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Women's Health Glossary

Terms used to explain Women's Health can sometimes be confusing. To help you fully understand the articles and features related to this very important health topic, we have compiled a glossary of terms that can help.


Function: adjective
: of, relating to, or being a cesarean section <a cesarean[1] birth>

Ectopic Pregnancy

ectopic pregnancy
Function: noun

: gestation elsewhere than in the uterus (as in a fallopian tube or in the peritoneal cavity) —called also ectopic gestation, extrauterine gestation, extrauterine pregnancy


Pronunciation: \ˌen-dō-ˌmē-trē-ˈō-səs\
Function: noun
1: the presence and growth of functioning endometrial tissue in places other than the uterus that often results in severe pain and infertility see adenomyosis


Pronunciation: \ˌāch-(ˌ)pē-ˈvē\

Function: noun
: see: human papillomavirus


Pronunciation: \ˈhor-ˌmōn\

Function: noun

1 a: a product of living cells that circulates in body fluids (as blood) or sap and produces a specific often stimulatory effect on the activity of cells usu. remote from its point of origin —called also internal secretion, see plant hormone
b: a synthetic substance that acts like a hormone
2: see: sex hormone


Pronunciation: \-ˌsək-shən\

Function: noun
: surgical removal of local fat deposits (as in the thighs) esp. for cosmetic purposes by applying suction through a small tube inserted into the body —called also suction lipectomy


Pronunciation: \ˈmam-ə-ˌgram\

Function: noun

1: a photograph of the breasts made by X-rays
2: the procedure for producing a mammogram


Pronunciation: \ˈmen-ə-ˌpoz, ˈmēn-\

Function: noun

1 a (1): the natural cessation of menstruation occurring usu. between the ages of 45 and 55 with a mean in Western cultures of approximately 51
(2): the physiological period in the life of a woman in which such cessation and the accompanying regression of ovarian function occurs —called also climacteric, compare perimenopause
b: cessation of menstruation from other than natural causes (as from surgical removal of the ovaries)
2: see: andropause


Pronunciation: \mis-ˈkar-ij\

Function: noun
: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus before it is viable and esp. between the 12th and 28th weeks of gestation compare abortion 1a

Morning-after Pill

morn*ing–af*ter pill
Pronunciation: \ˌmor-niŋ-ˈaf-tər-\

Function: noun
: an oral drug typically containing high doses of estrogen taken up to three days after unprotected sexual intercourse that interferes with pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation or by blocking implantation of a fertilized egg in the human uterus

Pap Smear

Pap smear
Pronunciation: \ˈpap-\

Function: noun
: a method or a test based on it for the early detection of cancer esp. of the uterine cervix that involves staining exfoliated cells by a special technique which differentiates diseased tissue —called also Papanicolaou smear, Papanicolaou test, Pap test


Pronunciation: \plə-ˈsent-ə\

Function: noun
pl -centas
or -cen*tae
Pronunciation: \-ˈsent-(ˌ)ē\

: the vascular organ in mammals except monotremes and marsupials that unites the fetus to the maternal uterus and mediates its metabolic exchanges through a more or less intimate association of uterine mucosal with chorionic and usu. allantoic tissues permitting exchange of material by diffusion between the maternal and fetal vascular systems but without direct contact between maternal and fetal blood and typically involving the interlocking of fingerlike vascular chorionic villi with corresponding modified areas of the uterine mucosa see abruptio placentae

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

premenstrual dysphoric disorder
Function: noun
: severe premenstrual syndrome marked esp. by depression, anxiety, cyclical mood shifts, and lethargy abbr. PMDD


Pronunciation: \ˈəl-trə-ˌsaund\

Function: noun

1: vibrations of the same physical nature as sound but with frequencies above the range of human hearing compare infrasound
2: the diagnostic or therapeutic use of ultrasound and esp. a noninvasive technique involving the formation of a two-dimensional image used for the examination and measurement of internal body structures and the detection of bodily abnormalities —called also echography, sonography, ultrasonography
3: a diagnostic examination using ultrasound

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