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Menopause Glossary of Terms

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Clinical trial: An organized research program conducted with patients to evaluate a new medical treatment, drug, or device.

Complementary therapy: Practices not generally recognized by the medical community as standard or conventional medical approaches and used to enhance or complement standard treatments. Complementary medicine includes dietary supplements, megadose vitamins, herbal preparations, herbal tea, acupuncture, massage therapy, magnet therapy, spiritual healing, and meditation.

Coronary artery disease: A condition caused by the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.

Depression: A condition characterized by altered mood. There is loss of interest in pleasurable activities. Depression prevents a person from leading a normal life. Types of depression include major depression, bipolar depression, chronic low-grade depression (dysthymia), and seasonal depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD).

DEXA scan: Also called dual X-ray absorptiometry scan, it is a special X-ray that detects bone thinning.

Diabetes: A group of diseases in which the body cannot properly control the amount of sugar in the blood. As a result, the level of sugar in the blood is too high, causing a variety of complications ranging from heart disease to blindness and kidney failure. This disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use it properly.

Dysmenorrhea: Pain associated with a woman's menstrual period.

Dyspareunia: Pain during intercourse.

Endometrial cancer: Cancer of the lining of the uterus or womb.

Endometriosis: A condition in which tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus, usually inside the abdominal cavity.

Estrogen: A female sex hormone that stimulates and maintains female sex characteristics. They are either natural or synthetic. Estrogens are used to treat menstrual and menopausal disorders and are also used in oral contraceptives.

Evista (Raloxifene): A drug that belongs to the family of drugs called selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) and is used in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Raloxifene is also being studied as a cancer prevention drug.

Fallopian tubes: Narrow, muscular tubes attached to the upper part of the uterus that serve as tunnels for the ova (egg) to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. Conception, the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, normally occurs in the fallopian tubes.

Fibroids: Common benign tumors made up of muscle cells and connective tissue that develop within the wall of the uterus.

Fimbriae: The finger-like projections on the end of the fallopian tubes. The fimbriae sweep the egg into the fallopian tube.

Fibrinogen: A protein in the blood that helps it clot.

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): A hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). In women, FSH stimulates the growth of follicles, the small, cysts that hold the eggs and the supporting cells responsible for the growth and nurturing of the egg. In men, FSH is necessary for sperm production.

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