When I first heard of endometriosis, and started doing my own research into it there were a lot of terms or abbreviations that I just didn’t understand. Today’s blog, aims to provide you with a glossary of terms, that you can hopefully refer back to when reading something that you don’t understand. I also found that the longer you’re in the endo community, the more colloquialisms and medical words you use. When talking to anyone who doesn’t have endo, they spend at least half of the conversation with a very confused look on their face. So, this glossary is also for those of you who are less familiar with endo, and are trying to understand it more because someone in your life is dealing with it.
Ablation – the removal of tissue through lasers heat and electrical currents
Adhesions – fibrous scar tissue that has formed inside the body.
Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy – a surgical procedure where both ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed.
BSGE – British School for Gynaecological Endoscopy. Improving standards, promoting training and encouraging the exchange of information in minimal access surgery techniques for women needing gynaecological surgeries.
Cauterization – laser removal of tissue
Chocolate Cyst – an ovarian cyst filled with old blood.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – persistent extreme tiredness which has an impact on day-to-day life
CNS – clinical nurse specialist, they specialise in a specific field, in this case endometriosis. They are a good source of support and information for patients.
COP – combined oral pill. Birth control pill containing progesterone and estrogen.
Cul-de-sac – the area between the womb and the rectum.
Cystoscopy – a procedure where a small telescope is inserted into the urethra to see the bladder
D&C – dilation and curettage. A procedure, done under anaesthetic, where the lining of the womb is removed.
Dysmenorrhea – painful periods
Dyspareunia – painful sex
Endometrium – the mucus membrane lining the uterus, which thickens during the menstrual cycle in preparation for possible implantation of an embryo.
Estrogen – female sex hormone.
Excision – destroying and removing growths and scar tissues with intense heat, with the goal of treating endo, without harming the healthy tissue.
Hysterectomy – a surgical procedure where the uterus is removed. This can sometimes (wrongly) be suggested as a treatment for endometriosis, but because the endometrium is found separate to the uterus it does not help with the pain. It can help with adenomyosis though.
Hysteroscopy – examination of the womb under anaesthetic
Laparoscopy – procedure conducted under general anaesthetic, doctors insert a small telescope into the pelvis through the belly button. This is the only effective method to diagnose endometriosis.
Lesions – abnormal tissues.
Menopause – where the ovaries stop functioning and periods stop. This will usually happen later in life, but sometimes is medically (temporarily) induced to help with symptoms.
NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, providing guidelines and advice to improve health and social care. They published guidelines for endometriosis in 2017.
NSAID – Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug, such as ibuprofen, naproxen or mephenamic acid.
Ovarian Cyst – a fluid filled growth in or on the ovary .
Polyp – a small growth which can be cancerous or non-cancerous.
POP – progesterone only pill.
Pouch of Douglas – the area between the womb and the rectum
Progesterone – female sex hormone that thickens the uterine lining in order for pregnancy to occur.
Retrograde menstruation – when some of the lining of the uterus flows backwards during a periods, into the abdomen.
Sigmoidoscopy – an investigative procedure in which a telescope is inserted through the back passage and into the colon.
Transvaginal scan – an ultrasound carried out through the vagina.
Ultrasound – a non-invasive procedure to see inside the body using high frequency sound waves.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every term relating to endometriosis, but hopefully it will shed some light on a lot of words regularly used when talking about endo, especially with doctors!