostate gland, only to discover that the prostate doesn't contain any prostaglandins. They are chemical medulators responsible for the inflammatory reaction following tissue damge, onset of labour, menstruation pain. They stimulate certain smooth musles, relax blood vassel walls (vasodilatation) and increase blood supply to an area.(also see Inlammatory reaction)

> SALPINGITIS :   It refers to inflammation of the fallopian tubes. Salpinx is a Greek word that refers to a tube. The "itis" refers to inflammation.

> SALPINGECTOMY :   It refers to the partial or total removal of the fallopian tubes. A partial salpingectomy is done as a form of sterilization. See salpinx. See also tubular ligation and sterilization

> SALPINX :   Salpinx is a Greek word that refers to a tube. In medical terminology it refers to the fallopian tubes.

> SARCOMA :  Sarcoma refers to a cancers that originate in muscle or in connective tissue (bone ,cartilage, support tissues)

> STEM CELL : This is a cell with the ability to give rise to different tissues when it divides. It is also referred to as a primitive or as an embryonic cell. When an egg cell is fertilize , it start dividing and every one of this new cells have the ability to form any kind of tissue. These cells are known as stem cells. Later in embryonic life the cells start to differentiate in skin, nerve, muscle, blood cells etc. >

UTERO SACRAL LIGAMENTS: They are two bands of thick strong connective tissue that stretch from the cervix to the sacrum. They pull the cervix backwards and anchor the uterus to the spine.


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