ABDOMEN – the area of the belly, between the bottom of the ribs and the groin.
AMENORRHOEA – the absence of menstrual periods.
BONE DENSITY – a measure of the amount of mineral, mainly calcium, in a bone.
BONE LOSS – the process of losing bone density.
CANCER – a disease that is caused by the rapid multiplication of abnormal cells in any part of the body.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE – any disease of the circulatory system.
CERVICAL SMEAR – a test performed to check for abnormal changes to the cells on the cervix.
CIRCULATION – the movement of blood around the body, via veins and arteries.
CLIMACTERIC – the years of menopause, starting with the peri-menopause. Typically when you start experiencing menopausal symptoms.
CONTINUOUS-COMBINED HRT – a form of HRT where you take both oestrogen and progesterone.
CONTRA-INDICATIONS – the reasons for not using particular treatment, usually because it will be made worse.
COLLAGEN – a fibrous protein that gives strength and elasticity to skin, bones, cartilage and connective tissues.
CORTICAL BONE – the hard outer layer of the bone.
D&C – dilation and curettage
DILATION AND CURETTAGE – the procedure of scraping away the lining of the uterus, under general anaesthetic.
DOWAGERS HUMP – a curve on the upper spine as a result of compression of the spinal column. Often a symptom of Osteoporosis.
DYSMENORRHOEA – is pain that occurs before and/or during menstruation.
ENDOCRINE SYSTEM – manufactures and distributes hormones into the bloodstream.
ENDOMETRIAL ABLATION – removal of the inner lining of the uterus by the use of radio waves or laser treatment.
ENDOMETRIAL CANCER – cancer of the lining of the uterus.
ENDOMETRIOSIS – occurs when cells of the endometrium appear outside the uterus, resulting in blood blisters.
ENDOMETRIUM – the lining of the uterus.
EPIDURAL ANAESTHETIC – injection of anaesthetic drugs around the spinal nerves to abolish pain.
ERT – Estrogen Replacement Therapy.
ESTROGEN – the American spelling of Oestrogen.
ENZYME – proteins that cause chemical changes in other cells. They are necessary to break down or metabolize nutrients, drugs and hormones.
FALLOPIAN TUBES – the tubes connecting the ovaries to the uterus.
GRANULATION – the formation of scar tissue around the vaginal cuff when the cervix is removed.
FIBROIDS – non-cancerous growth in the wall of the uterus.
GYNAECOLOGIST – a doctor specialising in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female genital organs.
HDL’s – High-Density Lipoproteins.
HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS – a form of cholesterol that attaches to low-density lipoproteins and allows them to be absorbed out of blood vessels.
HORMONES – substances made by the body that are transported by the blood to affect other parts of the body.
HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPY – the replacement of natural hormones by manufactured hormones.
HOT FLUSH – the sudden flow of heat to the skin, usually the face.
HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy
HYPOTHALAMUS – the area of the brain regulating temperature, appetite, thirst and hormonal glands. At the base of the brain and connected to the pituitary gland.
HYSTERECTOMY – the surgical removal of all or part of the female reproductive organs.
IMPLANT – a form of HRT in which a small pellet is inserted under the skin, usually in the abdomen.
INSOMNIA – inability to sleep.
LIBIDO – sex drive.
LDL’s – Low-Density Lipoproteins
LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEINS – a form of cholesterol that can become attached to the walls of blood vessels, inhibiting the flow of blood.
MENOPAUSAL – refers to the menopause
MENOPAUSE – the final menstrual period.
MENSTRUATION – the monthly (usually) bleed.
METRORRHAGIA is vaginal bleeding, in-between normal menstrual periods. May or may not be associated with the post-menopausal period.
MINERALS – inorganic chemicals, essential to cellular function.
NATURAL MENOPAUSE – menopause that occurs naturally.
SURGICAL MENOPAUSE – menopause that occurs following a hysterectomy and/or removal of the ovaries.
OESTRADIOL – the most potent natural oestrogen found in the blood.
OESTROGEN – the female sex hormone, secreted mainly by the ovaries, responsible for female development.
OESTROGEN DEFICIENT – does not produce enough oestrogen.
OESTROGEN RECEPTORS – the areas of the brain that respond to the presence of oestrogen.
OESTRIOL – the weakest natural oestrogen found in the blood.
OESTRONE – natural oestrogen found in the blood.
OLIGOMENORRHOEA – infrequent menstruation, or periods.
OOPHORECTOMY – removal of the ovaries (unilateral – one ovary or bilateral – both ovaries).
ORAL HRT – hormone replacement therapy in the form of tablets.
OSTEOBLASTS – cells within the bone that form new bone by a constant process of rebuild and repair.
OSTEOCLASTS – cells within the bone that dissolve old bone so that it can be replaced
OSTEOPOROSIS – a disease where the bone becomes so porous, brittle and fragile that it breaks easily.
OVARIES – two organs on either side of the uterus that produce the hormone oestrogen and eggs for fertilisation.
PALPITATIONS – rapid or irregular heartbeats.
PATCH – an adhesive patch applied to the bottom or top of the leg, so that HRT can be absorbed by the skin.
PEAK BONE MASS – the period when the bones contain the most mineral, usually achieved by 30 – 35.
PELVIC FLOOR MUSCLES – muscles at the base of the pelvis, that support the pelvic organs.
PERI-MENOPAUSE – a time before menopause when the production of female sex hormones is reduced.
PITUITARY GLAND – gland in the brain that manufactures hormones controlling other glands.
POST-MENOPAUSE – after the final period.
PRIMARY POSTPARTUM HAEMORRHAGE – bleeding from the birth canal in excess of half a litre or excessive bleeding that lasts more than 24 hours after the baby is born.
PREMATURE MENOPAUSE – menopause that occurs before the age of 45, either naturally or surgically.
PROGESTERONE – a naturally occurring female hormone.
PROLAPSE – abnormal dropping of an organ, usually the rectum, uterus, vagina or bowel.
RDA – Recommended Daily Allowance.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE – daily intake of vitamins and minerals recommended by government health agencies.
ROUTE – in this case means the way that HRT is administered.
SEX HORMONE BINDING GLOBULIN – a protein in the blood that binds with and transports sex hormones, at this time they are not active.
STROKE – when blood supply to the brain is affected so that normal function is reduced.
SUBCUTANEOUS HRT – an implant, usually in the lower abdomen or bottom.
SURGICAL MENOPAUSE – menopause occurring following surgery, usually hysterectomy or removal of ovaries.
TACHYPHYLAXIS – this is a condition some women taking subcutaneous HRT have a return of menopausal symptoms even though blood oestrogen levels are normal.
TAH – Total Abdominal Hysterectomy – the removal of the uterus and cervix performed through a cut in lower abdomen.
TESTOSTERONE – male sex hormone, small amounts are produced in women by the ovaries.
THROMBOSIS – blood clots that form in veins or arteries.
TOTAL ABDOMINAL HYSTERECTOMY – removes the womb and cervix
TRABECULAR BONE – the inner layer of bone that is most at risk from osteoporosis.
TRANSDERMAL HRT – HRT administered via the skin, either by patch or cream.
TVH – Total Vaginal Hysterectomy – removal of the uterus and cervix via the vagina
UTERUS – womb
VAGINA – the birth canal, leads from the uterus to outside the body.
VASOMOTOR SYMPTOMS – symptoms of menopause that are caused by constriction of the blood vessels, hot flushes, night sweats and some headaches.