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Menopause Health Center

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Menopause Glossary of Terms

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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.

Testosterone: The male hormone that is essential for sperm production and the development of male characteristics, including muscle mass and strength, fat distribution, bone mass, and sex drive.

Thyroid gland: A gland located beneath the voice box in the throat that produces thyroid hormone. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism.

Urge incontinence: A condition characterized by a strong desire to urinate, followed by involuntary contractions of the bladder causing loss of urine.

Urinary tract infection (UTI): A condition that occurs when bacteria gets into the urinary tract and causes infection and inflammation.

Urogynecologist: An gynecological surgeon that specializes in the treatment of women with pelvic floor disorders such as urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

Urologist: A doctor who is specially trained to treat problems of the male and female urinary system and the male sex organs.

Uterus: The small, hollow, pear-shaped organ in a woman's pelvis. This is the organ in which a fetus develops. Also called the womb.

Vagina: The tube that joins the cervix (the lower part of uterus, or womb) to the outside of the body. It is also known as the birth canal.

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