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Glossary & Online Resources 

The healthyher.life team supports a holistic approach to managing women’s hormonal healthcare. Our goal is to help our members be well-informed about their hormonal health, by providing them with evidence-based integrated health information that includes the current standard of medical care advised by qualified physicians, clinical insights from licensed allied health professionals (naturopathic doctors, nurse-practitioners, nutritionists, psychotherapists) and new health innovations that will be soon coming to market. Always consult with your doctor regarding your medical condition, diagnosis, treatment, or to seek personalized medical advice. 

Glossary of Terms

The following is a list of medical terms used in content and articles found on Healthyher.life. Definitions are taken directly from Harvard Medical School Medical Dictionary or MedicineNet.

This section is constantly being updated so check back soon for more!

 

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Addison’s Disease

A type of adrenal insufficiency. It is a rare disorder characterized by inadequate production of the steroid hormones cortisol and aldosterone.

 

Antibody

An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introduction of an antigen into the body, and which possesses the remarkable ability to combine with the very antigen that triggered its production. The production of antibodies is a major function of the immune system and is carried out by a type of white blood cell called a B cell (B lymphocyte). Antibodies can be triggered by and directed at foreign proteins, microorganisms, or toxins.

 

Antigen

A substance that the immune system perceives as being foreign or dangerous. The body combats an antigen with the production of an antibody.

 

Arrhythmia

An abnormal heart rhythm. In an arrhythmia the heartbeats may be too slow, too rapid, too irregular, or too early. Rapid arrhythmias (greater than 100 beats per minute) are called tachycardias. Slow arrhythmias (slower than 60 beats per minute) are called bradycardias. Irregular heart rhythms are called fibrillations (as in atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation).

 

Arrthymia, Ventricular

Abnormal rapid heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that originate in the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles). Ventricular arrhythmias include ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. Both are life threatening arrhythmias most commonly associated with heart attacks or scarring of the heart muscle from previous heart attack.

 

Autoantibody

An antibody directed against the patient's own body tissue.

A
Addison's Disease
Antibody
Antigen
Arrhythmia
Arrthymia, Ventricular
Autoantibody

B

Bradycardia
A slow heart rate, usually defined as less than 60 beats per minute.

B
Bradycardia

C

Celiac Disease

A disorder resulting from an immune reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, and present in many foods. Celiac disease causes impaired absorption and digestion of nutrients through the small intestine.  

 

Cholecystitis

Inflammation of the gallbladder. 

 

Contraindication

A condition which makes a particular treatment or procedure potentially inadvisable. A contraindication may be absolute or relative. An absolute contraindication is a situation which makes a particular treatment or procedure absolutely inadvisable. In children, for example, aspirin is almost always contraindicated because of the danger that aspirin will cause Reye syndrome. A relative contraindication is a condition which makes a particular treatment or procedure possibly inadvisable. For example, X-rays in pregnancy are relatively contraindicated (because of concern for the developing fetus) unless the X-rays are absolutely necessary. Contraindications often highlight the balance of risk versus benefit of a particular treatment or procedure. 

Corpus Luteum

a yellowish mass of cells that forms immediately after ovulation in the mammalian ovary, and secretes progesterone hormone. The corpus luteum will regress and be shed away quickly if the ovum is not fertilized during the menstrual cycle.

 

Cushing Syndrome

The constellation of symptoms and signs caused by an excess of cortisol hormone. Cushing syndrome is an extremely complex hormonal condition that involves many areas of the body. Common symptoms are thinning of the skin, weakness, weight gain, bruising, hypertension, diabetes, thin weak bones (osteoporosis), facial puffiness and, in women, cessation of menstrual periods.

C
Celiac Disease
Cholecystitis
Contraindication
Corpus Luteum
Cushing Syndrome

D

Debulk

To remove part of the bulk, usually of a tumor as in surgery to remove as much tumor as possible to increase the likelihood of success with chemotherapy, for example, or dead tissue. Debulking may be done by surgery, irradiation, laser or chemotherapy. 

Debulking Surgery

An operation that decreases the amount of cancer in the body. 

Diabetes

Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus share the name "diabetes" because they are both conditions characterized by excessive urination (polyuria). The two main types of diabetes mellitus -- insulin-requiring type 1 diabetes and adult-onset type 2 diabetes -- are distinct and different diseases in themselves.  

Dyslipidemia

A disorder of lipoprotein (i.e. fat) metabolism, including lipoprotein overproduction or deficiency. Dyslipidemias may be manifested by elevation of the total cholesterol, the "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the triglyceride concentrations, and a decrease in the "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol concentration in the blood.

D
Debulk
Debulk Surgery
Diabetes
Dyslipidemia

E

Embryo

An embryo refers to the early developmental stage of a multicellular organism that follows fertilization. This stage represents a crucial juncture in the life cycle, transitioning from a single fertilized cell into a complex organism with specialized tissues and structures

Endometrial Ablation

Removal of the lining of the womb. Removing the uterine lining decreases menstrual flow or stops it completely.

Endometrial Hyperplasia

A condition characterized by overgrowth of the lining of the uterus.

 

Endometriosis

The presence of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus (womb) in an abnormal anatomical location.

 

Endometrium

The inner lining of the uterus which is usually shed monthly in response to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle resulting in a menstrual "period."

 

Epigenetic

Something that affects a cell, organ or individual without directly affecting its DNA. An epigenetic change may indirectly influence the expression of the genome.

Estrogen

various natural steroid hormones (such as estradiol) that are released mainly by the ovaries, placenta, and adipose (fat) tissue, and to a lesser extent the testes, and that stimulate the development of female sex characteristics and promote the growth and maintenance of the female reproductive system.

E
Embryo
Endometrial Ablation
Endometrial Hyperplasia
Endometriosis
Endometrium
Epigenetic
Estrogen

F

Fertile

Able to conceive and bear offspring (i.e. children).

Fetus

a young human or animal before it is born, especially a human more than eight weeks after fertilization.

Fibroid

A common benign tumor of the uterus.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

FSH stimulates the follicles — the fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries that contain the eggs — to produce estrogen. When estrogen reaches a certain level, the brain signals the pituitary to turn off the FSH and produce a surge of LH.

F
Fertile
Fetus
Fibroid
Follicle-Stimulating Hormon (FSH)

G

Gland

A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thyroid gland.

 

Goiter

A noncancerous enlargement or bulging of the thyroid gland. With a goiter, the levels of thyroid hormones may be normal (euthyroid), elevated (hyperthyroidism), or decreased (hypothyroidism).

 

Grave’s Disease

Generalized diffuse overactivity ("toxicity") of the entire thyroid gland which becomes enlarged into a goiter. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.

G
Gland
Goiter
Grave's Disease

H

Hirsutism

Excessive facial or body hair in women.

 

Hormones

Powerful chemicals that affect many processes in the body, including sexual function, mood, and growth.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

The combination therapy of estrogen plus a progestogen but can include either hormone used to treat the symptoms of menopause.

 

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

A human hormone made by chorionic cells in the fetal part of the placenta. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is directed at the gonads and stimulates them. Hence, the name "gonadotropin." The presence of hCG is detectable by immunologic means within days of fertilization and forms the foundation of the common pregnancy tests. The level of hCG tends to be higher with a female fetus soon after conception.

 

Hyperplasia

Increased production of cells in a normal tissue or organ; may be harmless or a sign of precancerous changes.

Hypertension

Also known as high blood pressure is, by definition, a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 or a diastolic pressure above 90.

 

Hyperthyroidism

Medical condition that results from an excess of thyroid hormone in the blood; by an overproduction of thyroid hormones; an overactive thyroid. Can also arise from taking too much thyroid hormone.

 

Hypothalamus

The area of the brain that secretes substances that influence pituitary and other gland function and is involved in the control of body temperature, hunger, thirst, and other processes that regulate body equilibrium.

 

Hypothyroidism, Congenital

Underactivity of the thyroid gland at birth, resulting in growth retardation, developmental delay and other abnormal features. Can be due to deficiency of iodine in the mother's diet during pregnancy.

 

Hypothyroidism

Medical condition that results from a deficiency of thyroid hormone which is normally made by the thyroid gland; an underactive thyroid. 

 

Hysterectomy

An surgical operation to remove the uterus.

 

Hysteroscopy

A procedure to see inside the uterus (the womb) using a viewing scope that is inserted into the vagina up through the cervix into the uterus.

H
Hirsutism
Hormones
Hormone Replacent Therapy (HRT)
Hypothyridism Congenital
Hypothalamus
Hyperthyroidism
Hypertension
Hypothyrodism
Hysterectomy
Hyperplasia
Human Choronic Gonadotropin (hCG)
Hysteroscopy

L

Laparoscope

An instrument through which structures within the abdomen and pelvis can be seen. A small surgical incision (cut) is made in the abdominal wall to permit the laparoscope to enter the abdomen or pelvis. A diversity of tubes can be pushed through the same incision or other small incisions permitting the introduction of probes and other instruments. In this way, a number of surgical procedures can be performed without the need for a large surgical incision. Virtually all parts of the body today can be visualized using a laparoscope including the joints of the body.

 

Laparoscopy

A type of surgery in which small incisions are made in the abdominal wall through which a laparoscope and other instruments can be placed to permit structures within the abdomen and pelvis to be seen.

 

Laparotomy

An operation to open the abdomen.

 

Leiomyoma

A benign tumor of smooth muscle, the type of muscle that is found in the heart and uterus. A leiomyoma of the uterus is commonly called a fibroid.

 

Leiomyosarcoma

A malignant tumor that originates in smooth muscle, the major structural component of most hollow internal organs and the walls of blood vessels. Leiomyosarcoma can occur almost anywhere in the body but is most frequently found in the uterus and gastrointestinal tract.

Lesion

An infected, diseased, or wounded area of tissue.

 

Libido

Sexual drive. In psychoanalysis, the psychic energy from all instinctive biological drives. Libido in Latin means "desire, longing, fancy, lust, or rut."

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

stimulates the ovary to release the egg from its follicle (ovulation), and triggers the production of progesterone in preparation for pregnancy.

Lymphocytes

A small white blood cell (leukocyte) that plays a large role in defending the body against disease. Lymphocytes are responsible for immune responses. There are two main types of lymphocytes: B cells and T cells. The B cells make antibodies that attack bacteria and toxins while the T cells attack body cells themselves when they have been taken over by viruses or have become cancerous. Lymphocytes secrete products (lymphokines) that modulate the functional activities of many other types of cells and are often present at sites of chronic inflammation.

L
Laparoscope
Laparoscopy
Laparotomy
Leiomyoma
Leiomyoscarcoma
Lesion
Libido
Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Lymphocytes

M

Mastalgia

Pain in the breast or mammary gland.

Menopause

The point marking the end of menstruation, officially designated as one year after a woman’s final period.

 

Menopause Transition

A woman can usually tell if she is approaching menopause because her menstrual periods starts changing. The changes of the menopause transition (perimenopause) typically begin several years before the natural menopause. Menopause transition is a time when the levels of hormones produced by the aging ovaries fluctuate, leading to irregular menstrual patterns (irregularity in the length of the period, the time between periods, and the level of flow) and hot flashes (a sudden warm feeling with flushing). Other changes that may be associated with the perimenopause and menopause include night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness, fluctuations in sexual desire (libido), forgetfulness, trouble sleeping, and fatigue, probably from loss of sleep.

 

Menstrual Cycle

The monthly cycle of changes in the ovaries and the lining of the uterus (endometrium), starting with the preparation of an egg for fertilization. When the follicle of the prepared egg in the ovary breaks, it is released for fertilization and ovulation occurs. Unless pregnancy occurs, the cycle ends with the shedding of part of the endometrium, which is menstruation.

 

Menstruation

The periodic blood that flows as a discharge from the uterus. Also called menorrhea, the time during which menstruation occurs is referred to as menses. The menses occurs at approximately 4 week intervals to compose the menstrual cycle.

 

Myomectomy

Surgery to remove a fibroid from the uterus.

 

Myometrium

The muscular outer layer of the uterus.

M
Myometrium
Mastalgia
Menopause
Menopause Transition
Menstrul Cycle
Menstruation
Myometrium

N

Nodule, thyroid

A lump or a growth on the thyroid gland that may be either solid or fluid filled.

Nodule

A small collection of tissue that is palpable (can be felt) at any level of the skin (in the epidermis, dermis, or subcutis) or in another tissue of the body.

N
Nodul, Thyroid
Nodule
Oral Contraceptive

O

Oral Contraceptive

A birth control pill taken by mouth. Most oral contraceptives include both estrogen and progesterone. When given in certain amounts and at certain times in the menstrual cycle, these hormones prevent the ovary from releasing an egg for fertilization.

 

Osteoporosis

Thinning of the bones, with reduction in bone mass, due to depletion of calcium and bone protein. Osteoporosis predisposes a person to fractures, which are often slow to heal and heal poorly. It is most common in older adults, particularly postmenopausal women, and in patients who take steroids or steroidal drugs.

Ovulation

The release of a mature egg from the ovary, at which time it is available to be fertilized by sperm.

Ovum

ovum, plural ova: in human physiology, single cell released from either of the female reproductive organs, the ovaries, which is capable of developing into a new organism when fertilized (united) with a sperm cell.

O
Osteoporosis
Ovum
Ovulation
P

P

Palpable

Something that can be felt. For example, a palpable growth is one that can be detected by touch.

Perimenopause

A transition period that can begin as early as 10 years before menopause. In the last 2 years of perimenopause, estrogen levels in the body decline dramatically

 

Pernicious Anemia

Low red blood cell count caused by inadequate vitamin B12. Individuals with pernicious anemia do not produce intrinsic factor (IF), a substance that allows the body to absorb vitamin B12 from foods. The resulting inadequacy of vitamin B12 hampers the production of red blood cells.

 

Pituitary Gland

The main endocrine gland. It is a small structure in the head. It is called the master gland because it produces hormones that control other glands and many body functions including growth. The pituitary consists of the anterior and posterior pituitary.

 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A condition in women characterized by irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. PCOS is a disorder of chronically abnormal ovarian function and hyperandrogenism (abnormally elevated androgen levels). It affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

An unusually severe form of premenstrual syndrome characterized by drastic mood swings, anger, depression, irritability, tension, sleep and appetite changes, fatigue, and physical problems such as pain or bloating. Abbreviated PMDD. Symptoms generally begin the week before menstruation and end a few days after menstruation has begun.

 

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

A combination of symptoms that many women get about a week or two before their period can include bloating, headaches, mood swings, or other physical and emotional changes.

 

Progesterone

a female steroid sex hormone that is secreted by the corpus luteum inside the ovary to prepare the endometrium for implantation of a fertilized egg. Later during pregnancy, progesterone is also released by the placenta to prevent rejection of the developing embryo or fetus.

Pituitary Gland
Palpable
Perimenopause
Pernicious Anemia
Polycysic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Progesterone

R

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joints. Rheumatoid disease can also involve inflammation of tissues in other areas of the body, such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.

R
Rheumatoid Arthritis

S

Salpingectomy

The surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes

 

Salpingo-oophorectomy

Removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Sclerosis, multiple. Autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). In MS, the immune system attacks and damages or destroys myelin, a substance that surrounds and insulates the nerves. The myelin destruction causes a distortion or interruption in nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain. This can result in a wide variety of symptoms.

 

Sclerosis

Localized hardening of skin. Sclerosis is generally caused by underlying diseases, such as diabetes and scleroderma.

 

Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)

A change in which a single base in the DNA differs from the usual base at that position.

S
Salpingectomy
Salpino-oophorectomy
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)
Sclerosis

T

Testosterone

a male natural hormone produced primarily by the testes that is mainly responsible for inducing and maintaining male secondary sex characteristics.

Thyroglobulin

A protein that is found primarily in the thyroid gland. Some thyroglobulin can be found in the blood, and this amount may be measured after thyroid surgery to determine whether thyroid cancer has recurred.

 

Thyroid Gland

A gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. Thyroid hormones also help children grow and develop. The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam's apple, wrapped around the trachea (windpipe). It has the shape of a butterfly: two wings (lobes) attached to one another by a middle part called the isthmus. The thyroid uses iodine, a mineral found in some foods and in iodized salt, to make its hormones. The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

 

Thyroid Lobectomy

Surgical procedure that can remove part or all of the thyroid gland i.e. removal of one or two thyroid lobes. Performed if thyroid cancer is suspected and if the tumour is smaller than 1cm.

 

Thyroidectomy

Surgery to remove all of the thyroid gland. Thyroidectomy might be done to remove a tumor if it is larger than 1cm or to treat hyperthyroidism or goiter (enlarged thyroid gland).

 

Thyroiditis

Inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can be diagnosed by a thyroid scan (a picture taken of the thyroid gland after radioactive iodine is taken by mouth).

 

Thyrotropin

A hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain in response to signals from the hypothalamus gland in the brain. The suffix -tropin indicates "an affinity for". Thyrotropin has an affinity for the thyroid. Thyrotropin is known also as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

 

Thyroxine (T4)

A hormone that is made by the thyroid gland and is one of the most important thyroid hormones. Four iodine molecules are attached to the molecular structure of thyroxine. Along with the more powerful thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine affects almost every process in the body, including body temperature, growth, and heart rate.

 

Tissue

A group or layer of cells that perform specific functions. For example, muscle tissue is a group of muscle cells.

 

Toxic Adenoma

A benign tumor that arises in or resembles glandular tissue. If an adenoma becomes cancerous, it is called an adenocarcinoma. Causes hyperthyroidism.

 

Toxic Multinodular Goiter

A condition in which the thyroid gland contains multiple lumps (nodules) that are overactive and that produce excess thyroid hormones.

 

Transcervical Ultrasound-guided Radiofrequency Ablation

A procedure used to treat uterine fibroids that uses a radiofrequency ablation device with an ultrasound probe at the tip is inserted through the cervix into the endometrial cavity. The ultrasound probe is used to visualise and target the fibroid, which is then ablated with radiofrequency energy. The aim is to shrink the fibroid and reduce symptoms.

 

Triiodothyronine (T3)

A hormone that is made by the thyroid gland. Triiodothyronine has three iodine molecules attached to its molecular structure. It is the most powerful thyroid hormone, and it affects almost every process in the body, including body temperature, growth, and heart rate.

 

Tubal Ligation

A surgical procedure for female sterilization which involves severing and tying the fallopian tubes.

Testosterone
Thyroglobulin
Thyroid Gland
Thyroidectomy
Thyroid Lobectomy
Thyroiditis
Tissue
Thyrotropin
Thyroxine (T4)
Toxic Multinodular Goiter
Toxic Adenoma
Triodothyronine (T3)
Transcervical Ultrasound-guided Radiofreqency Ablation
Tubal Litgation
T

U

Uterine Artery Ambolization

A procedure that involves blocking the blood vessels that supply uterine fibroids with blood, causing them to shrink.

U
Uterine Artery Ambolization

V

Vaginal Atrophy

The thinning of the lining (endothelium) of the vagina due to decreased production of estrogen. Atrophic vaginitis may occur with menopause. Vaginal atrophy is another name for atrophic vaginitis.

 

Vasomotor

Relating to the nerves and muscles that cause blood vessels to constrict or dilate.

 

Vasomotor Symptoms (VMS)

hot flashes and night sweats, are often considered the cardinal symptoms of menopause. VMS are episodes of profuse heat accompanied by sweating and flushing, experienced predominantly around the head, neck, chest, and upper back. VMS are experienced by the majority of women during the menopausal transition.

 

Vitiligo

A condition in which the skin turns white due to the loss of pigment from the melanocytes, cells that produce the pigment melanin that gives the skin color. In vitiligo, the melanocytes are destroyed, leaving depigmented patches of skin. The hair that grows in areas affected by vitiligo may also turn white. The skin is not otherwise damaged.

V
Vaginal Atrophy
Vasomotor
Vasomotor Symptoms (VMS)
Vitiligo
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