Glossary

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Adhesion
Scar tissue present in the abdominal cavity, fallopian tubes or uterus that may cause fertility complications.

Amenorrhea
The complete absence of a menstrual cycle.

Cervix
The opening between the uterus and vagina that opens during labor to allow birth.

Cilia
Tiny hair-like projections lining the fallopian tubes that direct the egg toward the uterus.

Clitoris
The female sex organ that contains a large number of sensory nerves.

Dilation and Curettage
A surgical procedure where the cervix is intentionally dilated and the interior of the uterine cavity is scraped with a curettage (a surgical instrument) to remove growths or collect tissue samples.

Dysmenorrhea
Abnormally painful menstruation.

Embryo
An early stage of a developing fetus, before the parts are able to be differentiated.

Endometrium
The soft tissues lining the uterus, designed to nourish an embryo. When groups of cells resembling the endometrium appear outside the uterus, it is a condition known as endometriosis.

Fallopian Tube
A duct through which the egg travels from the follicle to the uterus. This is a common site of conception.

Fetus
An unborn baby after the embryo stage, when discernable parts develop.

Follicle
A fluid-filled sac where eggs are stored and then released when ready for fertilization.

Gamete
A reproductive cell (sperm in men, eggs in women).

Gestation
Pregnancy.

Gynecologist
A medical specialist dealing with women’s issues, particularly reproductive and urological disorders.

Hysterectomy
A surgical procedure involving removing the uterus, as well as other possible reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes or ovaries.

Incontinence
The loss of ability to voluntarily control an organ.

Infertility
The inability to conceive, or the inability to bring a pregnancy to term.

Laparoscopy
The examination of the abdominal cavity by use of a laparoscope, a thin, metal, telescope-like device.

Menorrhagia
An abnormally heavy or prolonged menstrual cycle.

Menstruation
The periodic expulsion of uterine lining through the vagina.

Myomectomy
A surgical procedure to remove cystic fibroids.

Obstetrician
A medical specialist whose focus is the care of pregnant women and delivering babies.

Oligomenorrhea
The condition of having infrequent menstrual cycles.

Ovaries
The two organs on both sides of the pelvis where eggs are produced.

Pap Smear
A routine gynecological screening that tests for potentially cancerous indications in the cervix.

Penis
The male sex organ.

Placenta
The tissue that provides nourishment and oxygen to the developing fetus.

Puberty
The point at which the body begins producing adult levels of hormones, causing many bodily changes associated with sexual maturity.

Ultrasound
A process that uses sound waves to produce an image of organs inside a body, or to produce an image of a fetus.

Urethra
The tube connecting the bladder to outside the body that allows urine to be expelled.

Uterus
The abdominal cavity that houses a fetus during pregnancy.

Vagina
The canal connecting the cervix to outside the body.

Vaginitis
A condition indicating yeast or bacterial infection of the vagina.

Zygote
A fertilized egg which has not yet divided - the stage of fetal development before the embryo.