(A to Z –H2)

A description of the medical terms used or referred to in this menopause guide.



Male hormones: women produce small amounts of these hormones via their ovaries which are responsible for the female sex drive.


Also known as the ‘male menopause’.


None at present.


Cardiovascular disease

This is an umbrella term for a range of disease which affect the heart and circulatory system. These include high blood pressure and heart disease.


Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

A hormone in the body which decreases during the menopause. A synthetic version is available as a supplement which can help to ease many of the symptoms of the menopause which includes mood swings and loss of bone density.


Endometrial cancer

Cancer of the lining of the uterus (womb).


Medical name for the lining of the uterus (womb).


Follicle stimulating hormone

Also known as FSH for short: this hormone is produced by the body’s pituitary gland which encourages follicle growth in the ovaries and egg production. These follicles produce oestrogen which is vital for a range of functions within the female body.


None at present.



A chemical released by a gland or cell within the body, e.g. the ovaries. The female hormones are oestrogen and progesterone.

Hormone replacement therapy

Known as HRT for short: this is a treatment for the symptoms of the menopause which is based upon synthetic versions of the female hormones. These versions replace levels of hormones which have fallen during the menopause.

Hot flushes

One of several symptoms of the menopause. Characterised by a sensation of intense heat in the face, neck and chest giving a red, flushed appearance. Often accompanied by sweating.


Surgical removal of the uterus which may include removal of the ovaries.


Induced menopause

This occurs when a woman has had her ovaries removed during a hysterectomy or these cease to work as a result of chemotherapy, autoimmune disease or infection. Dramatic weight loss and/or extreme exercise can also cause this to happen.


Difficulty in sleeping. An inability to sleep for a period of several nights.


A type of compound found in plants which mimic the hormone oestrogen that can ease the symptoms of the menopause. Examples of these include soy beans, linseeds and vegetables.


None at present.


Kegel exercises

The name given to a set of exercises which are designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles and reduce the risk of incontinence.


Luteinising hormone

Known as LH for short: another hormone produced by the pituitary gland which regulates ovulation.



The medical term for a stage in a woman’s life in which fertility and menstruation cease. This usually occurs in middle age and produces a range of symptoms which happen over a period of time.


The biological process which occurs in women on a monthly basis. The lining of the uterus is shed (as blood) from the body via the vagina. This is known as a ‘period’. This blood contains the lining of the uterus plus an unfertilised egg.


None at present.



Female hormone: this is produced by the ovaries and pituitary gland and is responsible for the development of female characteristics. These include breast development, body fat distribution and bone growth. Men have small amounts of oestrogen. Oestrogen plays an important part in ovulation, menstruation and pregnancy. Levels of this hormone fall during the menopause which manifests itself as a range of symptoms, e.g. loss of bone density, vaginal dryness, mood swings etc.


The medical name for brittle bone disease. It is caused by a loss of bone density which occurs during the menopause. This results in thin, weakened bones which are at risk of fracture. Oestrogen normally protects against this but this protection is lost during the menopause.


The process whereby an egg is released from the ovaries each month, travels down the Fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Once there it is either fertilised which results in a pregnancy or is expelled from the body during menstruation.



The initial stage of the menopause process which is characterised by changes in hormone levels.


The final stage of the process. This is defined as a period of 12 months following the day of the last menstrual period. The time after the menopause.

Premature menopause

The name given to an early menopause which occurs before the age of 40.


A stage of the menopause which occurs after the perimenopause. This is characterised by a range of symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings.


Female hormone which is produced by the ovaries during the menstrual cycle. It causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for a pregnancy.


This is a hormone released by the pituitary gland which stimulates milk production. It also helps to maintain the body’s immune system.


None at present.


None at present.


Stress incontinence

A problem with bladder control in which there is an involuntary leak of urine, often as a result of weakened muscles around the urethra. This can be triggered by coughing, sneezing or laughing.


Temporary menopause

This is a temporary interruption to the normal function of the ovaries which prevents ovulation. It can be caused by excess exercise or dramatic weight loss.



The name for the slim tube which enables urine to pass from the bladder and out of the body. Women have a shorter urethra than men.


Another name for the womb: an egg released by the ovaries will travel down to the uterus to be fertilised (pregnancy) or removed from the body if unfertilised (menstruation).



An organ within the female body which lies between the uterus and vulva. This stretches during childbirth and also enables menstrual blood and other secretions to leave the body.



Another name for the uterus.


None at present.


None at present.


None at present.

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