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Glossary



Definitions   | Abbreviations

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


abortion (complete, incomplete, spontaneous, threatened, inevitable, induced)
termination of a pregnancy prior to fetal viability (mostly defined as prior to either 20 or 24 weeks gestational age or involving a fetus that weighs less than 500 grams)

  • complete abortion is the spontaneous expulsion of all fetal and placental “products of conception” from the uterine cavity
  • incomplete abortion is the spontaneous expulsion of only part of the “products of conception” so that a dilatation and curettage (D+C) is often required to “complete” the pregnancy loss
  • spontaneous abortion is a pregnancy loss that occurs without apparent cause
  • threatened abortion refers to a pre-viable pregnancy associated with uterine bleeding without cervical dilatation or effacement (thinning)
  • inevitable abortion refers to a pre-viable pregnancy associated with uterine bleeding and cervical dilatation but without any expulsion of “products of conception”
  • induced abortion is the intentional termination of a pre-viable pregnancy using medical or surgical techniques

acanthosis nigricans
dark (brown or black) localized regions of hyperpigmentation (of the skin) contained in velvet like raised patches in areas like the nape of the neck, the axilla (armpit), under the breast, and along the inner thigh

associated with insulin resistance

acrosome reaction
the process by which the acrosomal cap over the head of the sperm cell is removed to release proteolytic enzymes (capable of digesting the outer shell or zona pellucida of the egg)

adenomyosis
the growth of endometrial tissue (glands and stroma) within the muscular wall of the uterus, generally defined by invasion into the uterine wall to at least a certain minimal depth (often 2.5 mm from the basalis layer of the endometrium)

adhesion
scar tissue that adheres two surfaces together

adnexa (plural adnexae)
the location within the pelvis that includes the ovary, fallopian tube and adjacent broad ligament

amenorrhea
an absence of menstrual flow during the reproductive years that can be abnormal (such as with anovulation) or normal (such as during pregnancy)

often defined by a time duration, such as greater than 6 months since the prior menstrual flow

anechoic cyst
on ultrasound examination an anechoic cyst is a unilocular (having only one compartment) simple clear cyst (one that does not contain internal echogenic material)

anechoic ovarian cysts are most often benign follicular cysts (functional cysts containing eggs at various stages of development)

anembryonic gestational sac
a gestational (pregnancy related) sac (water bag) that does not contain an embryo and has no chance of developing an embryo

on high resolution transvaginal ultrasound examination the absence of a visible embryo within the gestational sac at about 7-8 weeks gestational age (from the first day of the last menstrual period) normally defines an anembryonic gestational sac

anovulation
a (potentially chronic) condition in which ovulation (the release of a mature egg) does not occur

anovulatory cycle
a menstrual cycle in which ovulation (the release of a mature egg) does not occur

anticardiolipin antibodies (ACA)
antibodies (agents of the immune system) that are directed against one of the phospholipids, specifically “cardiolipin”

roughly 80% of women with antiphospholipid syndrome will test positive for anticardiolipin antibodies

the presence of elevated concentrations of anticardiolipin antibodies is widely accepted as a cause for recurrent pregnancy loss

antiphospholipid antibodies
antibodies (agents of the immune system) that attach to (any or all of the) phospholipids

phospholipid may up the bulk of cell membranes and include cardiolipin, phosphoethanolamine, phosphoinositol, phosphatidic acid, phosphoglycerol, phosphoserine, and phosphocholine

presence of elevated concentrations of antiphospholipid antibodies is associated with antiphospholipid syndrome and recurrent pregnancy loss

arcuate nucleus
a group of nerve cells lying within the hypothalamus just above a region called the “median eminence.”

the nerve cells of the arcuate nucleus are the major source of the GnRH hormone, which primarily acts as a “releasing hormone” (RH) for gonadotropins (Gn)

gonadotropins are pituitary hormones, including FSH and LH

arcuate uterus
uterus with a projection of tissue into the (top of the) uterine cavity most likely secondary to incomplete absorption of this tissue embryologically.

often thought of as a small (or minimal) septate uterus of little or no recognized clinical (reproductive) importance

artificial insemination
a procedure in which sperm is placed within the female reproductive tract without sexual intercourse

  • intracervical insemination involves placement of the sperm into the cervical mucus, which does not require “a sperm wash” to remove the semen from the sperm cells
  • intrauterine insemination involves placement of the sperm into the uterine cavity (above the cervix) using a thin catheter, which generally uses “washed sperm” (sperm cells that have been washed free of semen and then resuspended in an inert buffered medium)
  • “artificial insemination husband” (AIH) refers to inseminations using the husband’s sperm sample
  • “artificial insemination donor” (AID) refers to inseminations using a donor sperm sample (collected from a man other than the patient’s husband)

Asherman syndrome
intrauterine adhesions (scar tissue) that can obliterate part or all of the uterine cavity

aspermia
absence of both sperm and semen (“nothing comes out”)

assisted reproductive technology (ART)
defined in various ways in the past

US Health and Human Services CDC uses the term ART to refer to any reproductive procedure that involves the direct handling of both the egg and the sperm (ie., requires the removal of eggs from the ovaries)

asthenospermia
sperm (as assessed on semen analysis) with “decreased motility” (generally referring to a decreased percentage of motile sperm cells within an entire semen sample but may also refer to a reduced quality of motion of the motile sperm)

atresia
technically refers to the absence of a normal opening

with respect to ovarian follicles, atresia is a normal process in which the egg contained by an ovarian follicle degenerates and is subsequently replaced by a scar (“cicatrical closure”)

azoospermia
the complete absence of sperm cells within a semen sample

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B


bicornuate uterus
an abnormally shaped uterus (with an abnormal outer contour as well as an abnormal shaped uterine cavity) with a single (unified) cervix that is due to a partial lack of fusion of the Mullerian ducts during embryonic development

bioassay
determination of the potency or amount of hormone (or other substance) by its effect within an animal or tissue (isolated from an animal)

not the same as an immunoassay

bladder neck
region of the urinary bladder that is adjacent to the site of insertion of the urethra

blastocyst
an early stage of embryo development that is formed by a rearrangement of the blastomeres (one of the cells into which an egg divides after fertilization) of a morula to form a hollow sphere consisting of an inner cell mass (to become the fetus), an outer thin trophoblast layer (to become the placenta) and a central cavity (the blastocele)

normally a human embryo enters the uterine cavity at about the blastocyst stage of development

blighted ovum
an anembryonic gestational sac

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C


canceled cycle
an ART cycle in which controlled ovarian hyperstimulation was initiated and then stopped prior to egg (oocyte) retrieval

reasons for cancellation of an ART cycle include poor egg development, onset of a medical illness in the woman undergoing treatment, or the couple decides to cancel for personal reasons

capacitation
the process in which a sperm cell undergoes (biochemical, morphologic, functional) changes that subsequently enable it to initiate the acrosome reaction

cerclage
a ligature placed around or within the uterine cervix usually to treat a (suspected) incompetent cervix

cervix
the lower part of the uterus that extends into the vaginal canal

normally remains closed (at the internal os) throughout pregnancy until the time of delivery (at which time the cervix dilates during labor to allow the baby to be born)

chemical pregnancy
a pregnancy in which there is implantation into the uterus and a detectable elevation of the circulating hCG titers but in which the pregnancy is lost very early on (prior to ultrasound identification of the gestational sac or development of a fetal heart beat)

chocolate cyst
endometrioma

a persistent nonfunctional ovarian cyst that contains endometriosis and old blood that has turned brown over time (chocolate color)

choriocarcinoma
a highly malignant type of trophoblastic neoplasm in which both the cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast cells (cell types that normally are part of the placenta) are malignant

chromopertubation
a test usually performed during laparoscopy in which a colored fluid (dyed with an inert solution) is injected through the cervix into the uterine cavity and is (normally) subsequently seen to flow from the fallopian tubes (blue or other color fluid is seen spilling from the ends of the tubes)

chromosome
one of the bodies (normally there are 23 pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46 chromosomes in humans) in the cell nucleus that contains genes in a linear arrangement

clinical pregnancy
for ART data (USA) a clinical pregnancy is a pregnancy that is documented by ultrasound to contain a gestational sac in the uterus

complete abortion
the spontaneous expulsion of all fetal and placental “products of conception” (fetus and placenta) from the uterine cavity

complete mole
a molar pregnancy characterized by swelling of all of the placental villi and absence of fetal parts

complex ovarian cyst
a cystic structure in the ovary that contains internal echogenic material, which may include

  • internal septations (echogenic bridges that are generally wider than 0.5mm),
  • papillae (irregular formations that protrude into the liquid phase of the cyst generally measuring greater than 5mm)
  • daughter cysts (semicircular echogenic structures generally measuring less than 1 cm in diameter that are contained within the liquid phase of the cyst)
  • loculations (small cavities or chambers generally measuring less than 1 cm in diameter within the liquid phase of the cyst)
  • solid lesions (a formation occupying more than 25% of the liquid phase of the cyst)
persistent nonfunctional complex ovarian cysts have an increased chance of malignancy and usually are removed surgically if they do not resolve spontaneously within a few months

a (functional) corpus luteum (ovarian) cyst may have complex features so followup ultrasound(s) are generally scheduled for early in a subsequent menstrual cycle (eg., cycle day 2 through cycle day 6) when only follicular (ovarian) cysts are normally present

controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
a procedure during which medications (usually menotropins) are administered (often daily by injection) in order to promote the maturation of multiple eggs

frequent monitoring (usually involving ultrasound examinations and bloodwork for estradiol concentration) is generally recommended during these stimulation cycles

corpus luteum
a functional (normal reproductive) ovarian cyst that forms from the follicular cyst (ovarian cyst containing an egg) after ovulation<

normally produces the abundant amount of progesterone that is characteristic of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (from ovulation until the onset of the subsequent flow)

the yellow pigment that usually discolors the cyst is called “lutein” (also turns the yolk of eggs yellow) to give the cyst its name

cortical granules
granules (particles) within the cytoplasm of the egg (ooplasm) that are released during the “cortical reaction” into the region of the plasma membrane (that encloses the cytoplasm) upon fertilization by a sperm cell

the cortical granules are thought to block the ability of additional sperm cells to fertilize an egg that has already been fertilized (by another sperm cell)

cryopreservation
maintaining viability of a tissue (or possibly embryos in the context of IVF) at very low temperatures (through freezing)

cul de sac (of Douglas)
a deep pouch of peritoneum anterior to the rectum and posterior to the uterus that may be filled with bowel when a woman is standing upright

cumulus oophorus
the mass of cells that surround an egg’s outer shell (zona pellucida) at the time of ovulation (release from the ovary)

cytoplasm
the substance of an egg that is exclusive of the nucleus, a protoplasm containing various organelles and inclusions that allow the egg to function normally

cytoplasmic transfer
when the cytoplasm of a donor egg is placed into a recipient egg’s cytoplasm

the purpose is to potentially enhance the reproductive quality of the recipient egg after “revitalization” with the donor egg’s cytoplasm

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D


Dermoid cyst (ovary)
a benign cystic teratoma

“hair ball cyst”

a persistent nonfunctional ovarian cyst that contains elements of all three germ cell layers (may contain any type of tissue from the body including hair, brain tissue, teeth, cartilage, and sebaceous material)

didelphic uterus
a complete duplication of the uterus and cervix (there are two separate cervical canals each leading to a separate uterine “horn” and fallopian tube) that is due to a complete lack of fusion of the Mullerian ducts during embryonic development

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid)
a molecule (type of nucleic acid that contains deoxyribose as the sugar component) that makes up (the autoreproducing component of) a chromosome

the sequence of DNA bases (adenine, guanine, cytosine and thymine) are primarily what determine the genetic code and determine hereditary characteristics

down regulation (desensitization)
process in which the cellular receptors for a hormone (within a tissue) are reduced in number due to chronic (prolonged) saturation by the hormone

the biological effect of the hormone following down regulation of its cellular receptors may be paradoxical (eg., inhibitory rather than stimulatory)

dysfunctional uterine bleeding
excessive uterine bleeding without a cause that is attributable to a particular organ

most often due to a hormone imbalance that has resulted in anovulation

dysmenorrhea
pain with the menstrual flow (menses)

dyspareunia
pain with sexual intercourse

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E


ectopic pregnancy
a pregnancy that implants and develops anywhere other than within the uterine cavity (the “normal” location for a pregnancy to grow)

egg (oocyte) retrieval
a procedure to collect eggs from the ovarian follicles, most often performed (in USA) under ultrasound guidance

embryo transfer
a procedure to place fertilized eggs (preimplantation embryos) into the uterus (womb) following In Vitro Fertilization

embryologist
a scientist specializing in the development and function of embryos

empty sella syndrome
an abnormal extension of the subarachanoid space into the sella turcica that results in compression of the pituitary gland and an enlarged appearing bony sella turcica

associated with galactorrhea and an elevated circulating prolactin concentration (hyperprolactinemia)

endometrial hyperplasia
an overgrowth of endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterine cavity

one subtype is atypical endometrial hyperplasia that involves cells with an abnormal appearance (cytologic atypia) and often involves glandular structures that are severely crowded together (architectural atypia)

atypical endometrial hyperplasia is a premalignant change that can be graded into mild, moderate or severe

endometrial polyp
an organized overgrowth of endometrial tissue (glands and stroma) that projects into the uterine cavity (resulting in an irregularity of the lining) and includes a vascular “stalk”

endometriosis
the presence and growth of endometrial tissue (glands and stroma) in any location outside the body of the uterus (this sort of tissue normally lines the uterine cavity)

estradiol
the most bioactive of the estrogen compounds normally secreted by the human ovary

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F


fecundability
the probability of conception (pregnancy) for a specific population of people (couples) over a specified period of time (usually 1 month)

fibroid (leiomyoma, myoma)
a benign tumor that is composed of smooth muscle tissue that may involve any tissue that contains smooth muscle (but most commonly refers to uterine tissue when discussing human reproduction and the female reproductive tract)

  • a submucosal fibroid is one that develops immediately under the endometrial lining of the uterine cavity and projects into the cavity
  • a transmural fibroid is one the develops entirely within the wall of the uterus
  • a subserosal fibroid is one that develops immediately under the outer (serosal) lining of the uterus and projects into the pelvis or abdomen

fimbrioplasty
a surgical procedure that removes scar tissue (adhesions) from the distal end of the fallopian tube (specifically from the fimbriae of the tube)

Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome
perihepatic (involving the region around the liver) inflammation and adhesions (scar tissue) that is characteristic of (at least 5-10% of) acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), often associated with either Neisseria gonorrhea or Chlamydia trachomatis

fundus (of the uterus)
the top (upper rounded extremity) of the uterus above the openings of the fallopian tubes

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G


galactorrhea
secretion of a watery or milky fluid from the breast that is not related to pregnancy

gene
a functional unit of heredity that normally occupies a specific location on a chromosome and directs the formation of particular proteins (including enzymes)

gestational age
estimated gestational age (EGA) is the age of a pregnancy as measured from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP)

if ovulation occurs at cycle day 14 then the EGA is 2 weeks (14 days) greater than the fertilization age (age of the pregnancy as measured from the time of fertilization)

gestational trophoblast disease
any of the wide variety of disorders that can result from the abnormal growth (proliferation) of trophoblast (the cell type that normally composes placental tissue)

GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer)
an ART procedure in which eggs are removed from the ovarian follicles (egg retrieval), a few of these eggs are combined with sperm, and the eggs and sperm are placed into the fallopian tube(s) by means of laparoscopy

currently replaced (almost entirely) by IVF in most ART centers in the USA (except possibly for very select populations of patients)

GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone)
a hormone composed of 10 amino acids that is secreted by the hypothalamus (brain) in a tightly regulated manner (amplitude and frequency) to stimulate gonadotropin (FSH and LH) release from the (anterior) pituitary gland

GnRH agonist
a GnRH agonist is a synthetic hormone that contains 10 amino acids, the amino acid sequence is the same as that found in GnRH except at (amino acid) positions 6 and 10, and the substitutions at positions 6 and 10 confer increased potency (bioactivity) and/or a longer half life (longevity) so that down regulation (of the GnRH receptor) occurs

downregulation of the GnRH receptors normally occurs over a several day time frame so that whenever a GnRH agonist is administered there is an initial stimulatory response (secretion of FSH and LH) followed by suppression (reduction of FSH and LH)

GnRH antagonist
a GnRH antagonist is a synthetic hormone that resembles GnRH (yet has some amino acid substitutions) and directly blocks the GnRH receptors in the pituitary gland (disables the GnRH receptors)

GnRH antagonists work rapidly to prevent native (natural) GnRH from producing its normal bioactive response (to stimulate the release of FSH and LH from the anterior pituitary gland)

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H


hemoperitoneum
blood within the peritoneal cavity (pelvis or abdomen) that is “free” (not contained within blood vessels)

hemotocolpos
a vaginal vault (canal) that is filled (and distended) with blood due to an obstruction (may be due to an imperforate hymen or a transverse vaginal septum)

hematometria
a uterus that is full of (and distended with) blood due to an obstruction (that may be partial or complete) in the lower reproductive tract

heterotopic pregnancy
a multiple pregnancy that includes at least one pregnancy within the uterine cavity and (simultaneously) at least one ectopic pregnancy

hirsutism
presence of dark pigmented thick (terminal) hair on a woman’s body in locations that are normally associated with “male sex (post-pubertal) hair” (and ordinarily not found on women)

hormone receptor
a protein that is contained either within the (outer) cell membrane or within the cytoplasm of a cell that binds (uniquely) to a specific hormone and produces a particular biological response

human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG)
a formulation (medication) composed of equal amounts of immunoreactive FSH and LH, generally derived from the urine of postmenopausal women, used during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation to promote the maturation of multiple eggs within one menstrual cycle

hydatid cyst, cyst of Morgagni, paratubal cyst
remnants of the Wollfian (mesonephric) duct system that may form nonfunctional cysts along the female internal reproductive organs (including the fallopian tubes, uterus, or vagina).

the Wollfian duct system includes a cell mass that normally gives rise to some of the male internal reproductive organs when the embryo is male (develops into a boy). The Mullerian (paramesonephric) duct system include a cell mass that normally gives rise to some of the female internal reproductive organs when the embryo is female (develops into a girl).

both females and males have Wollfian (mesonephric) as well as Mullerian (paramesonephric) duct systems, one of which normally differentiates (specializes into specific structures) early in embryonic development depending on the chromosomal makeup of the embryo (XX for female or XY for male)

hydrosalpinx
a dilated (distended) fallopian tube that is filled with a watery sterile (noninfectious) fluid, often associated with chronic inflammation and distal tubal occlusion

hyperprolactinemia
elevated circulating concentrations of prolactin that can cause galactorrhea or an ovulation dysfunction

hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
failure of eggs within the ovaries to mature (and also often failure of the ovaries to develop) as a result of reduced circulating concentrations of gonadotropins (FSH and LH)

hypothalamus
a particular region at the base of the brain that has an important role in secreting a variety of different “releasing hormones”

the releasing hormones of the hypothalamus are delivered to the pituitary gland where they subsequently release other (pituitary) hormones into the general circulation (including gonadotropins like FSH and LH that then can direct ovarian biological responses)

hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
a radiologic procedure involving x-ray visualization (often with flouroscopy) of the interior of the uterine cavity and the fallopian tubes using a radiopaque dye

hysteroscopy
an endoscopic procedure used to visualize the uterine cavity directly using an endoscope that is attached to a light source

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I


immunoassay
determination of the concentration of a substance using serological (immunological) methods, most often using the substance in question as an antigen within an assay system that employs antibodies (that attach to the target substance or antigen)

implantation
the process during which an embryo attaches to and subsequently burrows under the endometrial lining of the uterine cavity

impotence
the inability of a man to achieve and maintain an erection for long enough to ejaculate during (complete) sexual intercourse

incompetent cervix
a cervix that dilates painlessly (without labor or painful contractions) within the second trimester of pregnancy (often at greater than 16 weeks gestational age) and often results in recurrent spontaneous pregnancy losses

incomplete abortion
the spontaneous expulsion of only part of the “products of conception” (fetus and placenta) so that a dilatation and curettage (D+C) is often required to “complete” the pregnancy loss

induced abortion
the intentional termination of a pre-viable pregnancy using medical or surgical techniques

inevitable abortion
a pre-viable pregnancy associated with uterine bleeding and cervical dilatation but without any expulsion of “products of conception” (fetus or placental tissue)

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K


karyotype
the chromosomal characteristics of an individual cell (or cell line) usually presented as the systematized array of chromosomes of a cell (at metaphase) in descending order of size

normal chromosome analysis in humans is either 46 XX (female) or 46 XY (male)

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L


laparoscopy
an endoscopic procedure that is used to visualize the pelvic and abdominal contents directly with an endoscope that is attached to a light source

luteal phase defect (progesterone insufficiency syndrome)
an abnormal reduction in progesterone effect on the uterine lining (endometrium) either due to insufficient progesterone production or a reduction in the local progesterone receptor concentration

ovarian progesterone production is characteristic of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (from ovulation until the onset of the next menstrual flow) and the placenta normally takes over progesterone production between 7 and 12 weeks gestation if a pregnancy is established

associated with recurrent pregnancy loss or the inability to get pregnant (especially if a severe reduction in progesterone effect is identifiable)

lysis of adhesions
cutting of scar tissue (adhesions)

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M


menorrhagia
excessive menstrual flow that is either prolonged (greater than 7 days duration) or abundant (greater than 80 mL of flow) at regular intervals

menotropin
a formulation (medication) that contains at least one of the gonadotropins (FSH or LH), generally containing (at least) FSH and most often used to promote the maturation of multiple eggs during a cycle of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation

missed abortion
the demise (death) of a pre-viable pregnancy (fetus) without expulsion of the products of conception (fetus or placental tissue) for a prolonged period of time (often defined as 4 or 8 weeks after the demise)

mittleschmerz
pelvic pain associated with ovulation in timing although the actual mechanism causing the discomfort is not clearly known

most often thought to be due to the sudden rapid expansion of the ovarian capsule just prior to (within a day of) ovulation

molar pregnancy (hydatiform mole)
an abnormality of the placenta that involves swollen villi and a reduction (or absence) of fetal structures, thought to be due to a chromosomal abnormality

morula
an early stage (preimplantation) embryo (fertilized egg) that has an outer shell (zona pellucida) and contains a solid “ball of cells” within this shell.

the stage of (embryonic) development immediately prior to the blastocyst stage of development

Mullerian ducts
paired structures that can form into components of the female internal reproductive tract

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N


Nabothian cysts
cysts that develop within the uterine cervix that are lined by endocervical columnar epithelium, most often thought to be benign retention cysts

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O


oligospermia
a persistently reduced concentration of sperm within the semen (below a concentration that is considered normal, often thought to be 20 million sperm per mL)

ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
a potentially life threatening complication of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation that may involve pelvic pain, abdominal fluid (ascites) and dehydration (hemoconcentration due to passage of the water component of the blood into open spaces like the pelvis and abdomen)

the mechanism causing this complication is unknown

self limited and treatment usually is directed at treatment of the symptoms that develop (possibly requiring hospitalization for intravenous fluid management and paracenteses)

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P


partial mole
a molar pregnancy in which there are some normal appearing and some swollen placental villi and some fetal structures

persistent ectopic pregnancy
the continued growth of viable placental (trophoblast) tissue after active treatment of an ectopic pregnancy (most often following conservative management of the involved fallopian tube such as with salpingostomy)

polar body
one of two small (daughter) cells containing a nucleus and very little cytoplasm that is formed by the first and second stages (divisions) of meiosis in eggs.

the initial polar body is normally released (into the space between the outer shell (zona pellucida) and the plasma membrane) immediately prior to ovulation.

the second polar body is normally released (humans) shortly after successful fertilization of the egg by a sperm cell

polyspermy
the fertilization of an egg by more than one sperm cell

postcoital test
the microscopic examination of the cervical mucus obtained from a woman (ideally a few days prior to ovulation and) several hours after sexual intercourse

precocious puberty
the appearance of sexual maturation (secondary sexual characteristics or menstruation) at an age that is greater than 3 standard deviations below (younger than) the mean for the child’s population (for white girls in the USA sexual maturation prior to 8 years of age is generally considered precocious)

premature ovarian failure
amenorrhea (absence of menses) due to a depletion of the ovarian reserve (number of eggs) or a failure of the remaining eggs to respond to adequate concentrations of gonadotropins (FSH and LH) prior to 40 years of age

progestin (progestagen, gestagen)
a class of sex steroids that have progestational (progesterone) activity

prophylactic antibiotics
antibiotics given to a patient without evidence of an infection in order to prevent (or limit the exposure to risk for a) post-procedural infection

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R


retroplacental collection of fluid (subchorionic hematoma)
a collection of fluid (most often thought to be blood) behind the placental bed of tissue that elevates the placenta (and gestational sac) away from the uterine wall

these collections of fluid can disrupt the transfer of nutrients and metabolytes across the placenta and can “dissect” along the uteroplacental junction to further disrupt placental exchange

rugae
numerous transverse folds (wrinkles, ridges, creases)

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S


salpingitis isthmica nodosa
the direct invasion of the epithelium that lines the (fallopian) tubal lumen (endosalpinx) into the wall of the fallopian tube (muscularis)

salpingostomy
operative procedure in which the outer wall (serosa) of the fallopian tube is opened (generally to remove an unruptured ectopic pregnancy) without surgically closing the incision site (it is allowed to close on its own)

salpingotomy
operative procedure in which the outer wall (serosa) of the fallopian tube is opened (often to remove an unruptured ectopic pregnancy) and then the incision is surgically closed

semen analysis
laboratory examination of semen most often including an assessment of the sperm concentration, sperm motility and sperm morphology (shape)

  • oligospermia refers to a persistently reduced concentration of sperm within the semen (below a concentration that is considered normal, often thought to be 20 million sperm per mL)
  • asthenospermia refers to sperm (as assessed on semen analysis) with “decreased motility” (generally referring to a decreased percentage of motile sperm cells within an entire semen sample but may also refer to a reduced quality of motion of the motile sperm)
  • teratospermia is an increased percentage of abnormally shaped sperm (compared to what is normally found) within a semen sample

septate uterus
a uterine cavity that is (partially or fully) separated into two different cavities by a wedge shaped mass of tissue that projects into the cavity from the top downward

the wedge shaped mass of tissue (uterine septum) represents tissue from the fused Mullerian ducts that was incompletely resorbed embryologically

spermatogenesis
development of immature sperm cells (spermatogonia) into more mature and specialized cells (spermatids)

spinnbarkeit
a measure of the elasticity (distensibility) of cervical mucus

spontaneous abortion
a pre-viable pregnancy loss that occurs without apparent cause

stenosis of the cervix
a narrowing or stricture of the cervical canal such that there may either be (a) difficulty in passing instruments through the cervix into the uterine cavity or (b) a (partial or complete) inability to pass menstrual flow out through the cervix at the time of menses.

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T


teratogen
a substance (drug or other agent) that is able to cause a fetal malformation (birth defect) or abnormal fetal development

teratospermia
an increased percentage of abnormally shaped sperm (compared to what is normally found) within a semen sample

threatened abortion
a pre-viable pregnancy associated with uterine bleeding without cervical dilatation or effacement (thinning)

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U


ultrasound
a noninvasive radiological procedure that uses sound (acoustic) waves to identify structures

unicornuate uterus
a (hemi-) uterus with a single cervix and a single fallopian tube that represents development from only one or two Mullerian ducts (the second Mullerian duct arrested in development)

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V


vaginismus
a painful and involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vaginal orifice that makes sexual intercourse uncomfortable or impossible

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Z


zona pellucida
a translucent outer shell (noncellular layer of mucopolysaccharides) that surrounds an egg and its outer plasma membrane

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