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MENOPAUSE AND HEALTH GLOSSARY

Amenorrhoea: the absence or stopping of menstrual periods

Bilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove both ovaries

Body mass index (BMI): the weight of a person (in kilograms) divided by the square of the height of that person (in metres): used to indicate whether or not a person is over or underweight

Bone density: measurement of the bone’s mass in relation to its volume

Cervix: neck of the uterus (womb)

Climacteric: marks the transition from reproductive to non-reproductive state

Conjugated equine oestrogen: an oestrogen used in HRT which is obtained from mares’ urine

Corticosteroids: hormones produced naturally by the adrenal glands

Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA): method of measuring bone density

Endometriosis: a condition in which fragments of the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus

Endometrium: uterus lining

Endometrial hyperplasia: a thickening of the lining of the uterus, caused by overgrowth of the cells that line the uterus

Fallopian tubes: tubes which lead from the ovaries into the uterus

Fibroid: benign tumour of fibrous tissue and muscular tissue, one or more of which may develop within or attached to the outside of the uterus

Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): one of the female hormones produced by the pituitary gland

HDL: High-density lipoproteins

Hormone assay: a test or trial to determine the strength of hormones

HRT: hormone replacement therapy

Hyperthyroidism: an overactive thyroid gland

Hypothyroidism: subnormal activity of the thyroid gland

Hyperparathyroidism: an overactive parathyroid gland

Hysterectomy: operation to remove the uterus

Implants: small pellets inserted under the skin

Laparoscopic hysterectomy: an operation to remove the uterus through four small cuts on the abdomen below the navel

LDL: Low-density lipoproteins

Libido: sexual drive

Mammogram: a breast X-ray

Menopause: the occurrence of the last natural menstrual period

Oestrogen: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries

Osteopenia: a degree of bone loss less severe than osteoporosis

Osteoporosis: loss of bone tissue, resulting in bones that are brittle and liable to fracture

Ovaries: a pair of female sex glands which produce sex hormones and release eggs

Ovulation: The process by which an ovum (egg cell) is released from the ovary

Pelvic floor: spans the area under the pelvis

Perimenopause: the time from the beginning of irregular periods until 12 months after your last period

Pessary: a device which fits into the vagina

Phytoestrogens: natural plant oestrogens

Post-menopause: the stage when menstruation has not occurred for a least 12 months

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): a group of symptoms experienced in varying degrees by women of reproductive age in the week before menstruation

Progesterone: a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle

Progestogen: the synthetic form of progesterone

Prolapse: downward displacement of an organ or tissue from its normal position

Systemic: relating to or affecting the body as a whole

Testosterone: a steroid hormone formed by the ovary and adrenal glands

Unilateral oophorectomy: operation to remove one ovary

Urethra: the opening of the bladder

Uterus: a female organ which holds the developing unborn child. Also called the womb

Vagina: the lower part of the female reproductive tract

Vaginal atrophy: inflammation of the vagina and the outer urinary tract

Vaginitis: vaginal inflammation

Vasomotor symptoms: symptoms caused by the irregular function of the part of the brain that controls body heat (such as hot flushes and night sweats)

Vulva: the lips outside of the vagina

Withdrawal bleed: the breaking down of the lining of the uterus and shedding after stopping a course of progestogen

Womb: also called the uterus

Created January 2011
Updated January 2015
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