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Women's Health Terminology



Stress Incontinence:  Involuntary leakage of urine accompanying physical activity, laughing, sneezing, and/or coughing which places increased pressure on the abdomen.

Urge Incontinence:  Involuntary leakage of urine from the bladder when a sudden strong urge/or need to urinate is felt.

Mixed IncontinenceA combination of both stress and urge incontinence (see definitions above)

Fecal IncontinenceInvoluntary leakage of feces due to failure to voluntarily control the anal sphincters.

Hypertonic pelvic floor:  Excessive tone or tension/tightness in the muscles of the pelvic floor.

Constipation Abnormally delayed or infrequent bowel movements that are hardened and dry.

Prolapse:  The falling down or slipping of a body part from its usual or normal position:
-bladder: cystoceol
-rectum: rectoceol

Anorgasmia Sexual dysfunction characterized by failure to achieve an orgasm.

Dyspareunia Difficult or painful sexual intercourse.

CoccydyniaPain in the coccyx or adjacent regions.

Vulvodynia Chronic discomfort of the vulva (external parts of the female genital organs) of uncertain cause that is experienced as burning, stinging, or irritation.

Vaginismus:  Painful spasmodic contraction of the muscles surrounding the vagina.

Interstitial CystitisA chronic painful inflammation of the bladder wall often accompanied by Hunter's ulcers.

Levator Ani syndrome:  Episodic rectal pain caused by spasm of the levator ani muscle.  Symptoms may include a dull ache high in the rectum and a feeling of constant rectal pressure or burning.  Pain may also be felt low in the pelvis and perineum.

Vulvar Vestibulitis:  Inflammation of the opening of the vagina.

Frozen Shoulder:  Medically referred to as adhesive capsulitis.  A condition in which the shoulder capsule (the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint) becomes inflamed and stiff and grows together with abnormal bands of tissue (adhesions) which greatly restricts motion and causes pain.

Cancer related fatiguePersistent, subjective sense of tiredness related to cancer or cancer treatment that interferes with usual functioning.

"Cording":  Also known as Axillary Web Syndrome.  A visible web of axillary skin overlying cords of tissue that are made taut and painful with shoulder abduction.  Sclerosed lymphatic vessels with fibrosis.

Osteopenia:  Low bone mass. The designation for bone mass between 1.0 and 2.5 standard deviations below the mean for young normal adults.  (T scores between -1.0 and -2.5).

OsteoporosisA chronic progressive disease characterized by low bone mass causing decrease bone strength, increased bone fragility with a consequence of increase risk of fractures.  Bone density 2.5 or more below standard deviation ( T score at or below -2.5).

Secondary osteoporosis:  Osteoporosis that is drug induced or caused by disorders such as hyperthyroidism, renal disease or COPD.

Diastasis Recti:  Separation that occurs in the abdominal muscles that occur during pregnancy.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Numbness and/or weakness in hands and arms caused by compression of nerves and arteries.  In pregnancy, it is often caused by your ribs moving up to accommodate for the baby, fluid retention, or posture.

Sacroiliac Joint painPain at the base of the spine that can radiate into legs, thighs, or groin.  Hormonal changes cause ligaments to loosen, causing a shift in bony position which creates pain with sitting, twisting, lifting, and stairs.

Pubic Symphysis separation:  Pain in the groin, inner thighs, or front of pelvis when walking, climbing stairs, or rolling in bed.

Lymphedema: Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid causing abnormal swelling in an arm or leg which may occur following treatment for cancer.


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