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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

A

Anovulation

Failure to ovulate.

 

Amenorrhoea

The complete absence or stoppage of periods.

C

 

Cervix

The neck of the womb.

Corpus luteum

The sac remaining after an ovarian follicle has burst.

D

DVT

Deep Vein Thrombosis the blockage of a blood vessel caused by a blood clot.

E

Embryo

The developing fertilised egg from the time of fertilisation until organ development is complete.

Endometrium

The lining of the womb (uterus). Soft tissue produced every month in the uterus. It is shed during the menstrual cycle. It is where the developing embryo implants.

F

Fibroid

A benign muscle growth in the wall of the uterus.

 

Foetus

The fully formed developing organism from the 10th week of pregnancy onwards.

 

Follicle

A fluid-filled area in the ovaries that grows in every menstrual cycle and produces a mature egg capable of fertilisation.

 

Follicle Stimulating Hormone

FSH is produced by the pituitary gland and acts on the ovaries to stimulate follicle growth.

G

Gamete

A sperm or an egg (donated gametes are sperm or eggs from a donor).

GnRH

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus that stimulates the pituitary gland to produce FSH and LH.

Gonadal dysgenesis

This term describes the failure of the ovary to develop but is also loosely applied to the presentation of ovarian failure with primary amenorrhoea and failure to develop secondary sexual characteristics.

Gonadotrophin

A hormone such as FSH or LH which simulates the ovaries.

H

hCG

Human chorionic gonadotrophin a hormone similar to LH used to stimulate ovulation during fertility drug treatments. It is produced in large amounts during pregnancy and is the basis of pregnancy tests.

hMG

Human menopausal gonadotrophin – a hormone extracted from the urine of post-menopausal women that contains FSH and LH and is given by injection to induce ovulation.

Hormone

A chemical produced in one part of the body that acts in another part.

Hypergonadotrophic hypogonadism

This term has been applied to Gonadal dysgenesis, Resistant ovary syndrome and Occult ovarian failure. Clearly each of these labels relates to one part of a spectrum of ovarian failure and the bleak out look for fertility improves only slightly with milder forms.

Hysterectomy

An operation to remove the womb (uterus).

 

Hysteroscopy

An inspection of the uterus using a telescopic instrument either under a general or local anaesthetic.

 

L

Laparoscopy

A procedure whereby a small telescope-like instrument is inserted into the abdomen to gain a visual examination of the genital organs. It involves a minor incision and an anaesthetic.

M

Menarche

The time when a girl starts to have monthly periods.

 

Myometrium

The wall of the womb.

 

O

Occult ovarian failure

This term describes a lesser form of partial ovarian failure whereby the serum FSH concentration is raised but menstrual cycles persist.

Oocyte

An egg – the cell produced by the ovary with which sperm fuses to produce an embryo.

 

Oophorectomy

An operation to remove the ovaries.

 

Ovary

The reproductive organ where eggs are produced.

P

Parathyroid

Glands in the neck which produce a hormone that affects calcium metabolism.

 

Pituitary

A gland at the base of the brain that releases FSH and LH as well as other hormones.

 

Prolapse

A prolapse womb is one which has sunk into the vagina because the supporting structures have weakened.

R

Resistant ovary syndrome

This is another name for partial ovarian failure. It was originally applied to women who appeared to have ovarian failure and normal looking ovaries on biopsy. It was hoped that women with resistant ovaries might have some treatable form of infertility but this did not prove to be the case and most progress to completed menopause quite briskly.

U

Uterus

The womb about the size and shape of an upside down pear. It is a muscular organ in the centre of the pelvis.

V

Vasomotor

Menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flushes.

Z

Zygote

A fertilised egg.