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Sex Glossary


Testicular torsion: A condition in which the spermatic cord gets twisted around a testicle, cutting off the testicle's blood supply. Symptoms of testicular torsion include sudden and severe pain, enlargement of the affected testicle, tenderness, and swelling. This condition requires emergency treatment.

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, facial hair growth, voice change, and sex drive

Total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO): A surgical procedure in which the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are removed through an incision (cut) in the abdomen.

Total bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO): The removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Total pelvic exenteration: A surgical procedure that involves the removal of the bladder, the lower part of the colon, the rectum, the female reproductive organs and sometimes the vagina. It is a radical surgery that usually is done only when cancer has spread within the pelvis.

Transvaginal ultrasound: Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of internal organs. During a transvaginal ultrasound, a probe inserted into the vagina releases sound waves that echo off the tissue of the pelvic organs.

Transsexual: An individual who is committed to altering his or her physical appearance -- through cosmetics, hormones and, in some cases, surgery -- to resemble the opposite sex.

Transvestitism: The practice by heterosexual males of dressing in female clothes to produce or enhance sexual arousal. Also called transvestic fetishism.

Trichomoniasis: An infection that most often occurs in a woman's vagina. A man also can get the infection in the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body), as well as in the prostate. It is caused by a tiny single-celled organism known as a "protozoa."

Tubal ligation: Surgery to "tie the tubes" (fallopian tubes) of a woman, which causes permanent sterility by preventing transport of the egg (ovum) to the uterus.

Tumor: A mass of tissue that forms when cells abnormally divide. Tumors can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer).

Ultrasound (sonogram): The use of sound waves to form an image of internal organs.

Undescended testicle: A condition in which the testicles do not descend from the abdomen, where they are located during development, to the scrotum shortly before birth. Also called cryptorchidism.

Urethra: The tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body.

Urinary tract infection (UTI): A condition that occurs when bacteria from outside the body get into the urinary tract and cause infection and inflammation.

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

Uterine fibroids: Nodules of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue that develop within the wall of the uterus (womb). Medically, they are called uterine leiomyomata (singular: leiomyoma).

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