Menopause Glossary of Terms
Perimenopause: The time of a woman's life when menstrual periods become irregular. Refers to the time leading up to menopause.
Phytoestrogens: Estrogen-like substances from certain plants that work like a weak form of estrogen.
Postmenopause: Refers to the time after menopause. Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods stop permanently.
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.