Glossary

Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

Acyclovir:

A drug used as treatment against herpes; it is effective in reducing symptoms during a first outbreak of the disease in shortening the duration of recurrences. It may also help prevent recurrences.

Adenocarcinoma:

The most common kind of cancer of the uterus. About 75% of women diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the endometrium have stage I disease and a 5-year survival rate of up to 90%.

Adenomyosis:

A condition in which tissue like that normally lining the uterus begins to grow inside the wall of the uterus.

Adhesion:

Scarring that binds together affected surfaces of the tissues inside the abdomen or uterus.

AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome):

A group of signs and symptoms, usually of severe infections, occurring in a person whose immune system has been damaged by infection with the human immune deficiency virus (HIV).

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP):

A protein produced by a growing fetus; it is present in amniotic fluid and, in smaller amounts, in the mother’s blood.

Amniocentesis:

A test in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is taken from the sac around each fetus.

Amniotic Fluid:

Water in the sac surrounding the fetus in the woman’s uterus.

Amniotic Sac:

A fluid-filled sac in the mother’s uterus where the fetus develops.

Analgesia:

Relief of pain without loss of sensation.

Androgen:

Any steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal gland or by the ovaries, that promotes male characteristics, such as a beard and deepening voice.

Anesthesia:

Relief of pain by loss of sensation.

Anesthesiologist:

A doctor who is an expert in pain relief.

Anorexia Nervosa:

An eating disorder in which distorted body image leads a person to diet excessively.

Anovulation:

Failure to ovulate.

Antibiotics:

Drugs that kill microorganisms.

Antibody:

A protein in the blood produced in reaction to foreign substances, such as bacteria that cause infections.

Arteries:

Large blood vessels leaving the heart and carrying blood to the head, torso, arms, and legs.

Arterioles:

Small arteries that can become larger and smaller, lowering and increasing the blood pressure.

Aspiration Biopsy:

A procedure in which fluid or tissue within a cyst is withdrawn through a needle for study.

Atherosclerosis:

Narrowing and clogging of the arteries by a buildup of plaque deposited in vessel walls; also called hardening of the arteries.

Auscultation:

A method of listening to the fetal heartbeat during labor, either with a special stethoscope or with the use of an ultrasound device.

Autoinoculation:

Transfer of germs from one part of one’s own body to another.

Any steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal gland or by the ovaries, that promotes male characteristics, such as a beard and deepening voice.

Anesthesia:

Relief of pain by loss of sensation.

Anesthesiologist:

A doctor who is an expert in pain relief.

Anorexia Nervosa:

An eating disorder in which distorted body image leads a person to diet excessively.

Anovulation:

Failure to ovulate.

Antibiotics:

Drugs that kill microorganisms.

Antibody:

A protein in the blood produced in reaction to foreign substances, such as bacteria that cause infections.

Arteries:

Large blood vessels leaving the heart and carrying blood to the head, torso, arms, and legs.

Arterioles:

Small arteries that can become larger and smaller, lowering and increasing the blood pressure.

Aspiration Biopsy:

A procedure in which fluid or tissue within a cyst is withdrawn through a needle for study.

Atherosclerosis:

Narrowing and clogging of the arteries by a buildup of plaque deposited in vessel walls; also called hardening of the arteries.

Auscultation:

A method of listening to the fetal heartbeat during labor, either with a special stethoscope or with the use of an ultrasound device.

Autoinoculation:

Transfer of germs from one part of one’s own body to another.

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B

Bacterial Vaginosis:

A type of vaginal infection caused by the overgrowth of a number or organisms that are normally found in the vagina.

Barrier Methods:

Means of contraception that prevent sperm from entering the female reproductive system, including condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, vaginal sponge, and spermicidal creams, jellies, foams, and suppositories.

Benign:

A noncancerous growth usually confined to one part of the body.

Biopsy:

A minor surgical procedure to remove a small piece of tissue that is then examined under a microscope.

Bladder:

A muscular organ in which urine is stored.

Blood Pressure:

The force of the blood against the walls of the arteries.

Bronchitis:

A lung disease that causes persistent coughing and shortness of breath.

Bulimia:

An eating disorder in which a person binges on food and then forces vomiting or abuses laxatives.

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C

CA 125:

A substance in the blood that may increase at the presence of a (cancerous) tumor.

Calcium:

A mineral stored in bone that gives it hardness.

Candidiasis:

Also called yeast infection or moniliasis, a type of vaginitis caused by the overgrowth of Candida (a fungus normally found in the vagina).

Cardiovascular Disease:

Disease of the heart and blood vessels.

Cerclage:

A surgical procedure that places a stitch in the cervical opening to hold it closed.

Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN):

Another term for dysplasia; a noncancerous condition that occurs when normal cells on the surface of the cervix are replaced by a layer of abnormal cells. CIN is classified as 1, 2, or 3.

Cervix:

The lower, narrow end of the uterus.

Cesarean Birth:

Delivery of a baby and the placenta through an incision made in a woman’s abdomen and uterus.

Chlamydia:

A common sexually transmitted disease that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and problems during pregnancy.

Cholesterol:

A waxy, fat-like substance, a lipid (fat) that is found in everyone’s blood. (For more complete information please read A Doctor Discusses Cholesterol. A free copy may be obtained at our office.)

Chorionic Villi:

Microscopic, fingerlike projections that make up the placenta.

Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS):

A procedure in which a small sample of cells is taken from the placenta and tested.

Classical (High Vertical) Incision:

An incision used for cesarean delivery, made up and down in the upper area of the uterus.

Clindamycin:

An antibiotic used to treat, among other kinds of infections, certain types of vaginitis.

Clitoris:

An organ that is located near the opening to the vagina and is a source of female sexual excitement.

Colposcope:

A special magnifying instrument used to examine the cervix, vagina, or vulva.

Colposcopy:

Viewing of the cervix under magnification with a colposcope.

Condylomas:

Another name for the genital warts caused by human papillomavirus (HPV).

Conization:

A procedure in which a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix.

Contraception:

Prevention of pregnancy; also called birth control.

Contraceptive Implants:

Soft plastic tubes placed under the skin that slowly release a hormone to prevent pregnancy.

Contraction Stress Test:

A test in which mild contractions of the mother’s uterus are induced and changes in the fetus’s heart rate in response to the contractions are recorded using an electronic fetal monitor.

Corpus Luteum:

The remains of the egg follicle after ovulation.

Cryotherapy:

A probe coated with freezing agents is applied to the cervix.

Culdocentesis:

A test that determines the presence of blood or pus in a space behind the uterus called the cul-de-sac.

Cystectomy:

The surgical removal of a cyst.

Cystitis:

An infection of the bladder

Cystocele:

A condition in which the supports that hold the bladder in place become weakened, allowing the bladder to protrude into the vagina.

Cystometry:

Measurement of the pressure and volume of the bladder as it is filled with fluid.

Cystoscopy:

A test in which the inside of the urethra and bladder are examined.

Cystourethrocele:

Bulging of the bladder neck into the vagina.

Cystourethrography:

A chemical is inserted into a woman’s bladder, and x-rays are taken as she urinates.

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D

Depression:

A treatable medical disorder characterized by loss of interest in things you used to enjoy and felling sad for periods of at least 2 weeks.

Diabetes:

A condition that causes high levels of glucose in the blood.

Diastolic Blood Pressure:

The force of the blood in the arteries when the heart is relaxed; the lower blood pressure reading.

Dilation and Currettage (D&C):

The cervix is opened wider and tissue is gently scraped or suctioned from the lining of the uterus to be examined under a microscope.

Discordant:

A large difference in the size of fetuses in a multiple pregnancy.

Diuretics:

Drugs given to increase the production of urine.

Diverticula:

Small pockets that bulge out of the bladder wall or out of the urethra and hold urine.

Doppler:

A form of ultrasound that reflects motion- such as the fetal heartbeat- in the form of audio signals.

Dye Test:

Patient wears a pad while a nontoxic dye is put into the bladder; if pad is stained with the dye, there was a loss of urine.

Dysmenorrhea:

Discomfort and pain during the menstrual period.

Dyspareunia:

Pain during or after intercourse.

Dysplasia:

A noncancerous condition that occurs when normal cells on the surface of the cervix are replaced by a layer of abnormal cells. Dysplasia is classified as mild, moderate, severe, or carcinoma in situ (CIS).

Dysuria:

Pain during urination.

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E

Eclampsia:

Another name for seizures in pregnancy that occur because of high blood pressure.

Ectopic Pregnancy:

A pregnancy in which the fertilized egg begins to grow in a place other than inside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes.

Edema:

A watery swelling of parts of the body.

Electrocautery:

A procedure in which an instrument is activated with electric current to destroy tissue.

Electrode:

A small wire that is attached to the scalp of the fetus and transmits electronic impulses.

Electronic Fetal Monitoring:

A method of measuring, with electronic instruments, the heart beat of a fetus in response to the contractions of the mother’s uterus.

Electrosurgery:

Heat destroys the affected cervical tissue.

Electrosurgical Excision:

The removal of abnormal growths (of the cervix, vagina, vulva, etc.) using a thin wire loop and electric energy.

Emphysema:

A lung disease in which the elasticity of the lungs is destroyed.

Endometrial Biopsy:

A small amount of tissue is gently scraped from the lining of the uterus and looked at under a microscope.

Endometriosis:

A condition in which tissue similar to that normally lining the uterus is found outside of the uterus, usually in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other pelvic structures.

Endometrium:

The mucus membrane that lines the uterus.

Enterocele:

Bulging of the intestine into the upper part of the vagina.

Enuresis:

Bed-wetting or wetting while sleeping.

Epidural Block:

Anesthesia that numbs the lower half of the body.

Episiotomy:

A surgical incision made into the perineum (the region between the vagina and the anus) to widen the vaginal opening for delivery.

Estrogen:

A female hormone produced in the ovaries that stimulates the growth of the lining of the uterus.

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F

Fallopian Tubes:

Tubes through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus.

Fascia:

Tissue that supports the organs and muscles of the body.

Fetus:

A baby growing in the woman’s uterus.

Fibrocystic Changes:

Formation of benign cysts of various sizes in the breast.

Fistula:

An abnormal opening or passage between two internal organs.

Follicle:

The saclike structure that forms inside an ovary when an egg is produced.

Forceps:

Special instruments placed around the baby’s head to help guide it out of the birth canal during delivery.

Foreskin:

A layer of skin covering the end of the penis.

Fraternal Twins:

Twins that have developed from more than one fertilized egg; they are not genetically identical and each has its own placenta and amniotic sac.

Functional Cyst:

A benign cyst that forms on an ovary and usually resolves on its own without treatment.

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G

Genital Herpes:

A sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus that can cause painful, highly infectious sores on or around the sex organs.

Gestational Diabetes:

Diabetes that arises during pregnancy; it results form the effects of hormones and usually subsides after delivery.

Glans:

The head of the penis.

Glucose:

A sugar that is present in the blood and is the body’s main source of fuel.

Gonorrhea:

A sexually transmitted disease that may produce no symptoms in women but can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and arthritis.

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H

HDL:

High-density lipoprotein helps to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. HDL is composed of more protein than cholesterol an as it travels through the blood, it appears to carry plaque away from the walls of blood vessels.

High Blood Pressure:

Occurs when the pressure of the blood inside the arteries builds up to levels that are greater than normal.

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus):

A virus that attacks certain cells of the body’s immune system and causes acquired immunodeficency syndrome (AIDS).

Hormone:

Substance produced by the body to control the functions of various organs.

Hormone Replacement Therapy:

Treatment in which estrogen, and often progestin, is taken to relieve the symptoms and changes caused by the low levels of hormones produced by the body.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG):

A hormone produced during pregnancy; its detection is the basis for most pregnancy tests.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV):

A sexually transmitted virus that causes small growths, called condylomas or genital warts, on or around the genitals.

Hydration:

Administration of fluids, by mouth or intravenously, to help stop preterm labor.

Hyperglycemia:

A condition that results when levels of glucose are too high.

Hypoglycemia:

A condition that results when levels of glucose are too low.

Hysterosalpingography (HSG):

A special x-ray procedure in which a small amount of fluid is injected into the uterus and fallopian tubes to detect abnormal changes in their size and shape or to determine whether the tubes are blocked.

Hysteroscopy:

A surgical procedure in which a slender, light-transmitting telescope, the hysteroscope, is used to view the inside of the uterus or perform surgery.

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I

Identical Twins:

Twins that have developed from a single fertilized egg; they are usually genetically identical and may or may not share the same placenta and amniotic sac.

Immune System:

The body’s natural defense system against foreign substances and invading organisms, such as bacteria that cause disease.

Impotence:

The inability in a male to have an erection or to sustain it until ejaculation or intercourse takes place.

Incompetent Cervix:

A cervix that begins to dialate or open earlier than it should in pregnancy.

Induced Abortion:

The planned termination of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the uterus.

Infertility:

A condition in which a couple has been unable to get pregnant after 12 months without the use of any form of birth control.

Insulin:

A hormone that controls the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Intrauterine Device (IUD):

A small device that is inserted and left inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR):

Slow or limited growth of a fetus during pregnancy.

Intravenous Pyelograhpy:

A test performed to find defects or abnormal structures in the urinary tract.

Invasive:

A term used to describe cancer that is able to invade and actively destroy surrounding healthy tissues.

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J

Jaundice:

A buildup if bilirubin that causes a yellowish appearance.

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K

Kegel Exercises:

Pelvic muscle exercises that assist in bladder and bowel control.

Kidneys:

Two organs that cleanse the blood, removing liquid wastes.

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L

Laparoscopy:

A slender instrument is inserted through a small cut just below or through the navel to allow the doctor to see the inside of the abdomen. This requires you to have an anesthetic.

Laparotomy:

A surgical procedure in which an incision is made in the abdomen.

Laser:

A small intense beam of light used as a surgical tool.

LDL:

Low-density lipoprotein is composed of more cholesterol than protein. Also called plaque, it builds up and causes a narrowing of the arteries.

Local Anesthesia:

The use of drugs that prevent pain in a part of the body.

Low Vertical Incision:

An incision used for cesarean delivery, made up and down in the lower, thinner area of the uterus.

Lumpectomy:

Surgical removal of a breast lump; also called biopsy.

Lymph:

A nearly colorless fluid that bathes body cells and moves through a system of lymph vessels and nodes in the body.

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M

Macrosomia:

Very large baby. Occurs when the mother’s blood sugar level is too high. This allows too much sugar to go to the fetus. It can cause the fetus to grow too large. A too large baby is not always good and can make delivery difficult.

Malignant:

Cancerous; tending to become progressively worse and, and eventually, to spread to other parts of the body.

Mammography:

A procedure in which x-rays of the breast are used to detect breast cancer.

Masturbation:

Self-stimulation of the genitals, usually resulting in orgasm.

Meconium:

A greenish substance that builds up in the bowels of a growing fetus and is normally discharged shortly after birth.

Menopause:

The time in a woman’s live when ovaries stop functioning and menstruation stops.

Menstruation:

The discharge of blood and tissue from the uterus that occurs when an egg is not fertilized.

Metastasize:

Spreading of the disease throughout the body.

Metronidazole:

An antibiotic used to treat bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.

Miscarriage:

The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the uterus.

Molar Pregnancy:

Growth of abnormal placental tissue in the uterus. Also called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD).

Multiple Pregnancy:

Pregnancy in which there are more than one fetus.

Myomectomy:

The surgical removal of fibroids, leaving the uterus in place.

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N

Nephrons:

Parts of the kidney that remove waste products from the blood, recover some substances to be used again by the body, and eliminate what is left as urine.

Nocturia:

The need to urinate two or more times during hours of sleep.

Nonstress Test:

A test in which fetal movements felt by the mother or noted by the doctor are recorded, along with changes in fetal heart rate, using an electronic fetal monitor.

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O

Oral Contraceptives:

Birth control pills containing hormones that prevent ovulation and thus pregnancy.

Osteoporosis:

A condition in which the bones become so fragile that they break more easily.

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P

Pad Test:

Patient wears a preweighed pad for one hour while doing a series of movements; if pad weighs more at end of hour, there was a loss of urine.

Palpation:

A procedure of feeling the abdomen that is used to detect uterine contractions.

Pap Test:

A test in which cells are taken from the cervix and vagina and examined under a microscope.

Pelvic Exam:

A manual examination of a woman’s internal and external reproductive organs.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:

An infection that involves the fallopian tubes and nearby pelvic structures.

Pessary:

A device inserted into the vagina to support sagging organs.

Placenta:

Tissue that connects woman and fetus and provides nourishment to and takes away waste from the fetus.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease:

A condition in which multiple cysts persist on the ovaries, usually preventing ovulation (also known as hyperandrogenic anovulation).

Postpartum Blues:

Feelings of sadness, fear, anger, or anxiety occurring about 3 days after childbirth and usually fading within 1-2 weeks (sometimes called baby blues).

Postpartum Depression:

Intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair after childbirth that interfere with a new mother’s ability to function and that do not go away after 2 weeks.

Postpartum Sterilization:

An operation that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant, performed immediately after the birth of her last child.

Preeclamsia:

Another name for high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Premature Rupture of Membranes:

When the membranes of the amniotic sac rupture before labor.

Preterm Labor:

Labor that starts before the end of 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Prodrome:

A symptom that precedes the onset of a disease.

Progesterone:

A female hormone that is produced in the ovaries and matures the lining of the uterus during the second half of the menstrual cycle to nourish a fertilized egg. When its level falls, if no egg is fertilized, menstruation occurs.

Progestin:

A synthetic form of progesterone that is similar to the hormone made naturally by the body.

Pudendal Block:

An injection given in the vagina that relieves pain during delivery.

Pyelonephritis:

An infection of the kidney.

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Q

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R

Real-Time:

A type of ultrasound that uses still pictures to show movement, somewhat like a motion picture.

Rectocele:

Bulging of the rectum into the vaginal wall.

Recurrent Infections:

Infections that occur more than once, usually within a short time, although they may be spread out over several months.

Reflux:

Urine that is backing up in the urinary tract instead of flowing downward.

Resectoscope:

A slender telescope with an electrical wire loop or rollerball tip used to remove or destroy tissue inside the uterus.

Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS):

A condition of some babies in which the lungs are not completely mature.

Rh Immunoglobulin (RhIg):

A substance given to prevent an Rh-negative person’s antibody response to Rh-positive blood cells.

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S

Saddle Block:

A form of spinal block that numbs the part of your body that sits in a saddle- your buttock, perineum, and vagina.

Salpingitis:

Inflammation of the fallopian tube.

Salpingo-oophorectomy:

Removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Sexually Transmissible Diseases (STD’s):

Diseases that are spread by sexual contact, including warts, herpes, syphilis, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Spermicides:

Chemicals that inactivate sperm. They come in creams, gels, foams, and suppositories. Some condoms are coated with spermicides.

Spinal Block:

A form of anesthesia that numbs the lower half of the body.

Spontaneous Abortion:

Miscarriage, or loss of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the uterus.

Squamous Intraepithelial Lesion (SIL):

Term used in Pap test reports that includes dysplasia, CIN, and changes caused by human papillomarvirus. A noncancerous condition that occurs when normal cells on the surface of the cervix are replaced by a layer of abnormal cells.

Stage:

Stage refers to the size of a tumor and the extent (if any) to which the disease has spread. Stages of uterine cancer range from I to IV, with I being the earliest and IV being the most advanced.

Stress Test:

Patient must cough repeatedly with a full bladder, and any loss of urine is recorded.

Syphilis:

A sexually transmitted disease that is caused by an organism called Treponema pallidum; it may cause major health problems or death in its later stages.

Systolic Blood Pressure:

The force of the blood in the arteries when the heart is contracting; the higher blood pressure reading.

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T

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U

Ultrasound:

A test that involves the use of sound waves to show pictures of the inside of the body, including the fetus inside the mother’s uterus.

Umbilical Cord:

A cordlike structure that forms normally during pregnancy and connects the baby’s bloodstream to the placenta.

Ureters:

A pair of tubes, each leading from one of the kidneys to the bladder.

Urethra:

A short, narrow tube that conveys urine form the bladder out of the body.

Urethral Diverticulum:

A small pocket that bulges out of the wall of the urethra.

Urethritis:

Infection of the urethra.

Urinalysis:

A test done on a sample of urine.

Urinary Tract Infections:

Infections of the bladder and urethra.

Urine:

A liquid that is excreted by the body and is made up of wasted, water, and salt removed from the blood.

Uterine Fibroids:

Benign (noncancerous) growths that develop from the cells that make up the muscle of the uterus and form on the inside of the uterus, on its outer surface, or within the uterine wall itself. They are also called leiomyomas or myomas.

Uterine Prolapse:

Falling of the uterus into the vagina.

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V

Vacuum Extraction:

The use of a special instrument applied to the baby’s head to help guide it out of the birth canal during delivery.

Vagina:

A passageway surrounded by muscles leading from the uterus to the outside of the body.

Vaginal Prolapse:

Bulging of the top of the vagina into the lower vagina or outside the opening of the vagina.

Vaginal Ultrasound:

A type of ultrasound in which a transducer specially designed to be placed in the vagina is used.

Vaginismus:

Involuntary spasm of the pubic muscles and lower vagina that makes penetration by the penis difficult, painful, or impossible.

Vanishing Twin:

Death of a twin in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

Veins:

Blood vessels that carry blood from the rest of the body back to the heart.

VLDL:

Very low density lipoprotein is composed mainly of triglycerides, another lipid or fat that is combined with proteins and also contains cholesterol. This lipoprotein changes to LDL in the blood and increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Voiding:

Passage of urine out of the body; urination.

Vulva:

The lips of the female external genital area.

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W

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X

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Y

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Z

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