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Definitions

HPV vaccine

In June 2006, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases in females caused by certain types of genital human papillomavirus (HPV). The vaccine, Gardasil®, protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently licensed this vaccine for use in girls/women, ages 9-26 years. The vaccine is given through a series of three shots over a six-month period. Ideally, females should get the vaccine before they are sexually active. This is because the vaccine is most effective in girls/women who have not yet acquired any of the four HPV types covered by the vaccine. Girls/women who have not been infected with any of those four HPV types will get the full benefits of the vaccine. Females who are sexually active may also benefit from the vaccine. But they may get less benefit from the vaccine since they may have already acquired one or more HPV type(s) covered by the vaccine. Few young women are infected with all four of these HPV types. So they would still get protection from those types they have not acquired. Currently, there is no test available to tell if a girl/woman has had any or all of these four HPV types.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common medical condition characterized by the lining of uterus growing out into the pelvis beyond the uterine lining. Every month when you menstruate, you also bleed internally in your pelvis and this can cause symptoms such as menstrual cramps before and during your period; pain on intercourse; back pain; and, abnormal bleeding. This condition can have an effect on fertility.

Fibroids

Uterine fibroids (singular Uterine Fibroma) (leiomyomata, singular leiomyoma) are benign tumors which grow from the muscle layers of the uterus. They are the most common tumor in females, and may affect about 25% of white and 50% of black women during the reproductive years. Uterine fibroids often do not require treatment, but when they are problematic, e.g., cause abnormal bleeding, increase in size, cause a problem with infertility, they may be treated surgically or with medication — possible interventions include a hysterectomy, hormonal therapy, a myomectomy, or uterine artery embolization. Uterine fibroids shrink dramatically in size after a woman passes through menopause.

Pap Smear

The Pap test, also called a Pap smear, checks for changes in the cells of your cervix. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina (birth canal). The Pap test can tell if you have an infection, abnormal (unhealthy) cervical cells, or cervical cancer. It can find the earliest signs of cervical cancer - a common cancer in women. If caught early, the chance of curing cervical cancer is very high. Treatment can prevent most cases of cervical cancer from developing. Getting regular Pap tests and HPV tests is the best thing you can do to prevent cervical cancer.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause, or menopause transition, is the stage of a woman's reproductive life that begins several years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman's 40s. Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs. In the last one to two years of perimenopause, this decline in estrogen accelerates. At this stage, many women experience menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, anxiety or depression.

Menopause

Menopause is the time in a woman's life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, most often after age 45 with the average age being 51. Menopause happens because the woman's ovary stops producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year. Changes and symptoms can start several years earlier.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility in women. The classic syndrome is a lack of periods, increased hair growth in a similar pattern to a man (e.g., on the face, chest and stomach), obesity or any variation on the theme. It can have long term implications for diabetes and heart disease.

Abdominal Myomectomy

An abdominal myomectomy is the removal of fibroids through an incision in the abdomen, typically through a horizontal ("bikini") incision, even for large fibroids. There is no limit to the size or number of fibroids that can be removed. This is a hospital based procedure; patients are usually released within 48 hours after surgery.

Total Abdominal Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus. In some cases, the ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed during a hysterectomy procedure. This is called a salpingo-oophorectomy. A total hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus and the cervix, which is the lower "neck" of the uterus that opens into the vagina.

Supercervical Hysterectomy

This procedure takes only the body of the uterus and leaves the cervix and ovaries behind.

Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy

A Laparoscopically Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy (LAVH) is a procedure using laparoscopic surgical techniques and instruments to remove the uterus (womb) and/or tubes and ovaries through the vagina (birth canal). Potentially, it can convert what would have been an abdominal hysterectomy into a vaginal hysterectomy and in some cases, allows for the removal of the tubes and ovaries which on occasion may not be easily removed with a vaginal hysterectomy.

Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy (BSO)

Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy is a type of surgery performed by removing the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This surgery is indicated to treat ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, uterus cancer, infections of the ovaries, hormone-dependent breast cancer and cancer of the fallopian tubes. In bilateral salpingo oophorectomy the tubes and ovaries may be extracted with an open procedure or via a laparoscope.

Bartholin Cystetomy

Removal of a cyst of a major vestibular gland.

Bilateral Tubal Ligation

Bilateral tubal ligation, also referred to as tubal sterilization or “having your tubes tied” is surgery to block a woman’s fallopian tubes. It is a permanent form of birth control. After this procedure, eggs cannot move from the ovary through the tubes (a woman has two fallopian tubes), and eventually to the uterus. Also, sperm cannot reach the egg in the fallopian tube after it is released by the ovary. Thus, pregnancy is prevented.

Hysteroscopy/D&C

This procedure is used for diagnosis and treatment. A hysteroscope is an instrument with a small camera attached that goes into the uterus and visualizes the inner cavity of the uterus. The dilation and curettage part of the procedure is called a D&C. It is obsolete today to do a D&C without a hysteroscopy. Hysteroscopy allows the doctor to see inside the uterus to see if there is normal tissue, fibroids, polyps or uterine cancer.

Laser or destruction of vagina or vulva

Used for the destruction of genital warts. The laser produces light energy which is absorbed by water within the warty tissue and there is thermal damage and ablation (destruction) of the warts.

Colposcopy

Colposcopy or colcoscopy is a medical diagnostic procedure to examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva in order to detect cervical cancer. It is done using a colposcope, which provides an enlarged view of the areas to visually distinguish normal from abnormal appearing tissue and take directed biopsies for further pathological examination.

Loop Electrocautery Excision (LEEP)

The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is currently one of the most commonly used approaches to treating high grade cervical dysplasia discovered on colposcopic examination. It is also known as "large loop excision of the transformation zone" (LLETZ). A wire loop through which an electrical current is passed at variable power settings is used and the transformation zone and lesion are excised to an adequate depth, which in most cases is at least 8 mm, and extending 4 to 5 mm beyond the lesion. A second pass with a more narrow loop can also be done to obtain an endocervical specimen for further histologic evaluation.

Cryosurgery

Cryosurgery (cryotherapy) is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue.

Cone Biopsy

Cone biopsy, also known as cervical conization, refers to a biopsy of the cervix in which a cone-shaped sample of tissue is removed from the mucous membrane. Conization may be used either for diagnostic purposes, or for therapeutic purposes to remove pre-cancerous cells. Conization of the cervix is a common treatment for dysplasia and human papillomavirus (HPV) following abnormal results from a pap smear.

Endometrial Biopsy

Endometrial biopsy is a procedure in which a tissue sample is obtained from the endometrium (the inside lining of the uterus). It is done when a woman has abnormal or post-menopausal bleeding to check for uterine cancer.  

Transvaginal Sonograms (with or without 3D)

A procedure used to examine the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and bladder. An instrument is inserted into the vagina that causes sound waves to bounce off organs inside the pelvis. These sound waves create echoes that are sent to a computer, which creates a picture called a sonogram. Also called transvaginal ultrasound and TVS.

Saline sonohysterogram (HSG)

A Saline sonohysterogram is a procedure done under sonography where saline is placed into the uterus to allow visualization of the inside of the uterus. This is to look at the uterine lining for polyps, fibroids and uterine cancer.

Diagnostic Laparoscopy

Diagnostic laparoscopy is a procedure that involves looking directly at the contents of a patient's abdomen or pelvis, including the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, small bowel, large bowel, appendix, liver, and gallbladder. There are many procedures that can be done laproscopically in gynecology.

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a diagnostic procedure that tests for chromonsomal abnormalities and can also check for lung maturity in a baby right before it is ready to deliver.

Sonogram (including 3D)

An ultrasound exam is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to scan a woman's abdomen and pelvic cavity, creating a picture (sonogram) of the baby and placenta. Although the terms ultrasound and sonogram are technically different, they are used interchangeably and reference the same exam. A 3-D Ultrasound uses specially designed probes and software to generate 3-D images of the developing fetus.

Bone Density Scan (Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA))

Dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is a technique for measuring bone mass density. A DXA scanner is a machine that produces 2 x-ray beams, each with different energy levels. One beam is high energy while the other is low energy. The amount of x-rays that pass through the bone is measured for each beam. This will vary depending on the thickness of the bone. Based on the difference between the 2 beams, the bone density can be measured. At present, DXA scanning focuses on 3 main areas -- the hip, spine and wrists. Although osteoporosis involves the whole body, measurements of BMD at one site can be predictive of fractures at other sites. Scanning generally takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete and is painless.

Homeopathy

A system of medicine employing substances of animal, vegetable or mineral origin which are given in microdosage and prepared according to homeopathic pharmacology, in accordance with the principle that a substance which produces symptoms in a healthy person can cure those symptoms in an ill person. The practice of homeopathy includes acupuncture, neuromuscular integration, orthomolecular therapy, nutrition, chelation therapy, pharmaceutical medicine and minor surgery.

Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical" hormone replacement therapy is the use of supplemental doses of steroid hormones with a chemical structure identical to endogenous human hormones (hormones naturally produced in the human body). Generally BHRT is prescribed to relieve the symptoms of menopause. It differs from conventional hormone replacement therapy, which by definition uses animal or synthetic hormones whose structures differ from those produced in the human body.