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Gynecological Dictionary



Adenomyosis is a form of endometriosis that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall



Adnexal Torsion

Adnexal torsion is severe abdominal pain caused by the twisting of an ovary or fallopian tube which usually requires surgical intervention.



An allergy is defined as a hypersensitivity to a specific substance. Allergies may be harmful causing you to develop a rash, hives, vomiting, difficulty breathing, or an anaphylactic reaction.



Anovulation is defined as no ovulation during the menstrual cycle and no eggs produced, the luteal phase does not occur properly


Asherman's Syndrome

Asherman's syndrome is intrauterine adhesions, or scar tissue, that typically occurs following uterine surgery, such as dilatation and curettage (D&C).


Bacterial Vaginosis

Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection that may cause increased discharge, vaginal itching and/or irritation, and a strong “fishy” vaginal odor


Bartholin's Duct Cyst

Bartholin's duct cysts or abscesses are vaginal lesions that cause severe discomfort, which usually requires medical intervention.



Benign Ovarian Cysts & Tumors

Non-cancerous ovarian cysts and masses are common among women of reproductive age. Ovarian cysts may cause severe pelvic pain. Ultrasounds are used to diagnose this condition and determine if surgical intervention is necessary



A biopsy is a sample of tissue sent it to a pathologist for examination.


Breast Pain

Breast pain, mastalgia, is tenderness of the breasts that can occur at any time. It may or may not be associated with the menstrual cycle.




Candidiasis is a yeast infection. Common symptoms include vaginal itching and / or irritation with an odorless white cottage cheese like discharge.


Cervical Polyps

Cervical polyps are growths originating from the mucosal surface or inside lining of the cervix that project from the cervical wall on stalks. They can appear singly or in groups. Cervical bleeding may occur.



Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. It is commonly caused by a vaginal infection. It may or may not be caused by a sexually transmitted disease.



A colposcopy is a procedure in which the cervix, vulva, and vagina are visualized through a lighted microscope called a colposcope. In most cases a sample of cervical cells is taken during a biopsy.




A cystocele is a herniation (or bulging) of the upper front vaginal wall where the bladder bulges into the vagina. This may lead to urinary frequency, urgency, retention, and incontinence.




Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body at any age. A cyst is a closed sac of tissue that usually contains a gas, liquid, or semisolid substance. Cysts vary in size; they may be microscopic or large enough to displace normal organs and tissues.


DES (Diethylstilbestrol)

DES (diethylstilbestrol) is a synthetic form of estrogen that was prescribed from the early 1940’s until 1971 to help women with certain complications of pregnancy. It is no longer used because it caused malformations in female fetuses which led to infertility and pregnancy complications.




A feminine hygiene product. It is not recommended that women douche on a regular basis. Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is a term used to describe irregular bleeding from the uterus. In most cases, this is related to changes in hormone levels, not other medical conditions.




Dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramping with no recognized physical cause. It is common in women between the ages of 20 and 24. It usually goes away after 1 to 2 years, when natural hormonal balance occurs.



Endometrial Ablation

Endometrial ablation is a procedure in which the uterine lining is destroyed by electrosurgical ablation (NovaSure), thermoablation, or cryoablation therapy (Her Option).





Endometriosis occurs when tissue that lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. It may or may not cause symptoms, and usually is not dangerous. The most common symptom is pain in the pelvic region particularly during the menstrual cycle. It may also lead to infertility.




An enterocele (small bowel prolapse) is one of several pelvic organ support problems that occurs when the small bowel presses against and moves the upper wall of the vagina. This may develop if the lower pelvic muscles become damaged by labor, childbirth, or a previous pelvic surgery, or when the muscles are weakened by aging. It is like a hernia that occurs in the vagina.



Fibrocystic Breast Changes

Fibrocystic breast changes often occur before a menstrual cycle. Symptoms include breasts that feel lumpy, thick, and tender. Fibrocystic breast changes are normal and harmless. They are not cancer, and they do not increase your chance of getting breast cancer.




Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Frequently, the ovaries are removed at the same time. Hysterectomy is the surgical procedure preformed to treat uterine and cervical cancer and other common non-cancerous conditions such as uterine fibroids, uterine bleeding, endometriosis, and uterine prolapse (including pelvic relaxation). There are less invasive treatments for pelvic pain and uterine bleeding.




The involuntary loss of urine is called incontinence. The two most common types are stress incontinence and urge incontinence. There are many causes for this condition and several available treatments.



Interstitial Cystitis

Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a painful chronic condition in which the bladder becomes inflamed and irritated. It irritates a bladder infection, and is associated with burning on urination, frequency, and nocturia, or frequently having to get up at night to urinate.



Lichen Sclerosis

Lichen sclerosis is a vulvodynia condition which causes chronic vulvar pain with no known cause.



Menorrhagia / Menometorrhagia

Menorrhagia or abnormal uterine bleeding is a common condition defined as heavy menstrual flow, or unexpected or prolonged bleeding.


Nabothian Cysts

Nabothian cysts or cervical cysts are mucous cysts formed in the Nabothian gland of the cervix. They are benign and generally do not cause symptoms.



Osteoporosis is a common disease wherein bone loss leads to weaker bones over many years. Osteoporosis leads to 1.5 million fractures or breaks per year, occurring mostly in the hip, spine, and wrist. It is most commonly associated with estrogen deficiency, which occurs with menopause and surgical and medical loss of ovarian function.



Pap Smear

The Pap smear tests a sample of cells taken from the cervix and/or vagina. This test can detect the presence of infection, inflammation, abnormal cells, or cancer.



Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The most serious and common complication of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among women is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the upper genital tract.



Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain is located below a woman’s belly button. It can be acute or chronic and the pain can range from mild to severe. There are many causes of pelvic pain, and some of these can be serious. Examination by a gynecologist is important to rule out the more serious causes.




Perimenopause is a transitional phase of menopause when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. Perimenopause can start as early as the 30’s, but most commonly begins in the 40’s. Knowing what to expect can help make this transitional phase easier.



Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome occurs during reproductive age. Simply speaking, a woman’s hormones are out of balance. Symptoms include acne, weight gain, abnormal hair growth, thinning hair, irregular periods or absent menstruation, and infertility. It can also be associated with diabetes or prediabetes.



Postmenopausal Bleeding

Postmenopausal bleeding is any vaginal bleeding during menopause. Any such bleeding should be investigated by your physician to ensure that it is not due to endometrial cancer or something precancerous.



Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the term used to describe a group of physical or behavioral changes that some women experience before their menstrual periods every month. PMS can be considered an abnormal response to normal hormonal changes. Women with PMS have a specific susceptibility for mood problems triggered by normal monthly cycles. The symptoms occur 2 to 14 days before your period begins and decrease or disappear when your period starts.




A rectocele occurs when the end of the large intestine (rectum) pushes against the back wall of the vagina. Rectocele is one of many pelvic organ support problems that may occur. This may be corrected surgically.



Rectovaginal Fistula

Rectovaginal fistula is a communication between the rectum and the vagina. It may result from obstetrical trauma and usually requires surgical repair.



Sebaceous Cysts

A sebaceous cyst is a benign, slow-growing cyst containing dead skin, excretions, and other skin particles. They can appear anywhere on the body, but most commonly appear on the vulvar region. Other areas include the scalp, ears, face, and back.



Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas) is a vaginal infection with a one-cell parasite. Trichomonas is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Symptoms include vaginal discharge, itching, irritation, and odor. Both men and women can get this infection, but it is more common in women. Trichomonas can cause problems during pregnancy. A man may have no symptoms, so usually both partners will need treatment.



Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, life-threatening illness that develops suddenly after an infection and can affect several different organs, such as the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Toxic shock syndrome can be associated with tampon use. Immediate medical treatment is necessary as toxic shock syndrome progresses quickly.



Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when microorganisms, usually bacteria get into your system through your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. The bacteria that cause these infections live in your large intestine and are found in your stool. The bacteria can travel to your bladder and kidneys, causing an infection.



Uterine Prolapse

The uterus is held in place inside your pelvis with various muscles, tissue, and ligaments. This may develop if the lower pelvic muscles become damaged by labor, childbirth, or a previous pelvic surgery, or when the muscles are weakened by aging. As a woman ages there is a natural loss of the hormone estrogen, the uterus can collapse into the vaginal canal, causing the condition known as a prolapsed uterus.



Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are benign tumors that grow on the uterus. Fibroids can grow inside, outside, or in the wall of the uterus. Other names for uterine fibroids include; fibroid tumors, leiomyomas, or myomas. Fibroids usually do not cause problems. However, when they do, a variety of treatments are available. Symptoms that may occur include cramping, heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, and urinary urgency.



Vaginal Prolapse

A vaginal prolapse is a condition that affects the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina. A prolapse occurs when the structure itself drops from its normal position. This may require medical treatment or surgery as these structures may eventually prolapse farther into the vagina. There are several types of vaginal prolapse, these include; Rectocele (prolapse of the rectum), Cystocele (prolapse of the bladder, bladder drop), Enterocele (herniated small bowel), Prolapsed uterus (womb), and Vaginal vault prolapse. The symptoms that result from vaginal prolapse commonly affect sexual functions, urination, and defecation. Pelvic pressure and discomfort may also occur.



Vaginitis / Vulvitis

Vaginitis is any infection or inflammation of the vagina or vulva. Symptoms include vaginal itching, burning, a change in discharge, and/or painful intercourse. Vaginitis or vulvitis is usually caused by bacteria, yeast, or other organisms. The three most common types are yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis. Bath products, douches, and spermicides may also irritate the vagina or vulva causing discomfort.



Vesicovaginal Fistulas

A vesicovaginal fistula is an opening, or communication, between the bladder and vagina that opens into the urinary tract.




Vulvodynia is chronic vulvar pain with no known cause. Researchers are attempting to uncover the cause of vulvodynia to develop a treatment for this pain. Vulvodynia affects the vulva and the external female genital organs including the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening. There are two types of vulvodynia: generalized vulvodynia and vulvar vestibulitis syndrome.



Yeast Infection (Vaginitis Candidiasis)

Yeast or Candidiasis is an infection caused by a group of microscopic fungi. There are many different species of Candida, the most common being Candida albicans. Yeast lives on all surfaces of the body. An overgrowth of yeast can occur leading to an infection. This infection is most likely to be found in warm and moist areas of the body. Common infections include vaginal yeast infections, thrush, skin and diaper rash, and nailbed infections. Vaginal yeast infections are usually characterized by a vaginal discharge that is “cottage cheese like”, vulvar itching and irritation, and may or may not have a vaginal odor. Medical treatment may be necessary.


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