Fibroids: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to fibroids.

Anemia: Too few red blood cells in the blood. This results in too little oxygen getting to tissues and organs. Symptoms are feeling easily or always tired, lack of skin color, and getting frequent infections. Sometimes referred to as “low blood count.”

Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or sensation in all or part of the body. Usually used to mean loss of sensation of pain, which is achieved by giving drugs before surgery. General anesthesia is total unconsciousness. Local anesthesia is loss of sensation in part of the body; it is used for minor surgery.

Artery: A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.

Bladder: Organ in the pelvic region that stores urine.

Blood transfusion: The process of injecting additional blood into a sick person. Usually the blood is donated by a healthy person. Sometimes a person will have some of their own blood drawn and stored before having surgery and re-injected after surgery. This is called an autologous blood transfusion.

Bowel: A general term for the small and large intestines, the organs that digest and eliminate food.

Catheter: A flexible tube that is inserted into an opening in the body. It may be used to drain fluids from the body or to insert fluids into the body.

Cervix: The neck of the uterus, which connects the uterus with the vagina.

Cesarean section: Surgery to deliver a baby by cutting open the abdomen and uterus. Recommended when a vaginal delivery is considered dangerous to the baby and/or the mother.

Constipated: Suffering from difficult, painful, or infrequent movement of the bowels.

Diagnosis: Identifying a disease based on its signs and symptoms.

Endometriosis: A disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found in other organs in the pelvic region. Symptoms are pain in the pelvis and painful menstrual bleeding.

Estrogen: A hormone that promotes the growth and development of breasts, female sex organs, other female sexual characteristics.

Fallopian tubes: Tubes through which eggs travel from the ovaries to the uterus each month during ovulation.

Fertility: The ability to become pregnant and give birth to a child.

Groin: The area of the body where the thigh meets the abdomen.

Hemorrhage: Heavy or uncontrollable bleeding.

Hormone: A substance produced by the body that stimulates activity by organs or tissues elsewhere in the body. Estrogen and progesterone are female sex hormones.

Incision: A cut made in the body to perform surgery.

Laser: A device that produces a thin, high-energy light beam. Used in surgery to operate on a small area of the body without damaging surrounding tissue.

Menopause: The period in a woman’s life when ovulation and menstrual periods stop and she is no longer able to bear children. Levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone decline at menopause. This can cause symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Osteoporosis: A condition in which the bones weaken due to loss of calcium and are prone to fracture. A common condition in older women.

Ovaries: Female reproductive organs located on either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Ovulation: The monthly process in which an egg, released from the ovaries, travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus.

Pelvis: A basin-shaped cavity in the lower abdomen, containing the bladder, bowel, and reproductive organs.

Placenta: A special lining that grows within the uterus during pregnancy to nourish the developing fetus. Sometimes called the afterbirth because it is expelled from the uterus a few hours after childbirth.

Polyp: A growth in a bodily organ that is lined by a moist membrane. Polyps are usually benign (not cancerous).

Postpartum: The period of time immediately after childbirth.

Progesterone: A hormone that promotes the growth and development of breasts, female sex organs, other female sexual characteristics.

Side effect: An unwanted effect produced by a medication or other medical treatment.

Tranquilizer: A medication that produces a calming effect, relieving tension and anxiety.

Tumor: An abnormal mass of tissue that results from excessive cell division. A tumor may be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A fibroid tumor is benign

Uterus: The female reproductive organ in which a fetus grows during pregnancy. Also called the womb.

Vagina: The female organ of sexual intercourse. Also the passage through which a baby is delivered in normal childbirth.

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