Medical Glossary Q-Z
Here you will find medical glossary terms Q-Z
Randomized: Random selection; a method for choosing patients or subjects for a research study in which all members of a particular group have an equal chance of being selected; selection by chance.
Rectosigmoid colon: The part of the colon from the sigmoid colon to the rectum.
Rectovaginal bimanual exam: Simultaneous insertion by the physician of one finger in the vagina and another in the rectum.
Rectovaginal septum: A septum is a partition or dividing wall; the rectovaginal septum is the wall separating the rectum and vagina.
Rectum: The end portion of the large intestine.
Red blood cell (RBC): Also called an erythrocyte. Disk-shaped cells, responsible for transporting the oxygen bound to its iron-containing core through the body.
Reflux: Relative to endometriosis, see retrograde menstruation.
Relaxation therapy: Therapy, often self-conducted, in which total body relaxation is accomplished according to a specific plan.
Renography (Renal scan, kidney scan): X-ray examination of the kidney.
Resection: Excision (removal by cutting) of a portion of an organ or other structure.
Residency: After graduating from medical school, a physician goes into postgraduate clinical training. The first year is called internship. After the internship year, the second, third, and fourth years of postgraduate training are called residency. The length of residency varies according to specialty. If additional training occurs, it is referred to as a fellowship.
Retrograde menstruation: A backward flow of menstrual fluid into the pelvic region.
Retroperitoneal: Behind the peritoneum.
Retroverted: Tilted backwards.
Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the joints. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, poor appetite, low-grade fever, anemia, morning stiffness, joint pain or tenderness, and swelling of at least two joints. Women with endometriosis are at higher risk for rheumatoid arthritis.
Round ligaments: A pair of ligaments (bands of fibrous tissue) that hold the uterus in place.
Sacral: Pertaining to the sacrum, which is the triangular bone at the base of the spine.
Sacrum: The large central bone at the base of the spine that forms part of the pelvis.
Sciatica: An inflammation of the sciatic nerve, usually marked by pain and tenderness along the course of the nerve through the thigh and leg.
Scrotum: The pouch located beneath the penis which contains the testes.
Selection bias: A tendency toward a certain outcome in a study created by the way subjects are selected to be a part of the experiment. Example: I want to survey 100 people to find out their favorite brand of ketchup, so I ask people as they are leaving XYZ grocery store. However, XYZ grocery store only carries its own brand of ketchup. If a shopper really likes UVW brand of ketchup best, chances are he won’t shop at XYZ grocery. Therefore, the outcome of the study will be biased toward XYZ brand.
Semen: The fluid discharged upon male ejaculation.
Serous: A type of ovarian tumor containing cells which produce or contain serum, the clear liquid found in blood.
Serotonin: A naturally occurring derivative of tryptophan (an amino acid essential for normal growth in infants and for nitrogen balance in adults) which constricts blood vessels.
Serum: The watery component of blood.
Sex-hormone binding globulin: A protein that binds sex hormones in blood.
Shiatsu massage: The Japanese equivalent of acupressure. Similar to acupuncture except the points on the meridians are stimulated by fingertip pressure rather than needles.
Sigmoid colon: The part of the left colon located in the pelvis and extending to the rectum.
Sigmoidoscopy: Direct examination of the interior of the sigmoid colon using an instrument called a sigmoidoscope, a tube with lighting to allow the physician to see abnormalities.
Sjögren’s Syndrome: An autoimmune disorder in which deficient moisture production can affect the eyes, salivary glands in the mouth, and other mucous membranes. Abnormal dryness can lead to damage to the eyes, dental disorders, lung, and other problems. Women with endometriosis have a higher risk of Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Spastic colon: Another term for irritable bowel syndrome.
Sperm: The cells contained in the male’s semen that fertilize the female’s egg during the process of conception.
Spontaneous abortion: Miscarriage.
Steroids: A group of molecules based on a common structure that includes the sex hormones (estrogens, testosterone, progesterone), cholesterol, bile acids, and many other biologically active compounds.
Stool: Bowel movement; the waste matter discharged in a bowel movement; feces.
Stroma: Tissue that forms the framework of an organ; in endometriosis, the foundation of an endometrioma (chocolate cyst), or of lesions.
Submucous: Beneath a mucous membrane.
Subserous: Beneath a serous membrane (a thin sheet of tissue surrounding certain organs that secretes a thin liquid substance).
Substance P: A material made by the body which acts to stimulate dilation and constriction of intestinal and other smooth muscles.
Surgical menopause: Menopause brought on by surgical removal of the ovaries.
Surgically castrated: Removal of the ovaries. (Castration medically means removal of the testicles or ovaries.)
Suture: A surgical stitch taken to repair an incision, tear, or wound; material used for surgical stitches, such as absorbable or nonabsorbable silk, catgut, wire, or synthetic material.
Synergism: Joint action or cooperation by two or more structures or drugs; the simultaneous action of separate entities which together have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects.
Systemic: Pertaining to the body as a whole.
Systemic immunity: The part of the immune system involving the immune cells that circulate throughout the whole body.
Systemic lupus erythematosus: A chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease with varied symptoms which affects connective tissue. Women with endometriosis are at higher risk of lupus.
Synthesis: The production of a substance by the combination of parts or elements to form a whole.
T lymphocytes; T cells: Small white blood cells that orchestrate and/or directly participate in the immune defenses. They are processed in the thymus and secrete lymphokines.
Talc: A component in some baby, body, or dusting powders whose molecular structure is similar to asbestos.
Tamoxifen: A drug used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer patients whose tumors are estrogen-dependent.
TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A method of pain control by the application of electric impulses to the nerve endings through the use of electrodes that are placed on the skin and attached to a stimulator.
Teratogen: An agent that causes defects in a developing embryo or fetus.
Testes: The male reproductive organ which produces sperm and androgens.
Testosterone: Part of a group of male hormones known as androgens.
Therapeutic abortion: Interruption of pregnancy by artificial means, for medical reasons.
Thymus: A small organ located behind the breastbone which is a key part of the lymphatic system and produces T cells.
Thyroid: An endocrine gland situated at the front of the neck which secretes hormones which increase the rate of metabolism; affect body temperature; regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate catabolism in all cells (catabolism is a complex metabolic process in which energy is liberated for use in work, energy storage, or heat production); maintain growth hormone secretion and skeletal maturation; heart rate, force, and output; promote central nervous system development; stimulate synthesis of many enzymes; and are necessary for muscle tone and vigor. The thyroid gland is under the direction of the pituitary gland.
Thyroxine: Hormone that influences metabolic rate.
Tolerance: A state of nonresponsiveness to a particular antigen or group of antigens.
Toxemia of pregnancy: See definition for preeclampsia.
Transdermal: Absorbed through the skin.
Triglycerides: Fat compounds that make up most animal and vegetable fats and are the principal fats in the blood.
Trigone: A triangular area at the base of the bladder.
Tubal patency: Unobstructed fallopian tubes.
Tumor necrosis factor (TNF): An important substance produced by cells of the immune system that helps in fighting infection. It was originally named because it was first discovered by its ability to kill tumor cells. However, we now know that it performs many necessary functions in the body.
Tumor suppressor gene: Normal gene that controls cell growth. In a “loss of function” mutation both genes in the tumor suppressor gene pair are damaged and the cell becomes cancerous. The normal p53 gene is a tumor suppressor gene that tells a cell when to turn off. When both p53 genes are mutated, control of cell division is lost, because the cells’ “off switch” no longer operates.
Umbilicus: Navel, “belly button.”
Ultrasound: A procedure in which high frequency sound waves are used to detect abnormalities in the body. Translates sound waves into a video image.
Ureters: Two small tubes carrying urine from the kidney to the bladder. The ureters run from the kidneys behind the peritoneum, which is the thin membrane covering the walls of the abdomen and pelvis. Surgeons must be careful to find the ureter on each side of the pelvis and abdomen when doing surgery to be sure not to cut it.
Urethra: A small tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. The opening of the urethra is above the vagina and below the clitoris.
Ureterolysis: Removal of part of a ureter.
Urgency: The feeling of the need to void urine immediately.
Urinary tract/urinary system: All the organs involved in the formation and elimination of urine, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Urination: The act of passing urine.
Urine: The fluid secreted by the kidneys, carried by the ureters to the bladder, and stored until elimination through the urethra.
Urogynecologist: An ob-gyn with advanced training in treating pelvic floor disorders in women.
Urologist: A medical specialist dealing with the urinary system (bladder, kidneys, ureter, urethra, etc.).
Urography (Pyelography): X-ray of the kidney and the ureters, involving injection of contrast dye.
Uteri: Plural form of the word uterus.
Uterosacral ligaments: Tough bands of tissue on each side of the uterus that support and hold it in place.
Uterus: The hollow muscular pear-shaped organ that carries and nurtures the fetus. “Fixed uterus:” the term is used to describe a uterus which is fixed or ‘frozen’ into one position, for example by adhesions, and therefore cannot be moved by the doctor during a pelvic examination.
Vagina: The muscular canal which connects the cervix to the external surface of the body.
Vaginal cuff: The top of the vagina which is sewn shut after a hysterectomy and removal of the cervix.
Vaginitis: Inflammation of the vagina.
Vaporization: Destruction of tissue by instant boiling of the cellular water with a high-power-density laser or high-power-density electrosurgical knife.
Varicose veins: A condition in which valves that push blood through veins back to the heart do not work properly allowing blood to pool in the vein, causing bulging. Typically in the legs but can also occur on the ovaries.
Vascularized: Pertaining to or composed of blood vessels.
Videolaseroscopy: Laser laparoscopy augmented by video equipment, including video camera, video recorder, and high-resolution video monitor. This increases magnification of the operating field, allows the surgeon to work in an upright, comfortable posture (watching the video monitor rather than bent over the laparoscope), and provides a permanent record of the extent of disease and of the procedure. Operating with video equipment has become standard with operative laparoscopy.
Viscera: The internal organs.
Vulva: The region of the external female genital organs, including the labia (the inner and outer lips around the opening of the vagina and urethra), mons pubis (the slight elevation caused by a pad of fatty tissue over the pubic bone just above the clitoris), clitoris (the small sensitive organ which swells during sexual arousal, just above the urethra), and opening of the urethra and the vagina. (The urethra is a small tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.)
Vulval, vulvar: Relating to the vulva.
White blood cell (WBC): See leukocyte.
Xenoestrogens: Foreign estrogens, usually from chemicals; estrogens not produced by the body.