Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone Replacement Therapy: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to hormone replacement therapy.

Alzheimer’s disease: A type of dementia that causes confusion, memory failure, speech disturbances, and inability to function.

Androstenedione: One of the male hormones that is produced in small quantities in a woman’s body; the other is testosterone.

Bladder: The sac within the body that stores the urine.

Blood pressure: The pressure that circulating blood places on the walls of the arteries, the veins, and the chambers of the heart.

Breast self-examination: A procedure that women use to examine their breast for lumps, involving feeling breast tissue with the fingers and visually examining the breasts.

Cardiovascular disease: Any abnormal condition caused by problems with the heart and blood vessels; it is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Chemotherapy: The treatment of cancer with chemical agents.

Cholesterol: A fat-like substance normally present in the bloodstream and needed for the development of body cells. Cholesterol is both produced by the body and found in animal foods. Although it is a necessary substance, if levels of cholesterol are too high, it can be deposited on artery walls, eventually narrowing or blocking blood flow. There are two types of cholesterol, know as “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and “good cholesterol” (HDL).

Clinical breast exam: An examination of the breasts by a health care provider.

Colorectal cancer: Cancer of the large intestine and/or rectum, characterized by a change in bowel habits and passing blood in the stool.

Dementia: A progressive mental disorder characterized by personality changes, confusion, disorientation, diminished intelligence, and impaired memory and judgment.

Endometrial cancer: One of the types of cancer of the uterus, from the lining of the cells of the uterus.

Endometriosis: An abnormal condition in which tissue from the uterus grow in other locations in the body, causing pain and infertility.

Estrogen: A female hormone made by the ovaries that plays an important role in the reproduction process and promotes the development of female sex characteristics.

Fallopian tubes: The tubes that lead from each ovary to the uterus, through which the eggs produced in the ovaries travel.

Fibroids: A noncancerous muscle growth that most often occurs in the wall of the uterus.

Gallstones: A noncancerous stone that forms in the gall bladder, causing pain and sometimes requiring surgery

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): A treatment for women who have reached or passed menopause that involves taking small doses of the female hormone estrogen.

Hot flashes: A sensation of warmth, particularly in the face and neck, in women during or after menopause.

Hysterectomy: The surgical removal of the uterus; occasionally the ovaries are removed as well.

Incontinence: The involuntary release of urine.

Mammogram: The x-ray image of the breast produced with mammography.

Mammography: A low-dose x-ray examination of the breast that can spot cancers as small as a grain of table pepper.

Menopause: The period in a woman’s life when her menstrual periods end; often referred to as the “change of life.”

Menstrual periods: The periodic discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus in a monthly cycle.

Menstruation: The monthly discharge through the vagina of blood and tissue from the shedding of the lining of a nonpregnant uterus.

Night sweats: Hot flashes that happen at night and can be accompanied by sweating.

Osteoarthritis: A form of arthritis in which the a joint degenerates, usually due to “wear and tear,” causing pain and restricting movement.

Osteoporosis: A disorder in which the bones become porous, fragile, and susceptible to fracture; it is a major cause of pain and disability, particularly in older women.

Ovaries: The pair of reproductive organs in women that produce eggs and the female sex hormones.

Pelvic exam: The examination of a woman’s reproductive system, externally and internally, by a health care provider.

Postmenopausal – After the onset of menopause.

Progesterone: A female hormone made by the ovaries that plays an important role in the reproduction process.

Progestin: The artificial form of progesterone that can be taken by mouth or injection as a hormonal supplement.

Radiation therapy: The use of high-powered x-rays to destroy cancer cells.

Soy: A type of food made from beans and available in various forms in most grocery stores that has high nutritional value.

Testosterone: One of the male hormones that is produced in small quantities in a woman’s body; the other is androsterone.

Thromboembolism: A condition in which a blood clot forms inside a blood vessel.

Urethra: The passageway through which urine passes from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Urinary tract infection: An infection of one or more structures within the urinary tract that can cause frequent urination, burning, and pain.

Uterus: Also called womb, it is the part of a women’s reproductive system where a developing baby grows.

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