Women's Health Glossary - Definitions
 

Glossary

The following is a glossary of terms commonly used in women's healthcare and on vaginalpainhelp.com.  The glossary will be updated as we obtain more information about women's healthcare needs. If you would like to share your opinion about the glossary, please contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

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 0-9

A

Atropic vaginitis - inflamation of the vagina due to thinning tissue and decreased lubrication. It is related to reduced estrogen levels. 

B

Bacterial vaginosis - a type of vaginal infection in which the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina is disrupted, allowing the overgrowth of harmful anaerobic bacteria at the expense of protective bacteria.

C

Candida - any type of yeast-like imperfect fungi of the genus Candida that are normally present on the skin and in the mucous membranes of the mouth, intestinal tract, and vagina.

Candida albicans - a parasitic fungus that can infect the mouth or the skin or the intestines or the vagina.

Candidal - pertaining to or caused by candida.

Candidal vulvovaginitis - an inflammation of the vulva and vagina or the small glands on either side of the lower part of the vagina caused by the candida fungus.

Candidiasis - an infection of the skin with candida fungus.

Chronic pelvic pain - pain in the pelvic area that lasts for 6 months or longer.

Colposcopy - a procedure in which the cervix is examined with a colposcope for abnormalities and a tissue sample is taken.

Cystitis - inflammation of the urinary bladder and ureter causing discomfort or pain in  the bladder and abdomen. Some people have an urgent or frequent need to urinate. 

D

Dermatitis - an inflammation causing the skin to become itchy which may develop blisters.

Dyspareunia - persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after intercourse resulting in personal distress.

E

Endometriosis - the presence of endometyrium in areas other than the lining of the uterus, as on the ovaries, resulting in premenstrual pain.

Estrogen - steroid hormones produced chiefly by the ovaries and responsible for promoting sexual desire and the development and maintenance of female secondary sex characteristics.

F

Female infertility - the inability to achieve conception after persistent attempts over a given period of time, usually one year.

Feminine hygiene - the personal care and cleansing fo the vulvar and vaginal tissues.

G

Gynecologist - someone that practices the branch of medicine dealing with health care for women, especially the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive organs.

Gynecology - the branch of medicine dealing with health care for women, especially the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the female reproductive organs.

H

I

Interstitial cystitis - a chronic condition characterized by a combination of uncomfortable bladder pressure, bladder pain and sometimes pain in the pelvis, ranging from mild burning or discomfort to severe pain.

J

K

Keratosis - a rough, scally patch on skin that develops from years of exposure to the sun.  It is most commonly found on the face, lips, ears, back of hands, forearms, scalp or neck.

L

Labia - any of four folds of tissue of the female external genitalia.

Labia minora - the two small inner folds of skin in human females forming the margins of the vaginal orifice.

Lichen planus - an eruption of shiny flat-topped purplish (usually itchy) papules.

Lichen sclerosus - any of various skin diseases characterized by patchy eruptions of small, firm papules.

Localized vulvodynia - pain felt only in the vestibule ( the opening to the vagina)

M

N

National Vulvodynia Association - an educational, nonprofit organization founded to disseminate information on vulvodynia.

O

Obstetrician gynecologists - someone that provides primary health care to women.

P

Pelvic floor - several layers of muscle attached to the front, back and sides of pelvic bones, which work like a hammock to support the pelvic organs, including the uterus, small intestine and rectum.

Pelvic floor dysfunction - symptoms include constipation and the sensation of incomplete emptying of the rectum when having a bowel movement.

Pelvic inflammatory disease - an infection and inflammation of the female reproductive organs which can scar the tubes that carry eggs from the ovary to the uterus and can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic pain and other problems.

Pelvic pain - pain occurring mostly in the lower abdomen area. The pain might be steady, or it might come and go.

Pelvis - a basin-shaped structure of the vertebrate skeleton, composed of the innominate bones on the sides, the pubis in front, the sacrum and coccyx behind, that rests on the lower limbs and supports the spinal column.

Physical therapy - the treatment of physical dysfunction or injury by the use of therapeutic exercise and the application of modalities intended to restore or facilitate normal function or development.

Primary vaginismus -

Q

R

S

Sexual dysfunction - having difficulty in performing sexual intercourse.

Sexual intercourse - the act carried out for procreation or for pleasure in which the insertion of the male's erect penis into the females's vagina is followed by rhythmic thrusting usually culminating in orgasm, copulation, or coitus.

T

U

V

Vagina - the female organ from the opening of the vulva to the cervix of the uterus.

Vaginal cream - a topical medication for the vagina.

Vaginal examination - an inspection of the vagina.

Vaginal irritation - a discomfort or pain of the vagina.

Vaginal lips - the labia (labia minora and labia majora) of the vulva.

Vaginal opening - the passage leading from the opening of the vulva to the cervix of the uterus in females.

Vaginal surgery - the medical procedure of the vagina by incision.

Vaginal vestibule - the inner most area of the vulva closest to the vaginal entrance just outside the hymen.

Vaginismus - prolonged and painful contraction or spasm of the vagina.

Vaginitis - inflammation (as from bacterial or fungal infection, allergic reaction, or hormone deficiency) of the vagina that may be marked by irritation and vaginal discharge.

Vaginosis - an abnormal or diseased condition of the vagina.

Vestibulitis - inflammation of the vulvar vestibule and the periglandular and subepithelial stroma, resulting in a burning sensation and dyspareunia.

Vulva - the external parts of the female genital organs comprising of the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vestibule of the vagina, bulb of the vestibule, and Bartholin's glands.

Vulvar - of or relating to the vulva.

Vulvar anatomy - the structure of the vulva.

Vulvar area - the external parts of the female genital organs comprising of the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vestibule of the vagina, bulb of the vestibule, and Bartholin's glands.

Vulvar dystrophy - a disorder characterized by skin eruptions.

Vulvar examination - an inspection of the female exteral organs.

Vulvar skin - the covering of the female external organs.

Vulvar tissue - the group of cells comprising the female external organs. 

Vulvar vestibule - the inner most area of the vulva closest to the vaginal entrance just outside the hymen

Vulvar vestibulitis - inflammation of the vulvar vestibule and the periglandular and subepithelial stroma, resulting in a burning sensation and dyspareunia.

Vulvar vestibulitis syndrome - is also known as vestibulitis.

Vulvectomy - surgical excision of the vulva.

Vulvodynia - chronic discomfort of the vulva of uncertain cause that is experience as burning, stinging, or irritation.

Vulvovaginal - of or relating to the vulva and the vagina.

Vvulvovaginitis - an inflammation of the vulva and vagina or the small glands on either side of the lower part of the vagina.

V V S - Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome.

 W

X

Y

Yeast - a fungus that exists harmlessly in the vagina

Yeast infection - an infection of the vagina caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus characterized by vaginal discharge.

Z

Symptoms

Read more about symptoms affecting the vulva and vagina that may be causing discomfort or pain.

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Disorders

Read more about vulvar and vaginal disorders that affect women and their quality of life.

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