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Glossary

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 hairlike 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.

Laparascopy: 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.

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