Glossary of Terms

Acute (a-CUTE)
Having rapid onset, severe symptoms and a short course, not chronic.

Amenorrhea (a-men-o-re'a)
Absence of menstrual periods.

Antibody (AN-ti-bod-dee) A protein produced by certain cells in the body in the presence of a specific antigen. The antibody combines with that antigen to neutralize, inhibit or destroy it.

Antigen (AN-ti-jen)
Any substance that when introduced into the tissues or blood induces the formation of antibodies and reacts only with its specific antibody.

Birth canal
Another term for vagina; the passage a fetus travels through during birth.

Bladder
The organ that holds urine - liquid body waste.

Bloating
Swollen beyond normal size due to retention of fluid.

 

Celibacy
The act of not having sexual intercourse. Abstaining from sex.

Cervix (cer'-vix)
The neck of the uterus, which protrudes into the vagina, and that has a small opening (about the size of a pencil point), through which menstrual fluid escapes.

Chlamydia (kla-MID-e'a)
A sexually transmitted disease, caused by a bacteria, often symptomless. Can cause serious medical problems if left untreated (as in PID). Easily treated and cured.

Chronic (KRON-ik)
Long-term, used to describe a disease that is not acute.

Corpus Luteum (kor-pus lu'ti-um)
A small yellow structure that develops within a ruptured ovarian follicle, and secretes progesterone.

Cyst A pocket-like structure, generally filled with fluid or semisolid material

Diagnosis (di-ag-NO-sis)
Determining the nature of a disease from the signs and symptoms by examination, inspection, laboratory tests, and by other means.

Dysmenorrhea (dis-men-o-re'a)
Painful menstruation; cramps, sometimes debilitating.

Ejaculation (e-jak-u-a'shun)
Forceful sending out of seminal fluid from the penis. See Premature Ejaculation.

Embryo (em'bri-o)
A name given to a fertilized ovum, from the second through the eighth week of development.

Endocrine gland (en'do-krin)
An organ that manufactures hormones and sends them out into the bloodstream.

Endometrium (en-do-me'-tri-um)
The mucous membrane lining the inner surface of the uterus.

Epididymis (ep-i-did'-i-mis)
A coiled tube through which sperm exit the testes.

Erection (e-rek'shun)
Hardening of the penis.

Estrogen (es'tro-gen)
Female sex hormone produced by the ovaries.

Excretory system (eks'kre-tor-e)
Organs that eliminate waste from the body.

Fallopian tubes (fa-lo'pi-an)
Tubes that transport the female egg (or ovum) from the ovary to the uterus. Also called uterine tube or oviduct.

Fertilization (fer-til-iz-a'-shun)
Union of the ovum (female egg) with the sperm (male sex cell).

Fetus (fe'tus)
An infant developing in the uterus, from the third month to birth.

Flaccid
The relaxed state of the penis.

Follicle (foll'i-kel)
A sphere-shaped structure in the ovary, made up of an immature egg and surrounding layer of cells.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (foll'i-kel)
The pituitary hormone that stimulates development of ovarian follicles.

Forskin (or Prepuce)

The foreskin is the loose fold of skin which partly covers the tip, or head (glans) of the penis. Circumcision is the cutting away of the foreskin. When an uncircumcised penis is not erect, the foreskin almost completely covers the tip of the penis. When the penis becomes erect, the foreskin retracts - (pulls back) and the tip of the penis becomes exposed.

Genitals (gen'it-als)
Reproductive organs.

Gingivitis (jin-je-VI-tis)
Inflammation of the gums.

Graafian follicle (graf'-e-an foll'-i-kel)
A nearly mature egg or ovum, contained in a layer of cells, which ruptures when ovulation takes place.

Growth Spurt
A rapid increase in height and weight, which typically occurs during puberty.

Gynecomastia (gine-e-ko-MAS-tee-a)
Excessive growth of the male mammary glands due to the secretion of estrogen by an adrenal tumor or from excessive marijuana use.

Hormones
Special chemicals secreted by endocrine glands, which cause changes in specific areas of the body.

Hymen (HI-men)
A thin fold of flexible membrane that partially covers the vaginal opening.

Leukorrhea (lu'ko-ri-a)
A thick whitish vaginal discharge.

Luteinizing Hormone (lu'ten-i-zing)
Pituitary hormone that stimulates estrogen secretion, ovulation, and formation of the corpus luteum.

Membrane
A thin, soft, pliable layer of body tissue.

Menarche (men'ark)
The first menstrual period.

Menopause (men'o-pawz)
Menopause - The stage at which menstrual activity ends.

Menstrual Cycle
The period of time measured from the beginning of menstruation (a period), through the series of regularly occurring changes in the ovaries and uterus, until the beginning of the next menstrual period.

Menstruation (men-stru-a'-shun)
The monthly discharge of blood and cells from the lining of the uterus.

Nocturnal Emission (nocturnal e-mi'shun)
The passing of semen from the urethra during sleep; a wet dream.

Ovary (o'va-re)
One of a pair of female reproductive glands, which hold and develop eggs and produce estrogen and progesterone.

Ovulation (ov-u-1a'-shun)
The periodic release of a mature egg from an ovary.

Ovum (o'vum)
A female sex cell, or egg. (Plural: ova)

Penis
The male reproductive organ involved in sexual intercourse and elimination of urine.

Pituitary Gland (pi-too'i-ta-re)
An endocrine gland attached to the base of the brain, which secretes hormones.

Pregnancy
The condition of carrying a developing embryo in the uterus.

Prepuce
Another name for the foreskin is the prepuce. See foreskin above.

Premenstrual Syndrome
(Premenstrual) Symptoms (PMS) - such as tension, anxiety, breast tenderness, and bloating, which begin several days prior to the onset of menstruation, and subside when menstruation begins.

Progesterone (pro'jes-ter-one)
A hormone that is involved with the menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

Prostaglandins (pros'ta-glan-dinz)
A group of chemicals produced in the uterus, which tend to stimulate contractions and may cause cramps.

Puberty (pyu'ber-te)
The period of life during which an individual becomes capable of reproduction.

Scrotum (skro'tum)
The pouch of skin behind the penis that holds the testes.

Secretion (se-kre'shun)
The process by which glands release certain materials into the bloodstream.

Semen (se'men)
A thick fluid, containing a mixture of glandular secretions and sperm cells, that is discharged from the penis during ejaculation.

Seminal vesicle (sem'i-nal ves'i-kel)
One of two glands located behind the male bladder, which secrete a fluid that forms part of semen.

Sexual Intercourse
The erect penis of the male entering the vagina of the female.

Sperm
Mature male sex cell.

Spermatozoa
The mature sperm cell (0.05 ml. long)

Spermatozoon
The mature male sex cell containing 23 chromosomes.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (staf(y)-lo-kokus aw're-us)
The type of germ believed to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

Tampon
A tampon is an absorbent product that is placed inside the vagina to soak up menstrual fluid. They are available with different levels of absorbency for heavy, medium, and light flow.

Testicle (tes'tis; tes'tik-er)
One of two male reproductive glands, which produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. (Plural: testes)
See TSE.

Testosterone (tes-tos'ter-on)
A male sex hormone, which causes the development of secondary sexual characteristics.

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS)
A rare, but potentially serious disease that has been associated with tampon use. TSS is believed to be caused by toxin-producing strains of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus. The warning signs of TSS are: a sudden fever of 102F° / 38.9°C or more, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, dizziness and fainting, or near fainting, when standing up.

Urethra (u-re'-thra)
A canal that carries urine from the bladder to the urinary opening. In males, the urethra is also the passageway for semen.

Urination
The act of eliminating urine, liquid waste, from the body. (Peeing)

Uterus (u-ter-us)
The hollow, muscular organ in females that is the site of menstruation, implantation, and development the fetus if fertilization occurs. Also called the womb.

Vagina (va-ji'na)
The canal that forms the passageway from the uterus to the outside of the body.

Vaginal Discharge
A fluid that comes out of the vagina from the cervical canal or vagina.

Vas deferens (vas def'e-renz)
A thin tube that transports sperm from the testis to the urethra.

Virgin
A person who has not had sexual intercourse.

Vulva (vul'va)
The external female genitalia, including the labia, clitoris, and vaginal opening.

Zygote (zi'got)
A cell produced by the union of a sperm and egg.

Check out "Articles" for some of those topics.

Also see Sexual Terminology.




 

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