Useful Medical Terms

It is important to Advanced Health Care for Women that patients feel comfortable and informed when it comes to their health. We offer these brief definitions to some medical terminology and women’s health issues to give you a better understanding of medical terms that you may hear at our office.

This general information is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services for these or any other medical conditions or concerns.

Adolescent Gynecology: Growing girls and young women have both medical and emotional needs. Younger patients are often seen for pelvic pain, menstrual cramps and disorders, vulvovaginal problems, STDs, and contraceptives.

Alternatives to Hysterectomy: There are alternatives to surgery for hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) when problems arise. New medications, technologies and procedures can be used. The benefits are lower risk, quicker recovery, and less expense.

Biofeedback Therapy: Biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control your body’s functions. This technique has proven successful in many problematic areas including urinary incontinence. With biofeedback, you’re connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing or engaging certain muscles, to achieve the results you want.

Colposcopy: This is an in-office test done following an abnormal PAP smear result. The physician uses a magnifying device to look more closely at the area, and may take a sample of cells from the cervix to examine under a microscope.

Cryoablation: When menstrual periods are too heavy, too frequent or last too long, this simple in-office procedure cools the uterus, which can effectively return periods to normal or even lighter than usual. It is done in the office in about 30 minutes and does not require anesthesia.

Da Vinci Surgical System: The DaVinci system is a robotic surgical system that is controlled by a physician from a console. It is designed to facilitate complex surgery using a minimally invasive procedure. It is commonly used for gynecological surgical procedures.

Endometrial Ablation: Endometrial ablation, an in-office procedure, is used to control heavy or prolonged bleeding. The physician uses laser, heat, or a freezing technique and local anesthesia.

Endometriosis: This is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrium) grows in other areas of the body. It can cause pain, irregular bleeding, and possible infertility.

Essure: The Essure system is a type of permanent birth control for women. The Essure system includes two small metal and fiber coils that are placed in the fallopian tubes. They’re inserted through the vagina, so no incision is required. After insertion, scar tissue forms around the coils, blocking off the fallopian tubes and preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

Excessive Vaginal Bleeding: At any age, excessive bleeding during a period or at other times may occur. There are many reasons for excessive bleeding, and your physician will work with you to uncover the cause and offer solutions. Excessive bleeding is subjective; however if bleeding requires changing a pad every 1-2 hours, it is considered excessive.

Hormone Replacement: Menopausal women often experience symptom relief from hormone therapy, usually estrogen. Bioidentical hormones are hormones that closely match those made naturally by humans.

HPV (Human Papillomavirus): A sexually transmitted virus, HPV is usually harmless and may even go away on its own. However, the virus can cause genital warts and cancer of the cervix, vagina or vulva. Women under 26 can be vaccinated against HPV.

Hysterectomy: In some cases, removing the uterus may be necessary to treat certain conditions, including cancer and large fibroids. It may be done through the vagina or through in an incision in the abdomen. There are also many alternatives to hysterectomy.

Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy is used to detect fibroids and diagnose dysfunctional bleeding, infertility, recurrent miscarriages, or adhesions. A hysteroscope is a thin instrument insert through the cervix that allows the physician to see inside of the uterus. Other instruments may be used to treat the problem once it is detected.

Interstitial Cystitis: IC is also know as bladder pain syndrome. It is a chronic inflammatory condition of the submucosal and muscular layers of the bladder. It is characterized by uncomfortable bladder pressure, bladder pain and/or pain in the pelvis, which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.

Laparoscopy: A minimally-invasive surgical technique that uses thin instruments inserted into small incisions, usually in the abdomen. Laparoscopy is often used to diagnose and treat endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease.

Laser Cervical Procedures/Laser Ablation: If abnormal cells are detected during a colposcopy, a laser may be used to remove the tissue. The procedure takes about 15 minutes in the office, and local anesthesia is used to numb the area.

Minimally Invasive Surgery: Minimally invasive surgery does not involve a large incision. Usually, one or more small incisions are made and specially designed surgical instruments inserted. Many gynecologic surgeries are now performed with minimally invasive techniques.

Menopause: The time after monthly periods and fertility have ended. Hormonal changes and physical symptoms leading up to menopause occur during peri-menopause, and can range from uncomfortable to disruptive.

Osteoporosis: As women age, bones may become weak and lead to fractures. A bone density scan measures bone strength. Once detected, women can take steps to strengthen their bones.

Peri-Menopause: Peri-menopause marks the two- to eight-year time period that starts at the beginning of the body’s transition to menopause and ends after the first year without periods. A natural biological process, the hormonal changes and physical symptoms can range from uncomfortable to disruptive.

Total Pelvic Relaxation: Pelvic relaxation is a weakening of the supportive muscles and ligaments of the pelvic floor. This condition is usually caused by childbirth, aging, and problems with support, causes the pelvic floor to sag and press into the wall of the vagina. When the pelvic floor becomes stretched and damaged, these organs can sag into the vagina.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound is the use of ultrasonic waves for diagnostic purposes to visualize internal body structures.

Urinary Incontinence: UI is the involuntary loss of urine. Some women may lose a few drops of urine while active or coughing. Others may suddenly loose a large amount of urine. Many women experience both symptoms. UI can range from a bit bothersome to debilitating.

Urinary Tract Infection: An infection of the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra. Not everyone with a UTI has symptoms, but common symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate and pain or burning when urinating. Treatment usually involves increased fluid intake and use of antibiotics.

Urodynamics Exam: Are measurements taken to evaluate your bladder’s function and efficiency. It assesses how the bladder and urethra are performing their job of storing and releasing urine.