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Sex Glossary


Uterus: The hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows.

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

Vaginal cancer: Cancer of the vagina.

Vaginal discharge: A clear or whitish fluid that comes out of the vagina. The uterus, cervix, or vagina can produce the fluid. A foul-smelling, yellow or green discharge is abnormal and should be evaluated by a doctor.

Vaginal intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN): A condition that often begins as pre-cancerous changes in the surface cells of the vagina.

Vaginectomy: The surgical removal of the vagina. It is sometimes used to remove cancerous growths. If all or part of the vagina is removed, the vagina must be reconstructed using tissue from another part of the body.

Vaginoplasty: A procedure to construct or reconstruct the vagina. This procedure is done during male to female gender reassignment surgery.

Vaginismus: A painful, involuntary spasm of the muscles that surround the vaginal entrance.

Vaginitis: A medical term used to describe various disorders that cause infection or inflammation of the vagina.

Vascular assessment: An evaluation of blood flow.

Vasculitis: An inflammation of blood vessels.

Vas deferens: The long, muscular tube that travels from the epididymis into the pelvic cavity, to just behind a man's urinary bladder. The vas deferens transports mature sperm to the urethra in preparation for ejaculation.

Vasectomy: A permanent sterilization procedure for men. The operation, usually done in a doctor's office, requires cutting and sealing the vas deferens, the tubes in the male reproductive system that carry sperm. A vasectomy prevents the transport of sperm out of the testes.

Viral vaginitis: A form of vaginitis (infection or inflammation of the vagina) caused by viral infection. One form caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) is often just called "herpes" infection. These infections also are spread by sexual contact.

Virus: A microorganism (germ) that causes various infections.

Voyeurism: A disorder that involves achieving sexual arousal by observing an unsuspecting and non-consenting person who is undressing or unclothed, and/or engaged in sexual activity.

Vulva: The area of skin between a woman's legs that includes all of the visible (external) organs of reproduction.

Vulvar cancer: Cancer of the vulva.

Vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (VIN): Pre-cancerous changes in the surface cells of the vulva. Also called dysplasia.

Vulvectomy: Removal of the vulva. Skinning vulvectomy is a procedure in which the skin of the vulva that contains the cancer is removed. Simple vulvectomy is a procedure in which the entire vulva is removed, but no lymph nodes. Partial vulvectomy is a procedure that removes only a portion of the vulva. Radical vulvectomy is a procedure in which the entire vulva is removed, and lymph nodes in the groin usually are removed.

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