November 1, 2014
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Menopause

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Menopause glossary

cervix: The lower part of the uterus that joins with the top of the vagina.

estrogen: A hormone produced in the ovaries. It is involved in the menstrual cycle and in developing and maintaining female sexual characteristics (e.g., breasts).

FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): A hormone which helps an egg to mature during the menstrual cycle.

hot flashes: A sudden, strong feeling of warmth that often starts in the chest area and moves to the neck and face. Sweating, anxiety, and a pounding heartbeat may also occur.

hot flushes: See hot flashes.

LH (luteinizing hormone): A hormone produced during the menstrual cycle. LH causes an egg to be released from the ovaries

Kegel exercises: Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

menopause: The period of a woman's life that begins when she has not had a menstrual period for at least 12 months in a row because her ovaries have stopped functioning (or have been removed or damaged).

ovary: One of a pair of female reproductive organs that release eggs. The ovaries also produce the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.

pelvic organ prolapse: A condition that occurs when the pelvic floor muscles become too weak to support organs such as the uterus (which can slip down into the vagina), the bladder, or parts of the bowel (which can slip down and bulge into the walls of the vagina).

perimenopause: The years leading up to menopause, during which levels of female hormones fluctuate more widely than normal from month to month as hormone production gradually decreases and periods become irregular. Perimenopause usually lasts 2 to 8 years, with an average of 5 years.

postmenopause: The period of a woman's life that begins after her final menstrual period.

premenopause: A woman's reproductive life prior to menopause.

progesterone: A female hormone, produced in the ovaries, that is involved in the menstrual cycle (to prepare the uterus for pregnancy each month), in supporting a pregnancy, and in milk production.

the change: An older term for menopause.

the climacteric: A medical term for menopause.

urinary incontinence: Inability to hold urine.

urinary tract infection: An infection of the urinary tract. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, ureters (tubes joining the kidneys to the bladder), bladder, and urethra (tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body).

urogenital aging: Changes in a woman's vagina, bladder, and urethra (tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body), resulting from decreased estrogen levels after menopause as well as general aging of the tissues.

uterus: Also known as the womb, the uterus is the organ which holds the developing baby during pregnancy. It is pear-shaped and located in a woman's abdomen.


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