Endometriosis Glossary of Terms
At Advanced Women's Health Care we try to give our patients the most complete, up-to-date information possible. We want our patients to have a clear understanding of the medical issues involved in their health care.
The following is a list of terminology used at our site:
This is a condition where some endometrial tissue is deep within the uterine wall. Most women who had heavy menstrual bleeding have varying amounts of adenomyosis. This is a "pathologic diagnosis" requiring removal of the uterus or sampling of the uterine wall for diagnosis.
This is scarring causing two surfaces to stick together. It can be dense fibrous scarring, or thin filmy transparent layers, or two organs that you know are separate but they are stuck together. Even though nothing is visible between the organs, the "glue" that holds them together is adhesions. Post-inflammatory and post-surgical adhesions can simply be divided. With endometriosis, the endometriosis can be within the adhesions. Therefore, when excising endometriosis it is necessary to take the adhesions along with the specimen. Whenever two structures are densely stuck together, (such as bladder to uterus, uterus to rectum, or ovary to pelvic sidewall) that is the hallmark of invasive endometriosis.
The lower portion of the uterine wall that sits at the top of the vagina. It is from the cervix that the Pap smear swab is taken from. The cervix is what must open during giving birth. The cervix is involved in maintaining pelvic support.
This is a build up of the uterine lining with the uterine cavity. "Hyper" refers to excessive, and "plasia" means cell growth. Endometrial Polyp - These are small and large growths of the endometrium in the uterine cavity. Polyps are usually benign. They can cause abnormal bleeding and could interfere with fertility.
This is a condition where endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus. "Metri" means uterus, "endo" refers to the uterine lining, "osis" - a medical condition. These patients can have painful menstrual periods, painful sexual intercourse, and chronic pelvic pain. This is a "surgical diagnosis" requiring surgically looking into the abdominal cavity to confirm the diagnosis. Learn more about Laparoscopic Excision of Endometriosis.
With this approach, the endometriosis is completely removed. Specimens are examined to confirm the diagnosis and the sites involved. We use the harmonic scalpel, but excision can be accomplished with harmonic scalpel, laser, or electrical energy.
With this approach, the disease is destroyed or burned with electrical energy. No specimen is obtained.
With this approach, the disease is destroyed with laser. The endometriosis cells are vaporized. No specimen is obtained.
This is the inside lining of the uterus. "Metri" means uterus, and "endo" refers to the inside lining. This is the tissue that responds to the ovarian hormones and bleeds. The blood, endometrial tissue and debris that come out through the uterus, cervix, and vagina each month is the menstrual flow.
This is the surgical removal of the uterus. "Hyster" means uterus, and "ectomy" means to remove. This procedure can be total (removing uterus and cervix) or partial (supracervical where the patient keeps her cervix). Total hysterectomy can be done by open laparotomy, vaginally, or laparoscopy. Partial or supracervical hysterectomy can be done by open laparotomy or laparoscopy. Learn more about Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.
This is a procedure for visualizing inside the uterus. "Hyster" means uterus, and "scopy" refers to a fiberoptic instrument. It is a tube with a fiberoptic light that slides through the vagina, cervix, and into the uterine cavity. A blind D&C (Dilatation and Curettage) misses up to 60% of the uterine cavity. The hysteroscope can visualize 100% of the uterine cavity. Learn more about Laparoscopic Hysterectomy.
This is a procedure for visualizing the inside of the abdomen and pelvis. "Lapar" means abdomen, and "scopy" refers to a fiberoptic instrument. Under general anesthesia as an outpatient the abdominal cavity is distended with carbon dioxide gas. A tube with a fiberoptic light is inserted through the umbilicus. A thorough inspection requires at least three incisions. Learn more about Laparoscopy of Endometriosis.
This is a medication that temporarily takes the female hormone estrogen out of the patient's system. The hope is that the estrogen withdrawal will cause the endometriosis will dry up and go away. An injection is given monthly for 3 to 6 months.
This is when the ovaries eventually exhaust their supply of eggs and female hormones. This will eventually occur in all woman, even if both ovaries are present. The average age for menopause is 51-52 years old, but an individual woman may go through menopause as early as her 30's and as late as her upper 50's.
This is the surgical removal of one or more fibroid tumors and repair of the uterine wall. "Myo" means muscle, and "ectomy" means to remove. Depending on the location of the fibroid, this can be approached with hysteroscopy or laparoscopy. Learn more about Laparoscopic Myomectomy.
This is removal of the ovary.
This is the removal of an ovarian cyst (fluid-filled collection) from the ovary and then conserving the ovary.
These are the two (left and right) glands inside the lower abdomen that contain the eggs and produce the hormones. Each ovary has all the eggs and hormones that a person would ever need.
This is the tube that transports urine from the kidneys down to the bladder.
This refers to mobilizing the ureter so that it can stay safely away from the disease process being excised. "Uretero" refers to the ureter, and lysis means to free up.
This is the space inside the uterus where the pregnancy develops and the uterine lining is located.
This is a muscle tumor of the uterine wall. It is not fibrous. The uterine wall is muscle and can often develop muscle tumors. These are also called myomas. "Myo" means muscle, and "oma" means new growth or tumor. These are usually benign. There is a less than half of one percent chance of a fibroid becoming cancerous. Learn more about Uterine Fibriods and Uterine Bleeding.
The channel through which the menstrual flow is allowed to exit the body. This is also the birth canal. It is tenderness of the tissues by top of the vagina that lead to painful sexual intercourse.
This is the tissues at the opening of the vagina.