Glossary of terms

Hormone-related terms

Hormone – A chemical, usually occurring naturally in your body, that makes an organ of your body do something.

Oestrogen – Oestrogens are a group of sex hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the human body.

Estrone (E1) – This is a weak form of oestrogen and the only type found in women after the menopause. Small amounts of estrone are present in most tissues of the body, mainly fat and muscle. The body can convert estrone to estradiol and estradiol to estrone.

Estradiol (E2) – This is the strongest type of oestrogen. Estradiol is a steroid produced by the ovaries. It is thought to contribute to a range of gynecological problems, such as endometriosis, fibroids, and cancers that occur in females, particularly endometrial cancer.

Estriol (E3) – This the weakest of the oestrogens and is a waste product made after the body uses estradiol. Pregnancy is the only time at which significant amounts of estriol are made. Estriol cannot be converted to estradiol or estrone.

Progesterone – A hormone, C 21 H 30 O 2, that prepares the uterus for the fertilized ovum and maintains pregnancy.

Testosterone – Is a hormone made in the testes in males and in the ovaries in females

Grehlin – A hormone that makes you hungry

Leptin – A hormone made by fat cells that helps control the feeling of hunger, the amount of fat stored in the body, and body weight.

FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) – A hormone produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of the ovum-containing follicles in the ovary

Progestins – Any of various natural or synthetic steroidal hormones, as progesterone, that cause progestational activity, used in birth control pills, in hormone therapy, etc.

Phytoestrogen – A substance found in certain plants which can produce effects like that of the hormone oestrogen when ingested into the body

HRT (Hormone replacement therapy) – Therapy for replacing or replenishing certain female sex hormones as during menopause or after a hysterectomy

Bioidentical – Having the same molecular structure as a substance produced in the body

Menstrual cycle-related terms

Menstrual cycle – The repeated process in which a woman’s womb prepares for pregnancy. It ends in a period if she does not get pregnant. The menstrual cycle usually lasts about a month.

Follicular phase – The follicular phase is the phase of the menstrual cycle, during which follicles in the ovary mature. It ends with ovulation. The main hormone controlling this stage is estradiol.

Ovulatory phase – The second phase of the human menstrual cycle, during which the lutenising hormone surges, the follicle-stimulating hormone surges, and ovulation occurs.

Ovulation – To produce and discharge eggs from an ovary or ovarian follicle

Luteal phase – The second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation; the corpus luteum secretes progesterone which prepares the endometrium for the implantation of an embryo; if fertilization does not occur then menstrual flow begins.

Anovulatory cycle – Not involving or accompanied by ovulation

Amenorrhoea – A medical condition in which a woman who is not pregnant does not menstruate

Anatomical terms

Cervix – The narrow lower part of the womb that leads into the vagina

Vulva – The female external genitals

Vagina – The muscular tube leading from the external genitals to the cervix of the uterus in women

Ovaries – A female reproductive organ in which ova or eggs are produced, present in humans and other vertebrates as a pair.

Hysterectomy – A surgical operation to remove all or part of the uterus

Oophorectomy – The surgical removal of an ovary Other terms

Vaginal atrophy – A condition in which the tissues lining the inside of the vagina become thin, dry, and inflamed. This is caused by a decrease in the amount of estrogen made by the body

Fatigue – Feeling of extreme physical or mental tiredness Body neutrality – the idea of accepting your body as it is

Insomnia – The condition of being unable to sleep, over a period of time

Hypersomnia – A disorder of sleep that is characterized by prolonged nocturnal sleep periods which typically occur at least three times a week, by sleep that is not restorative or refreshing, and by the presence of excessive daytime sleepiness.