OBGYN Glossary

The following are a list of terms that may be used during the course of your OB/GYN care.

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

P

Pad Test
This incontinence test involves a patient wearing a pre-weighed pad for an hour. If the pad’s weight increases, it proves urine has been lost.

Palpation
When a doctor feels the abdomen for uterine contractions, this is called palpation.

Pap Smear
See Pap Test.

Pap Test
Also known as a pap smear, this common test is performed during a gynecological exam. It is used as an early detection method for cancer of the uterine cervix and related areas.

Pathologist
A doctor who specializes in identifying diseases by studying cells and tissues under a microscope is a pathologist.

Pediatrician
A doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of babies and growing children is called a pediatrician.

Pelvic Exam
A common exam performed by an OB/GYN, the pelvic exam is the manual exam of a woman’s reproductive organs, both internal and external.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Bacteria cause an inflammation of the pelvic organs.

Pelvic Lymph Node Dissection
This procedure involves the removal of some lymph nodes from the pelvis.

Pelvis
The pelvis is the lower portion of the trunk, made up of pelvic bones and muscles, including the sacrum, coccyx, and hipbones.

Perimenopause
See Climacteric.

Perinatologist
A perinatologist is a physician specializing in high-risk pregnancy care.

Perineal
Perineal means of or related to the perineum, the area between the anus and genitals.

Perineum
The perineum is the area between the anus and genitals.

Peripheral Stem Cell Support
This portion of cancer treatment involves the replacement of blood-forming cells destroyed during the treatment itself. Stem cells from the blood, similar to those in the bone marrow, are removed before treatment and then replaced after treatment.

Pessary
Inserted into the vagina, the pessary is a device used to support sagging organs.

Placenta
The placenta connects the woman and the fetus. Its function is to provide nourishment and oxygen to the fetus while removing waste materials.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease
Also known as hyperandrogenic anovulation, polycystic ovarian disease is defined by the presence of persistent, multiple cysts on the ovaries. This can prevent ovulation from occurring.

Polymenorrhea
This is the term for menstruation that is too frequent.

Polyps
Polyps are growths that project from mucous membranes. They often occur in the intestine.

Postmenopausal Bleeding
This is bleeding from the uterus that occurs more than six months after a woman’s final menstrual period.

Postpartum
This is the term referring to happenings after childbirth.

Postpartum Blues
See Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression
Also known colloquially as “the baby blues,” postpartum depression encompasses feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety and even anger that occur a few days after childbirth. It usually fades within two weeks; if it does not, it may be a good idea to contact a medical professional.

Postpartum Sterilization
This refers to any operation performed directly after childbirth in order to prevent a woman from becoming pregnant again.

Post-Term Pregnancy
Any pregnancy that goes longer than 42 weeks is post-term. It is unhealthy to allow a pregnancy to go more than two weeks past the due date.

Preeclamsia
This is a name for hypertension and swelling during pregnancy.

Premature Delivery
Delivery before the 37th week of pregnancy is considered premature.

Premature Rupture of Membranes
When the water (amniotic sac) breaks early.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
A severe and chronic medical condition requiring attention and treatment, PMDD is a much more severe form of PMS, with symptoms that are more intense and sometimes dangerous.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Abdominal bloating, cramping, breast tenderness, fatigue, anxiety and depression are all symptoms of PMS, occurring between two and seven days before the onset of menstruation.

Preterm
Babies born before the 37th week are considered preterm.

Preterm Labor
If labor begins before pregnancy’s thirty-eighth week, this is considered preterm, or premature labor.

Progesterone
This female hormone is produced in the ovaries. It matures the uterine lining, preparing it to nourish a fertilized egg, during the menstrual cycle’s second half. If the egg is not fertilized, falling progesterone levels trigger menstruation.

Progestin
This is the synthetic replacement hormone for progesterone.

Prolonged Labor
Labor lasting more than 24 hours is considered prolonged. This more often occurs with a first pregnancy, where the labor process is generally longer.

Pudendal Block
This is a local anesthetic administered to the vagina. It lessens pain during delivery.

Pyelonephritis
This refers to a kidney infection.

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