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Menopause Glossary of Terms

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    Hormones: Chemicals produced by glands in the body. Hormones control the actions of certain cells or organs.

    Hot flash: A momentary sensation of heat that may be accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating.

    Hysterectomy: The surgical removal of the uterus.

    Impotence: The inability to have an erection adequate for sexual intercourse.

    Incontinence: Loss of bladder and/or bowel control.

    Induced menopause: Menopause that occurs when the ovaries are surgically removed. Induced menopause can also result from damage to the ovaries caused by radiation or by medications used in chemotherapy.

    Inhibited sexual desire (reduced libido): A decrease in desire for or interest in sexual activity.

    Insomnia: Difficulty in going to sleep or getting enough sleep.

    Kegel exercises: Exercises to strengthen the muscles that line the floor of the pelvis by alternately squeezing and holding the muscles and then relaxing them. They can help prevent incontinence.

    LDL cholesterol: Considered to be "bad" cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein is a type of cholesterol that increases the risk of heart disease.

    Luteinizing hormone (LH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). In women, LH causes the dominant follicle to release its egg from the ovary (ovulation). In men, LH stimulates the production of testosterone, which is necessary for sperm production.

    Macular degeneration: A disease that occurs when the macula, the part of the retina at the back of the eye that provides sharp, central vision, deteriorates with age. It is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.

    Mammogram: A series of specialized X-rays of the breast used to detect abnormal growths or changes in the breast tissue.

    Menopause: End of a woman's reproductive years. At this time, menstruation has stopped. Menopause occurs when a women has not had a menstrual period for a full year.

    Menstrual cycle: The monthly cycle of hormonal changes from the beginning of one menstrual period to the beginning of the next.

    Menstruation: The periodic shedding of the uterine lining.

    Mittelschmerz: The pelvic pain that some women experience during ovulation. (Ovulation generally occurs about midway between menstrual cycles; hence the term mittelschmerz, which comes from the German words for "middle" and "pain.")

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