Dilation and curettage (D & C)—A surgical procedure in which the patient's cervix is widened (dilated) and the endometrium is scraped with a scoop-shaped instrument (curette).
Estrogen—The primary sex hormone that controls normal sexual development in females. During the menstrual cycle, estrogen helps prepare the body for possible pregnancy.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)—A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the follicles in the ovaries to swell and release ripe ova. Doctors sometimes use its levels in a woman's blood to evaluate whether she is in menopause.
Hormone—A substance secreted by an endocrine gland that is carried by blood or other body fluids to its target tissues or organs.
Hot flash—A warm or hot sensation on the face, neck and upper body, sometimes accompanied by flushing and sweating. Some women refer to hot flashes as hot flushes.
Osteoporosis—A bone disorder in which the bones become brittle, porous, and easily broken. It is a major health concern for postmenopausal women.
Ovary—The female sex gland that produces eggs and female reproductive hormones.
Ovulation—The cyclical process of egg maturation and release from the ovary.
Progesterone—A female hormone produced by the ovary. It functions to prepare the lining of the uterus to receive a fertilized ovum.
Progesterone challenge test—A test that is given to see if a woman is still secreting estrogen. It consists of doses of progesterone given over a 10-day period.
Progestin—Synthetic progesterone available as an oral medication.
Testosterone—A male sex hormone that is sometimes given as part of HRT to women whose ovaries have been removed. Testosterone helps with problems of sexual desire.
Uterus—The hollow organ in women in which fertilized eggs develop during pregnancy. The uterus is sometimes called the womb.
Laith Farid Gulli M.D., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,