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Menopause Glossary of Terms

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    Premature menopause: Menopause that occurs before the age of 40 that may be the result of genetics, autoimmune disorders, or medical procedures like a hysterectomy.

    Premature ovarian failure: A condition in which a woman's ovaries, for unknown reasons, stop producing eggs before the age of 40.

    Progesterone: A female hormone that acts to prepare the uterus (the womb) to receive and sustain a fertilized egg.

    Progestin: A synthetic form of progesterone.

    Reduced libido (inhibited sexual desire): A decrease in desire for or interest in sexual activity.

    SERM: A selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) is a drug that acts like estrogen on some tissues, but blocks the effect of estrogen on other tissues. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and raloxifene (Evista) are two examples of SERMs.

    Sexual health: Sexual health refers to the many factors that impact sexual function and reproduction. These factors include a variety of physical, mental, and emotional issues. Disorders that affect any of these factors can impact a person's physical and emotional health, as well as his or her relationships and self-image.

    Sexual response cycle: The sequence of physical and emotional changes that occur as a person becomes sexually aroused and participates in sexually stimulating activities, including intercourse and masturbation. The sexual response cycle has four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution.

    Sexually transmitted disease (STD): A disease passed from one person to another by unprotected sexual contact. You can get a sexually transmitted disease from sexual activity that involves the mouth, anus, or vagina, or by genital touching.

    Sperm: The male reproductive cells.

    Stress incontinence: An involuntary loss of urine that occurs during activities such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, or exercising.

    Surgical menopause: Induced menopause that results from surgical removal of the ovaries for medical reasons. Surgical menopause can occur at any age.

    Tamoxifen: An anticancer drug that belongs to the family of drugs called antiestrogens. Tamoxifen blocks the effects of the hormone estrogen in the body.

    Testicles (testes; singular testis): Part of the male reproductive system, the testicles manufacture male hormones, including testosterone, and produce sperm, the male reproductive cells. The testicles are located inside the scrotum, the loose sac of skin that hangs below the penis.

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