GYN Glossary

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Glossary of Gynecological Terms


Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Bleeding difference in frequency, regularity, duration, or amount from normal uterine bleeding in the absence of pregnancy.

When pus is collected and located in tissue or an organ.

Tissue that typically lines the uterus then begins to grow in the muscle wall of the uterus.

This is when scars bind together on the surface of tissue.

Amniotic Fluid
A water-filled sac surrounding the fetus in the mother’s uterus.

Amniotic Sac
A sac in the mother’s uterus that is filled with fluid where the fetus develops.

Sterioid hormones that are produced by the ovaries promoting characteristics that include significant facial hair and a deep voice.

Medication that treats certain types of infections.

Produced by the immune system, these are proteins located in the blood identify and neutralize foreign substances, such as bacteria and viruses that cause infection.

The opening of the alimentary canal on the outside of the body.

Assisted Vaginal Delivery
When the help of forceps or a vacuum device is used in a vaginal delivery.

Atypical Hyperplasia
When cells in the breast or lobes or ducts increase in number and look abnormal under a microscope.


Bacterial Vaginosis
An infection in the vagina that is caused by the overgrowth of a number of organisms that are normally found in the vagina.

Barrier Method
A type of contraception when sperm is prevented from entering the female reproductive system.

Bartholin Gland
About the size of a pea, they are one of two small organs that are located just under the skin at the entrance to the vagina and produce some of the lubrication during sexual excitement.

This is describing when something is non-cancerous.

A (minor) surgical procedure removing a small piece of tissue that’s examined in a laboratory under a microscope.

Birth Control
A method in pregnancy prevention.

When someone is sexually attracted to men and women.

The muscular organ that stores urine.


Cardiovascular Disease
hese are heart diseases with conditions including diseased vessels, structural problems and blood clots.

This is a tube that is used to drain urine or other fluids from the body.

With the ability to independently replicate these are the smallest units of a structure in the body; the building blocks for all parts of the body.

Cervical Cancer
Cancer in the cervix which is the opening to the uterus at the top of the vagina.

Cervical Ripenin
When the cervix softens in preparation for labor.

The narrow, lower end of the uterus that is located at the top of the vagina.

Cesarean Delivery
When surgical incisions are made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver a baby.

A syphilis sore that appears at the place of infection.

Cancer treatment using certain drugs to destroy malignant cells.

An STI caused by bacteria that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

DNA molecule inside each cell in the body and contain the genes that determine a person’s physical makeup.

Chronic Hypertension
When high blood pressure is diagnosed before a pregnancy.

When the gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.

A thin rubber sheath that is used to cover the penis during sexual intercourse to prevent sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

Typically, in possible premature birth cases; hormones given to assist with maturing fetal lungs, for arthritis, or for other medical conditions.
Cysts: Fluid-filled sacs.

Birth control methods


Deep Vein Thrombosis
When blood clot forms in veins in areas of the body.

When the tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow in the muscle wall of the uterus.

Diabetes Mellitus
When the levels of sugar in the blood are too high.

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
When the cervix is opened (or dilated) and tissue is lightly scraped (curettage) or suctioned from the inside of the uterus.

Disseminated Gonococcal Infection
An infection from a previous untreated infection with gonorrhea and can be life-threatening. Symptoms you may experience will include chills, skin sores, fever or pain in the fingers, knees, or toes.

When there is discomfort and pain during a menstrual period.

When there is discomfort and pain during urination.


Seizures that occur in pregnancy that is related to high blood pressure.

Ectopic Pregnancy
A type of pregnancy that results in a fertilized egg growing in a place other than inside the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes.

The cell in the female reproductive system that is produced in and released from the ovaries.

When a medical instrument works with electric current to destroy tissue.

Emergency Contraception (EC)
Forms of contraception that are used after sexual intercourse and no preventative methods were used or defective methods. Typically, contraceptive pills administered within a specific time frame.

Endometrial Ablation
Procedure when the lining of the uterus is destroyed to stop or reduce menstrual bleeding.

Endometrial Biopsy
Procedure when a small amount of the tissue lining the uterus is removed and examined under a microscope.

Endometrial Cancer
When cancer is found in the lining of the uterus.

When tissue that lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus. It is usually found on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and other pelvic structures.

This is the lining of the uterus.

This is when a surgical incision is made into the perineum (the region between the vagina and the anus) to expand the vaginal opening for delivery.

Estimated Due Date (EDD)
The estimated date that a baby will be born.

The primary female hormone that is produced in the ovaries. They stimulate the growth of the uterine lining.


Fallopian Tubes
The tubes that the egg (or ovum) travel in that go from the ovary to the uterus.

Fetal Growth Restriction
When a fetus’s estimated weight is less than that of 9 out of 10 other fetuses of the same gestational age.

The term used to describe the baby from conception to birth.

A solid, benign breast mass.

Growths that form in the muscle of the uterus. These are typically benign.

A device that is placed around the baby’s head to help with an assisted vaginal delivery.


Gender Identity
A person’s sense of themselves as a woman, a man, or other gendered.

General Anesthesia
Medication used to produce a sleep-like state to prevent pain during surgery.

Genital Herpes
An STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) caused by a virus that produces painful, highly infectious sores on or around the sex organs.

Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause
Caused by decreased estrogen levels after menopause, symptoms include vaginal dryness, thinning of the lining of the vagina and urethra, and painful sexual intercourse.

Gestational Diabetes
When a woman without diabetes develops the condition during pregnancy.

Gestational Hypertension
High blood pressure occurring after the 20-week mark of pregnancy and is new-onset.

A sugar that is present in the blood. This is the body’s main source of fuel.

Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonists
Medical therapy used to control and block the effects of certain hormones.

An STI that may cause to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and arthritis.


HELLP Syndrome
A severe complication in pregnancy of high blood pressure.

This is when red blood cells are destroyed.

Hormone Therapy
When estrogen and often progestin’s are taken to help relieve some of the symptoms caused by low levels of these hormones.

A substance made by cells or organs in the body that controls the function of cells or organs.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
A virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) by attacking certain cells of the body’s immune system.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
A virus that can cause genital warts and is linked to cervical changes and cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, and throat.

This is the term for high blood pressure.

When there is a lack in thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland.

A procedure when the uterus is completely removed.

A procedure using a special X-ray in which a small amount of fluid is placed into the fallopian tubes and uterus to observe abnormal changes in their size and shape or to determine whether the tubes are blocked.

Hysteroscopic Sterilization
When the opening of each fallopian tube is blocked with scar tissue that is formed by the insertion of small implants, preventing sperm from entering the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.

Using a device called a hysteroscope, it is inserted into the uterus through the cervix to observe the inside of the uterus or perform surgery.


In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
When an egg is removed from a woman’s ovary then it is fertilized in a laboratory with a man’s sperm and finally transferred to the woman’s uterus to achieve a pregnancy.

Uncontrolled leakage of urine, feces, or gas.

When someone experiences pain, swelling, redness, and irritation of tissues in the body.

Intrauterine device (IUD)
A device that is small is inserted to the left inside of the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Iron-Deficiency Anemia
When the level of the body’s iron is abnormally low.


Kick Count

This is when the number of times a fetus moves within a certain period is logged.


Two organs that regulate the balance of fluid in the body, cleans the blood and removes liquid waste. 


Labia Majora
The larger outer area of the external female genitalia.

Labia Minora
The smaller inner area of the external female genitalia.

An instrument used to perform surgeries. The instrument is inserted into the abdominal cavity through a small incision to view internal organs.

The purpose of this procedure is to be able to view the pelvic organs, an instrument called a laparoscope (or sometimes other instruments) is inserted into the pelvic cavity through a small incision.

When a female is sexually attracted to other females.

Liver Enzymes
These are chemicals that are made by liver cells. If elevated levels are present, it may indicate liver damage.

Local Anesthesia
Medication used to prevent pain in a part of the body during a procedure.

An inflammatory disorder that causes changes in the joints, skin, kidneys, lungs, heart, or brain.


When a fetus’s weight is estimated to be between 9 pounds and 10 pounds.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
By using magnetic fields and radio waves, an MRI can produce images of internal organs and structures.

An imaging technique to detect breast cancer using X-rays of the breast. The image produced is referred to as a mammogram.

When there is an infection of the breast tissue.

When a person performs self-stimulation of the genital that typically results in an orgasm.

A beginning stool of a fetus that builds up in the bowels of said fetus.

When the membranes of the brain or spinal cord are inflamed.

When a woman’s ovaries stop releasing eggs and stop producing estrogen and progesterone which results in their inability to become pregnant.

Menstrual Cycle
A menstrual cycle is defined as the first day of menstrual bleeding of one cycle to the first day of menstrual bleeding of the next cycle.

A sterilization procedure when a small abdominal incision is made on the fallopian tubes to be closed off.

When a pregnancy is lost during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.

A myomectomy is an operation to remove fibroids while preserving the uterus.


When a condition is related to the nervous system.

A benign breast mass containing normal cells.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs
Medication that relieves pain by reducing inflammation; most are available to purchase over the counter.

A nourishing substance supplied through food, such as vitamins and minerals.


Obstetrician–Gynecologist (Ob-Gyn):
A women’s physician that has special skills, training, and education.

A physician who specializes in care for women during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period.

When bones become so fragile that they break more easily.

Located in the lower abdomen, within the female reproductive system there are a pair of organs that contain the eggs released at ovulation and produce hormones.

The process when an egg is released from one of the ovaries.

A chemical element that is necessary to sustain life.

A medication that can be used to help cause or strengthen labor contractions. It can also be used to control post-birth bleeding and induce an abortion.


Pap Test
An examination of the cervix and vagina with an extraction of cells to observe under a microscope.

Partner Notification
This is when someone identifies and informs sexual partners that they have a sexually transmitted infection so that they can be tested.

Pelvic Exam
An examination of a woman’s reproductive organs that include the vagina, vulva, cervix, uterus, ovaries rectum and pelvis.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
When there is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and nearby pelvic structures.

The period of a woman’s life that preceeds menopause. This usually extends from age 45 years to 55 years.

Perineal Tear
Typically, during childbirth, a tear of the skin or other soft tissues that separate the vagina from the anus.

The surface area between the vagina (or scrotum) and the anus.

An organ that connects the fetus to the uterus during pregnancy. It provides nourishment to and takes waste away from the fetus.

Placental Abruption
When the placenta separates from the uterine lining before the baby is born.

Disc-shaped cells that help with clumping and clotting that help the blood to clot.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
A hormonal condition with the possibility of cysts being present on the ovaries. It is related to infertility issues because the failure to release eggs regularly.

Growths (typically non-cancerous) that develop and attach to the lining on the inside of the uterus.

Postmaturity Syndrome
When a post term fetus is born with a long and lean body, a lot of scalp hair, long fingernails, and thin wrinkled skin.

Postpartum Hemorrhage
When heavy bleeding is experienced after delivery of a baby and placenta.

Postpartum Sterilization
A procedure when the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked, which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg’s path to the sperm and uterus. When done post-partum, depending on the type of delivery, it is done a few hours or days after the birth.

A disorder during pregnancy or after childbirth that causes high blood pressure, swelling of appendages and protein found in the urine.

Prenatal Care
The healthcare received during pregnancy.

Any time a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Early symptoms indicating the dawning of disease or illness.

Hormone produced in the ovaries and that prepares the lining of the uterus for pregnancy.

A manufactured form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone produced naturally by the body.

Proliferative Without Atypia
An excess in growth of normal looking cells.

Often a sign of kidney disease, this is the presence of an abnormal amount of protein in the urine.

When the reproductive organs become functional and secondary sex characteristics develop.


Radiation Therapy
Treatment with high-energy radiation used to kill malignant cells, typically in cancer cases.

The very end portion of the digestive tract.

Recurrent Infections
Reoccurring infections, usually within a short time, but may also be spread out over several months.

Regional Anesthesia
Medication that blocks sensation in certain areas of the body.

A slender medical instrument used to destroy uterine tissue with an electrical wire loop or rollerball t


Screening Test
Done to test for diseases or health conditions when symptoms are not present.

The external structure on a male containing the testicles.

Organic fluid made up of sperm produced by the male.

Sexual Intercourse
Typically, with heterosexuals that involve penetration of the vagina by the penis.

Sexual Orientation
Describing someone’s sexual or emotional attraction to women, men, or both.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Infections from sexual contact. STI’s include gonorrhea, HPV, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV.

This examination is when sterile fluid is inserted into the uterus using a tube.

A device that is used to hold open the walls of the vagina.

A male produced cell in the testes that can fertilize a female egg.

Creams, gels or foams that inactivate sperm.

Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery
A vaginal birth without assistance from devices such as, forceps or a vacuum.

A method of birth control that is considered permanent and irreversible.

Delivery of a deceased baby.

Caused by an organism called, Treponema Pallidum, this is a sexually transmitted infection that may cause major health problems or death in its later stages.


A pair of male organs that produce sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone.

Occurs when blood does not clot correctly.

Tranexamic Acid
Medication used to treat or prevent heavy bleeding.

When someone’s gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Transvaginal Ultrasound
Using a device called a transducer, an ultrasound performed that produces sound waves by bouncing off body tissue.

Describing the divided 3-month terms in a pregnancy.


In Obstetrics, this is a test in which sound waves are used to examine a fetus.

Umbilical Cord
A flexible cord-like structure that contains blood vessels that connect the placenta to the fetus.

The duct leading from one of the kidneys to the bladder.

A tube-like structure that urine flows from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Uterine Artery Embolization (UAE)
A procedure to treat fibroids by blocking blood vessels with small particles to cut off the blood supply to the uterine body.

Located in the female pelvic, a muscular organ that contains and nourishes a developing fetus during pregnancy.


Vacuum Device
A metal or plastic cup that is applied to the fetus’ head with suction to assist delivery.

A flexible, elastic tube-like structure surrounded by muscles leading from the uterus to the outside of the body.

Vas Deferens
The duct that carries sperm from each male testis to the prostate gland.

A method of permanent male sterilization when a part of the vas deferens is removed.

The opening or entrance of the vaginal canal.

The external area of female genitalia.

Unexplained, chronic vulva pain that is not caused by a skin disease or infection.


Yeast Infection
When an overgrowth of the fungus Candida happens around the vagina and vulva.


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