Adenomyosis – Adenomyosis is where the endometrial cells grow in the muscle of the womb.

Bacterial vaginosis – Bacterial vaginosis or BV for short is when the natural balance of the friendly bacteria in the vagina is altered and they overgrow.

Candidiasis (thrush) – When the yeast Candida, which is naturally found in small amounts in your vagina, overgrows it produces a white vaginal discharge that can be intensely itchy. This condition is called Candidiasis (thrush).

Catheter – Occasionally a catheter is needed to stop the damage caused by the caustic urine on the skin.

Cervical cancer – Cancer of the neck of the womb can affect women at an earlier age. It presents when it is quite advanced with irregular or unpredictable vaginal bleeding.

Cervix – Also known as the neck of the womb, your cervix is 3 to 4cm long. At one end it opens into the body of the womb (the uterus) and at the other end if opens into the vagina.

Cmv – Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that can cause a mild flu like illness in the mother, but can lead to serious infection in the fetus.

Colposcopy – A Colposcopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at your cervix with a microscope. It is usually recommended when a cervical smear or Pap test suggests that there are precancerous changes on the cervix.

Colposuspension – The abdomen is opened so that the bladder and the vagina can be visualised. The bladder and vagina dissected free so that sutures (stitches) can be placed in the vagina, beside the bladder. These stitches are then tied to the bone behind the bladder so that the neck of the bladder is elevated, making it more able to control leakage of urine.

Diet and exercise – Using a combination of diet and exercise to maintain your desired weight.

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (dub) – This is a term we use to describe heavy or unacceptable menstrual loss, where the diagnosis is unclear.

Dysmenorrhoea – Dysmenorrhoea (dys = pain, menorrhea = bleeding) is the medical term for painful periods.

Embryo – An unborn baby that is less developed than a foetus.

Endocrine problems – Too much or too little hormone production can cause problems with weight gain or loss as well as skin changes including excessive hair growth.

Endometrial polyps – A polyp is a growth of the lining of the uterus (the endometrium).

Endometriosis – A condition where, for reasons that we do not know, the endometrial cells start growing outside the womb, typically in the pelvis. When they bleed internally they can lead to a lot of pain, especially during sex and around the time of the period.

Enuresis alarm – This is either a small sensor worn next to the body or a large sensor mat on the bed. When the sensor gets wet an alarm sounds, waking the woman up.

Fallopian tubes – The womb has two fallopian tubes that allow eggs to pass from the ovary up to the womb, and that allow sperm coming from the vagina to meet the egg.

Fibroid – Fibroids are very common benign, non-cancerous growths (tumour) of the muscle and fibre of the womb (uterus).

Functional incontinence – Sometimes when a person is incapacitated e.g. in a wheel chair, they are unable to pass urine when they want to and so wet themselves.

Group b streptococcus – A bacteria that can be found as a normal member for the bacteria on a woman’s body and in her vagina.

Haemorrhage – Heavy bleeding.

Hrt (hormone replacement therapy) – Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is what it says, a replacement for hormones that the ovaries no longer produce.

Hypertension – Raised blood pressure.

Hysterectomy – A total hysterectomy involves removal of the uterus and the cervix. The vagina is closed over at the top and remains the normal length. In some cases the ovaries are also removed at the time of the hysterectomy (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy).

Hysteroscopy – A hysteroscopy is where a small, fibre-optic ‘telescope’ is used to see the internal organs. The small fibreoptic telecope passes through the cervix, so your abdomen (tummy) does not have to be opened.

Infection – The multiplication of germs (bacteria, viruses, yeast, or fungi) in the body.

Laparoscopy – A laparoscopy is where a small, fibre-optic ‘telescope’ is used to see the internal organs. After filling the abdomen with gas (carbon dioxide), a telescope is passed through the belly button (umbilicus), so the contents of the pelvis can be visualised.

Menopause – The word ‘menopause’ means a pause or the cessation of your menses (periods). I.e. your last period.

Menorrhagia – Menorrhagia (meno = periods, agia ~ heavy) is the medical term used to describe heavy periods.

Miscarriage – Early pregnancy loss.

Myomectomy – Where fibroids (benign, non cancerous tumours of the muscle and fibre of the womb) are removed, but the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries and vagina all remain.

Nocturnal enuresis – Bedwetting at night.

Normal for you – While it may a sign of a problem for some people, it may be normal for your body. It is advisable to seek medical advice if you are unsure.

Oestrogen – A female hormone produced in the ovary.

Ovarian cyst – The ovary produces an egg by producing a small cyst (often called a follicle). When the cyst bursts the egg pops out. Sometimes the cyst does not burst and goes on to get bigger and bigger, causing problems with pain and bleeding.

Ovary – When a girl is born, her ovaries contain many thousands of eggs, which are not mature. When you are only a 30-week-old foetus, your eggs stop developing and start to die. By the time you are born you only have one million left, and by the time you reach puberty this number has fallen to approximately 400,000. At puberty, the ovaries are activated and hormones are produced.

Overflow incontinence – This is where the nerves stop working, so you don’t realise that the bladder is full and it eventually overflows.

Ovulation – Ovulation is when this egg is released from the ovary. This is usually around 14 days after the start of the last period, but can vary depending on the length of the menstrual cycle.

Ovum – An unfertilized female reproductive cell.

Pelvic floor exercises – Exercise to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Pelvic floor repair – Surgery that repairs the perineum (the entrance to the vagina).

Pelvic infection – A condition where infection has passed from the vagina, through neck of the womb and up to the fallopian tubes.

Perimenopausal bleeding – Sometimes referred to as metropathica haemorrhagica this is where the uterine bleeding becomes heavier as the ovaries begin to fail and a woman approaches the menopause.

Placenta – An organ joining the mother and fetus. It transfers oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and takes away waste from the fetus. The baby is connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome – The ovary creates an egg by producing a little cyst (a follicle). The ovary produces the egg by bursting open the follicle. If the ovary is not able to produce the egg by bursting the follicle, a number of unruptured follicles will stay in the ovary, giving the appearance of many little cysts (polycystic).

Polymenorrhea – Polymenorrhea (poly = many, menorrhea = bleeding) (Frequent Periods) is the term for frequent irregular periods

Pre-eclampsia – A condition where the placenta has problems establishing in the womb.

Precancerous cells in cervix – Cells do not usually go from ‘Normal’ to ‘Cancer’; they go through pre-cancerous changes. We usually classify precancerous change as Mild, Moderate or Severe.

Preterm labour and delivery – Preterm labour is when labour starts before 37 weeks gestation.

Progesterone – A female hormone produced in the ovaries.

Prolapse – When the pelvic muscles get damaged the pelvic contents can prolapse down. The walls of the vagina can prolapse (near the bladder = cystocele, near the bowel = rectocele, high up at the top of the vagina = enterocele), and the uterus can prolapse down (uterovaginal prolapse).

Rubella – A viral infection that can cause mild flu like symptoms in the mother, but can cause devastating harm to the baby.

Smear test – A text that examines cells from the cervix to look for precancerous cells.

Stress incontinence – When you strain the abdomen, the pressure on the bladder is increased. If the bladder neck is damaged or weak (typically as a result of the trauma of a vaginal delivery), you may leak urine when you exert yourself.

Subfertility – Problems with getting pregnant.

Tension free tape (tft) – A bladder sling operation to elevate the bladder neck.

Toxoplasmosis – A protozoan infection that can be acquired from dog and cat faeces, and from eating uncooked meat and fish.

Ultrasound – An ultrasound scan uses echoes from a transducer (probe) to create an ultrasound picture. By using many echo pulses many times a second and processing the information through a powerful computer we can produce a real time image of internal organs.

Ureter – We have two kidneys that produce urine. They send the urine down a tube (the ureter) to the bladder.

Urge incontinence – This is where there is an urge to pass urine and you are unable to reach the toilet in time. It is due to the bladder and its nerve control malfunctioning, leading you to believe there is an urgent need to pass urine when there is not.

Urinary incontinence – Urinary incontinence is when you pass or leak urine without control. It may be constant, occasional, heavy or light.

Uterine adhesion – Adhesions on the inside of the womb, usually as a result from surgery.

Uterovaginal prolapse – The womb (or uterus) drops down towards the entrance of your vagina pulling the walls of the vagina with it.

Uterus – The uterus is where a woman carries her pregnancy. The neck of the womb (the cervix, see below) sits in the vagina, allowing the sperm access to the egg. If a ripe lining (endometrium) does not receive a pregnancy, it must be shed (menstruation, period) so a new lining can be made for another try at getting pregnant.

Vaginal hysterectomy – A hysterectomy (removal of the womb) performed through a woman’s vagina. It leaves no visible external scars.

Vulva – The area of skin between a woman’s legs – external genitallia

Vulval cancer – Cancer of the vulva or groin area.

Vulvectomy – An operation which involves removing the skin and tissue in the groin and nearby areas.