Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Gynecology

  • Guides you through the decision to have infertility testing. Talks about causes of infertility. Lists risks and benefits of infertility testing. Explains how you might use test results. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Guides through decision to treat abnormal uterine bleeding. Explains symptoms that doctor would look for before recommending treatment. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to...

  • Some breast cancers need the hormones estrogen or progesterone to grow. These cancer cells have "receptors" on their surfaces. Receptors are like doorways to let hormones in. These types of breast cancer are called estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+)...

  • Get tips for managing skin changes caused by radiation treatment.

  • Compare the pros and cons of having breast reconstruction.

  • For years, studies have shown that for early-stage breast cancer, women who have breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) followed by radiation treatments live just as long as women who have mastectomy. This was good news for women who wanted to avoid...

  • Take a minute to find out what a vaginal yeast infection is and how to treat it.

  • Like tampons or pads, menstrual cups are a way to manage menstrual bleeding. You insert a menstrual cup in your vagina to collect menstrual flow. And then you remove it from your vagina to empty it. The cups are usually made of rubber or silicone....

  • Adults with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities are more vulnerable than other adults because they are not as independent. They may have a hard time making decisions. Or they may have problems controlling their behavior. Along with older adults, these vulnerable adults have a higher risk of being abused by...

  • Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs: When you are not expecting your menstrual period. When your menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than what is normal for you. At a time in life when it is...

  • Gender identity is your inner sense of being male, female, both, neither, or some other gender. For transgender people, their gender identity does not match the sex that they were assigned at birth. Sometimes gender identity is outside the two most common categories of male or female. People who feel this way may use...

  • Find out what endometriosis is and how to work with your doctor to find relief.

  • Learn how to care for yourself and safely recover after a vasectomy.

  • Learn about a vasectomy, how it's done, and how to prepare for the surgery.

  • Most women have painful cramps from their period from time to time. The good news is that you can usually relieve cramps with over-the-counter medicine and home treatment. Pain medicine and home treatment can help ease cramps. Stay ahead of the pain. Take over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen (Advil, for...

  • Guides through decision to have surgery for pelvic organ prolapse. Explains symptoms and discusses several types of surgeries used for different symptoms. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses overactive bladder, a kind of urge incontinence. Explains what overactive bladder is. Looks at causes and symptoms. Covers how it is diagnosed. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • Is this topic for you? This topic is for women who have vulvodynia, a type of vulvar pain with no known cause. If your doctor has told you that the pain in your vulva is caused by something else, like an infection or a skin problem, see the topic Female Genital Problems and Injuries. What is vulvodynia...

  • Breast lumps or changes are a common health worry for most women. Women may have many kinds of breast lumps and other breast changes throughout their lives, including changes that occur with menstrual periods, pregnancy, and aging. Most breast lumps and breast changes are normal. Breast changes in young girls Breast...

  • HPV (Human papillomavirus) vaccine can prevent infection with some types of human papillomavirus. HPV infections can cause certain types of cancers including: cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, penile cancer in men, and anal cancers in both men and women HPV vaccine prevents infection...

  • Provides links to info on common concerns of women's health. Includes info on birth control, hormone therapy for menopause symptoms, abnormal pap tests, and fertility problems. Also looks at pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the postpartum period.

  • Guides through decision on when to start having mammograms. Discusses the benefits and risks of having a mammogram and the risk for getting breast cancer. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • As soon as you start to think about leaving, you need to take extra care to stay safe. For example, if you printed out this information, it may be better off in the hands of a trusted friend than at home. The more prepared and supported you are, the safer leaving can be. Here are some tips that may be helpful. Keep in...

  • After you leave a violent relationship, you may have to take extra steps to stay safe. For example, if you printed out this information, it may be better off in the hands of a trusted friend than at home. Here are some tips that may increase your safety. Keep in mind that this information is not official legal advice...

  • Whether to wear a breast form (prosthesis) after breast surgery is a very personal decision. Some women feel better about themselves when their clothes fit just as they did before surgery. Other women feel comfortable just as they are. You can buy these forms already made, or they can be custom-made from a mold of...

  • If you or your child has a rectal prolapse, you may be able to push the prolapse back into place as soon as it occurs. Your doctor will let you know if this is okay to do. Put on disposable gloves, and put lubricating jelly on your finger. Gently...

  • What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a disease that affects your bones. It means you have bones that are thin and brittle, with lots of holes inside them like a sponge. This makes them easy to break. Osteoporosis can lead to broken bones (fractures) in the hip, spine, and wrist. What causes osteoporosis...

  • Guides through the decision to be screened for sexually transmitted infections. Explains STIs and discusses causes and lifestyles that put you at higher risk for getting infected. Covers benefits and risks of testing. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

  • A sonohysterogram uses ultrasound to look at the inside of your uterus. A salt (saline) solution is put in the uterus for a clearer image. Ultrasound images from a sonohysterogram can help find the cause of bleeding or problems with getting pregnant. Unlike a hysterosalpingogram, a sonohysterogram doesn't use...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic covers heavy menstrual bleeding, including information about symptoms, tests, and home treatment. For more information, see the topics Normal Menstrual Cycle, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, Uterine Fibroids, and Endometriosis. What are heavy menstrual periods? If you bleed...

  • If you've found out that you have a BRCA gene change, you may be feeling pretty overwhelmed. But when it comes to cancer, knowledge is power. Now that you know you are BRCA-positive, you can take steps to reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Thinking about cancer risk Experts know that women who are...

  • Birth control—without it, pregnancy can happen. That's why you need birth control you can count on. There are lots of good options for birth control. Your best choices are those that you find easy to use—so you never go without it. And of course, no matter what kind of birth control you use, you always need a plan for...

  • Learn more about leaking urine and why you should talk to your doctor about it.

  • Learn how to do exercises that can help prevent urine leakage.

  • Learn why getting a pap test is important.

  • Learn why taking your osteoporosis medicine is so important.

  • Guides through decision to get the HPV vaccine. Explains the vaccination process. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through breast cancer screening choices if you have dense breasts. Discusses the benefits and risks of choosing more testing after a mammogram, such as ultrasound or MRI. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • What are dense breasts? Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. The tissue inside your breasts can be different types too. Some breast tissue is fatty. Other breast tissue is dense. " Dense" means it's made of thick, fibrous tissue and milk glands. You can learn how dense your breasts are from your mammogram...

  • The intrauterine device (IUD) is a method of birth control that is placed in your uterus. It is a small, plastic, T-shaped device that contains copper or hormones. You can depend on an IUD to prevent pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the...

  • Learn what a hysterectomy is and how it's done.

  • Learn how and why endometrial ablation is done.

  • Compare the pros and cons of having a hysterectomy for abnormal uterine bleeding.

  • Hear what other women thought about as they decided whether to have this surgery.

  • Learn how hormone therapy is used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after a hysterectomy.

  • Adult protective underwear may be helpful for a person who has incontinence. A person who has incontinence has trouble controlling urine or stool. This underwear helps absorb urine and catch stool. There are different types of adult protective underwear. A washable kind may be useful when a loved one has trouble with...

  • What are combination pills? Combination pills are used to prevent pregnancy. Most people call them "the pill." Combination pills release a regular dose of two hormones, estrogen and progestin. They prevent pregnancy in a few ways. They thicken the mucus in the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to travel into...

  • What is a birth control implant? The implant is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a thin rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin (subdermal) on the inside of your arm. The implant releases the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin prevents pregnancy in these ways: It thickens the...

  • What is the shot? The shot is used to prevent pregnancy. You get the shot in your upper arm or rear end (buttocks). The shot gives you a dose of the hormone progestin. The shot is often called by its brand name, Depo-Provera. Progestin prevents pregnancy in these ways: It thickens the mucus in the cervix. This...

  • What are mini-pills? Mini-pills are used to prevent pregnancy. They release a regular dose of a hormone called progestin. They are different from regular combination birth control pills. Those contain progestin and another hormone called estrogen. Progestin prevents pregnancy in a few ways. It thickens the mucus...

  • What is the patch? The patch is used to prevent pregnancy. It looks like a bandage and is put on the skin of your belly, rear end (buttocks), upper arm, or upper body (but not on a breast). The patch releases a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent pregnancy in three ways...

  • What is the ring? The ring is used to prevent pregnancy. It's a soft plastic ring that you put into your vagina. It's also called the vaginal ring. The ring releases a regular dose of the hormones estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent pregnancy in three ways. They thicken the mucus in the cervix. This...

  • Learn what a lumpectomy is and how it is done.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after having a lumpectomy.

  • Learn what a mastectomy is and how it is done.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after having a mastectomy.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after having lymph nodes removed.

  • Hear what other women thought about as they decided whether to have breast reconstruction.

  • A dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from the lining of the uterus (endometrium). During a D&C, the vagina is spread open. Then the cervix is opened gently so that tissue can be removed, usually with a scraping or suction...

  • Learn what a tubal ligation is and how it's done.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after a tubal ligation.

  • Hirsutism (say "HER-suh-tiz-um") is extra hair on a woman's face or body. This hair is dark and coarse. It grows in a male pattern: on the face, like a man's facial hair, or on the body, especially the chest and back. What causes hirsutism? Usually extra hair growth is not a medical problem. It can run in...

  • When is radiation used for early-stage breast cancer? Radiation therapy is given to most women with early-stage breast cancer who choose breast-conserving surgery such as lumpectomy. Their other surgery option is mastectomy, which removes the whole breast. Many women choose breast-conserving surgery...

  • Learn how vaginal tears can happen with any size baby. Tears can be treated, and they heal quickly.

  • What are pubic lice? Pubic lice are tiny insects that usually live in your pubic area. Sometimes they're also found on facial hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, armpits, chest hair, and the scalp. They're different than the kind of lice that you can get on your head. Pubic lice are also called "crabs" because they look like...

  • Menopause is the point in a woman's life when she has not had her period for 1 year. Menopause is a natural part of growing older. You don't need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother you. But it's a good idea to learn all you can about menopause. Knowing what to expect can help you stay as healthy as...

  • A menstrual diary is a helpful tool for better understanding your premenstrual symptoms and then deciding how to treat them. Regardless of whether you have full-blown, diagnosable premenstrual syndrome (PMS), your menstrual diary can help you plan ahead for, prevent, and better cope with your premenstrual symptoms. You...

  • The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to remove genital warts by heating the margin of the area to be removed, which separates the wart from the skin. LEEP is done in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital on an outpatient basis. A local anesthetic is injected...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic is for women who want to learn about or have been diagnosed with abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). Abnormal uterine bleeding has several causes. If you don't know what kind of bleeding you have, see the topic Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding. What is abnormal uterine bleeding? Abnormal...

  • Guides through decision to have a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) test for osteoporosis. Explains DXA test. Includes risk factors for osteoporosis you can and cannot change. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Guides you through the decision to have infertility treatment. Explains what infertility is and what may cause it. Discusses various types of infertility treatments. Covers benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Guides through the decision to have colposcopy if a Pap test shows minor cell changes. Covers other choices such as watchful waiting and HPV testing. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Pregnancy does not seem to increase the progression of abnormal cervical cell changes. The presence of abnormal cervical cell changes or HPV does not affect the outcome of the pregnancy. Close monitoring is needed so that you and your health...

  • Discusses complete physical exam of a woman's pelvic organs by a health professional. Includes info on exam of vagina, cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Explains how exam is done. Discusses speculum, stirrups, Pap test, and reproductive health problems.

  • Your first menstrual period is called menarche (say "MEN-ar-kee"). It usually starts sometime between ages 11 and 14. But it can happen as early as age 9 or as late as 15. If you are a teenage girl, see your doctor if you have not started having periods by age 15. Menarche is a sign you are growing up and becoming a...

  • If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal computer or device to...

  • A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an X-ray test. It looks at the inside of the uterus and fallopian tubes and the area around them. It often is done for women who are having a hard time getting pregnant (infertility). During the test, a dye ( contrast material) is put through a thin tube. That tube is put through the...

  • What are infertility tests? Infertility tests are done to help find out why a woman cannot become pregnant. The tests help find whether the problem is with the man, the woman, or both. Tests usually include a physical exam, semen analysis, blood tests, and special procedures. Should I be tested? Before you have...

  • Guides through decision to use selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medicine for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Lists home remedies to try for PMS before SSRI. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through the decision to have surgery for stress incontinence. Explains causes of stress incontinence. Lists risks and benefits of surgery. Explains other treatment choices. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Complete one of these records each day for several days, then take the completed records to your doctor. This information will help you and your doctor see how often you leak urine and what seems to cause the leakage. Name: Date: Instructions: Place a check mark in the appropriate column next to the time you urinated...

  • Guides you through the decision to use hormone therapy (HT) for menopause symptoms. Explains what menopause is and what to expect. Lists risks and benefits of HT and other treatments to try. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • A vaginal yeast infection is thought to be recurrent when: You have had four or more infections within 1 year. The infections have caused symptoms. The infections are not related to the use of antibiotics. If you have a recurrent vaginal yeast...

  • Everyone gets angry from time to time. Anger and arguments are normal parts of healthy relationships. But anger that leads to threats, hitting, or hurting someone is not normal or healthy. This is a form of abuse. Physical, verbal, or sexual abuse is not okay in any relationship. When it occurs between spouses or...

  • Covers when feelings of sadness or anxiety may indicate need for treatment for depression. Offers tips to help with depression. Explains emergency symptoms, like talk about suicide. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • Hip pain can make it hard to walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip is not painful, in many cases the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment...

  • Discusses laparoscopy to diagnose and remove mild to moderate endometriosis. Covers why it is done and what to expect after surgery. Includes how well laparoscopic surgery works and possible risks. Discusses infertility.

  • Discusses endometriosis, a problem where a type of tissue grows outside the uterus. Covers symptoms like pelvic pain, severe menstrual cramps, infertility, and painful sex. Discusses hysterectomy and laparoscopy.

  • Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. A doctor applies liquid nitrogen to and around the warts. First, the tissue is frozen with liquid nitrogen. Then, the tissue is allowed to thaw. The tissue is frozen again, if needed. The time of application varies by the doctor...

  • A laser can be used to destroy genital warts. Laser surgery may be done in a doctor's office or clinic, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Local or general anesthetic may be used depending on the number of warts to be removed or the size of the area to be treated. For women, abnormal cervical cell changes...

  • Your doctor may take a sample, or biopsy, of abnormal tissue. The majority of warts do not require a biopsy. But a biopsy may be taken if genital warts cannot be easily identified with a physical exam or during a gynecology exam with a lighted magnifying instrument ( colposcopy). A microscopic exam on the biopsied...

  • Covers causes and symptoms of human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is also called genital warts. Looks at treatment with medicines, lasers, surgery, or freezing. Covers prevention and shots of HPV vaccine.

  • Weight-bearing exercises, started in your youth and continued throughout your life, can help prevent osteoporosis. These exercises, such as walking, jogging, climbing, dancing, or lifting weights, help you build strong bones as a young person. And...

  • Covers causes and symptoms of osteoporosis in women. Looks at treatment with medicine. Includes steps to slow bone loss with exercise, eating healthy foods, and quitting smoking. Covers protecting yourself from falling to prevent broken bones.

  • Breastfeeding can be used as a method of birth control, called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). But three conditions must be met to ensure its effectiveness: Your baby must be 6 months of age or younger. After your baby is 6 months old, you are much more likely to become pregnant and need to use another...

  • The levonorgestrel (LNg) intrauterine device (IUD) releases small amounts of levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone, into the uterus each day. This type of IUD reduces cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding. And it is a highly effective method of...

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control (incontinence) can sometimes result from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Several strategies may help you deal with this problem: Encourage the person to use the bathroom on a regular schedule, such as every...

  • Covers symptoms of PMS such as bloating, muscle aches, and mood swings. Discusses possible causes and what increases your risk. Covers treatment with lifestyle changes, antidepressants, or birth control pills. Covers surgery for severe form (PMDD).

  • A diaphragm is a birth control device that blocks sperm from fertilizing an egg. It is made of rubber and shaped like a dome. It fits inside a woman's vagina and covers the cervix (the opening of the uterus); a firm, flexible rim keeps it in place....

  • What is trichomoniasis? Trichomoniasis is an infection with a tiny parasite spread by sexual contact ( sexually transmitted infection (STI)). It is sometimes called a Trichomonas infection or trich (say "trick"). Both men and women can get a trich infection, but it is more commonly detected in women. Trich in pregnant...

  • What is toxic shock syndrome? Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare illness that happens suddenly after an infection. It quickly can harm several different organs, including the lungs, the kidneys, and the liver, and it can be deadly. Since toxic shock syndrome gets worse quickly, it requires medical treatment right...

  • Discusses ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), a condition where a fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus. Covers tests and treatments. Discusses complications, including fallopian tube damage. Covers risk factors like smoking, PID, or tubal ligation.

  • What is chlamydia? Chlamydia (say "kluh-MID-ee-uh") is an infection spread through sexual contact. This infection infects the urethra in men. In women, it infects the urethra and the cervix and can spread to the reproductive organs. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Chlamydia does...

  • What is a molar pregnancy? A molar pregnancy happens when tissue that normally becomes a fetus instead becomes an abnormal growth in your uterus. Even though it isn't an embryo, this growth triggers symptoms of pregnancy. A molar pregnancy should be treated right away. This will make sure that all of the tissue...

  • Looks at surgery for ovarian cysts. Explains why surgery is done and how well it works. Discusses what to expect after surgery. Covers risk and points to consider when facing surgery for ovarian cysts. Includes questions for your doctor.

  • Discusses ways to relieve pain from menstrual cramps that usually start before or at the beginning of your period. Includes steps you can take such as applying heat on your belly or getting regular exercise. Covers over-the-counter medicines that can help.

  • What is rectal prolapse? Rectal prolapse occurs when part or all of the wall of the rectum slides out of place, sometimes sticking out of the anus. See a picture of rectal prolapse. There are three types of rectal prolapse. Partial prolapse (also called mucosal prolapse). The lining (mucous membrane) of the rectum...

  • Looks at how and why ovarian cysts form. Covers mild and severe symptoms. Covers treatment with medicines and surgery. Offers home treatment tips.

  • Discusses surgical removal of fibroids from uterus. Covers hysteroscopy, laparoscopy, and laparotomy. Looks at what to expect after surgery and how well it works. Explains possible risks. Discusses hysterectomy, infertility, and miscarriage.

  • Discusses uterine fibroids (also called fibroid tumors, leiomyomas, or myomas), which are lumps that grow on your uterus. Covers treatment with myomectomy, hysterectomy, and uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).

  • Fitz-Hugh–Curtis syndrome occurs when pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes inflammation of the capsule covering the liver and the area around it. It causes pain in the upper right belly. This syndrome happens when bacteria enter the abdominal...

  • What is gonorrhea? Gonorrhea is an infection spread through sexual contact. In men, it most often infects the urethra. In women, it usually infects the urethra, cervix, or both. It also can infect the rectum, anus, throat, and pelvic organs. In rare cases, it can infect the eyes. Gonorrhea does not cause problems if...

  • Covers safer sex practices like abstinence, using condoms, watching for symptoms of STIs, and limiting number of sex partners you have. Includes list of questions to ask someone before having sex.

  • What is a male condom? Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy. A male condom is placed over a man's erect penis before sex. Condoms are also called "rubbers," "sheaths," or "skins." Condoms are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or...

  • What is syphilis? Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. If it's not treated by a doctor, it can get worse over time and cause serious health problems. The infection can be active at times and not active at other times. When the infection is active, you...

  • Neurosyphilis refers to the infection of the brain and spinal cord by the syphilis bacteria. This can lead to destruction in many areas of the nervous system, causing loss of function of a person's arms or legs, loss of vision, and altered mental...

  • Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother's syphilis goes untreated during pregnancy and is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can also become infected with syphilis during labor or delivery. The risk of infecting the baby is greatest...

  • You may wish to consider adoption as an alternative to treatment for infertility. Learning more about the tests, exams, success rates, and costs of infertility treatment may help you decide. Adoption provides people with an opportunity to raise and...

  • The basal body temperature (BBT) is a person's at-rest temperature. Women can track their BBT to find out when they are ovulating. With this time line, a woman can learn when she is most and least likely to become pregnant. When are you most likely to become pregnant? About 2 weeks before your period you...

  • Reproductive research and treatment raise many ethical and legal concerns. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has issued a number of statements about these issues. You can review these statements on its website at...

  • Looking for a cause of infertility can be a brief process or can become a financially, emotionally, and physically demanding succession of tests and procedures. Before you start infertility testing, take some time together to talk about how far each...

  • Infertility treatment has great potential for squandering some of your most precious resources—money, time, and peace of mind. Before you start infertility treatment, decide how much money, time, and emotional energy you can afford to spend on...

  • It can be hard to find out the cause of ovulation problems. Possible causes may include: Hormone imbalances. Most women with ovulation problems have hormone imbalances. An example of a condition that causes a hormone imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other ovulation problems can start in the...

  • When considering whether to try medicine or hormone treatment for infertility, ask: Whether there are any possible long-term risks related to the proposed treatment. Whether you need to change your sexual activities during treatment. Your doctor may...

  • When thinking about an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure, ask your doctor: For a step-by-step description of the procedure. Ask about any fertility medicines, daily blood testing, and egg harvesting. ART treatment is physically and...

  • Infertility is a major life crisis for many couples. It may affect self-esteem, body image, sexual identity, life goals, and sexual relations. When faced with the possibility or diagnosis of infertility, you may experience a broad range of emotions, including: Initial disbelief and denial followed by anger...

  • Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed to prevent her eggs from traveling from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm. Tubal ligation is a highly...

  • Problems with the fallopian tubes are a leading cause of infertility in women. Tubal blockage may be caused by: Past infection. This is most often a sexually transmitted infection. Sometimes it can be linked with a ruptured appendix. Tubal ligation...

  • Problems with a woman's uterus and/or cervix may be caused by many things. Causes include: Abnormalities of the uterus. These may have been present from birth. A past surgery or procedure, such as a cervical cone biopsy or a dilation and curettage...

  • An insemination procedure uses a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to put sperm into the woman's reproductive tract. For some couples with infertility problems, insemination can improve the chances of pregnancy. Donor sperm are used if the male partner...

  • Some infertile couples are affected by conditions that prevent the sperm and egg from traveling through a fallopian tube. (This is where fertilization and the first stage of cell division take place.) The following are assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures that are rarely used but may improve the chances of...

  • A fallopian tube blockage typically prevents successful passage of the egg to the sperm, or the fertilized egg to the uterus. Surgery can be used to try to correct this common cause of infertility. The specific type of surgery depends on the location and extent of the fallopian tube blockage. Some tubal procedures...

  • Looks at infertility. Includes info on various tests used for women and men to find out why a woman can't get pregnant. Covers treatments for men and women, including medicine to help a woman ovulate and procedures to increase a man's sperm count.

  • Dilation and evacuation (D&E) is done in the second 12 weeks ( second trimester) of pregnancy. It usually includes a combination of vacuum aspiration, dilation and curettage (D&C), and the use of surgical instruments (such as forceps). An ultrasound is done before a D&E to determine the size of the uterus and the...

  • Describes different methods used to induce labor and delivery for pregnancy termination. Lists what to expect after procedure and during recovery. Covers why it is done and how well it works. Also lists risks involved. Offers points to consider about the procedure.

  • Discusses cysts that form in the Bartholin gland, which is in a woman's genital area. Covers symptoms that include a lump under the skin in the vulva. Covers treatment with sitz bath, nonprescription pain medicine, or surgery.

  • Deciding to end a pregnancy is never easy. Every woman has a different reason for an abortion, and emotional reactions are common. After an abortion, it is normal to feel relief, sadness, grief, or guilt. These feelings can change from woman to woman. Natural hormonal changes that occur in your body during pregnancy...

  • Electrocautery removes genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe. Electrocautery is usually done in a doctor's office or a clinic. The injection of a numbing medicine ( local anesthetic) is usually used for pain control. Medicine that causes...

  • Visible genital warts on the penis or vagina or around the anus are removed by excision, which means cutting the warts off with a surgical knife (scalpel). Warts on the cervix may be removed by laser or loop electrosurgical excision (LEEP). The procedure is usually done in a doctor's office or clinic or an outpatient...

  • Provides info on hysterectomy, a surgical treatment for endometriosis, fibroids, or uterine cancer. Describes types of surgery such as vaginal, abdominal, supracervical hysterectomies, and LAVH. Covers risks. Discusses physical and emotional recovery.

  • Discusses natural family planning or periodic abstinence as a form of birth control. Covers using one of six basic methods to either get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant. Covers how each method works and what could affect the method.

  • Keep a daily diary of all liquids taken in and all urine released, whether voluntary or involuntary. Your health professional may also call this a voiding log, bladder record, frequency-volume chart, incontinence chart, or voiding diary. The diary...

  • Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place. Doctors often prescribe Kegels for: Stress incontinence. This means leaking urine when you laugh, cough, sneeze, jog, or lift something heavy. Urge...

  • A bladder stress test simulates the accidental release of urine ( urinary incontinence) that may occur when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or exercise. A Bonney test is done as part of the bladder stress test, after the doctor verifies that urine is lost with coughing. It is similar to the bladder stress test except the...

  • Urodynamic tests for urinary incontinence are measurements taken to evaluate your bladder's function and efficiency. The actual tests done vary from person to person. Some urodynamic tests are relatively simple and can be done in a doctor's office. Other tests require expensive and sophisticated instruments to measure...

  • Retropubic suspension surgery is used to treat urinary incontinence by lifting the sagging bladder neck and urethra that have dropped abnormally low in the pelvic area. Retropubic suspension is abdominal surgery, where access to the bladder and urethra is gained by making an incision in the abdominal (belly) wall. This...

  • Urethral sling surgery, also called mid-urethral sling surgery, is done to treat urinary incontinence. A sling is placed around the urethra to lift it back into a normal position and to exert pressure on the urethra to aid urine retention. The sling is attached to the abdominal (belly) wall. The sling material may be...

  • Urethral bulking to treat urinary incontinence involves injecting material (such as collagen) around the urethra. This may be done to: Close a hole in the urethra through which urine leaks out. Build up the thickness of the wall of the urethra so it seals tightly when you hold back urine. Most bulking materials are...

  • Several types of behavioral methods are used for treating urinary incontinence: bladder training, habit training, biofeedback, and pelvic muscle exercises. People who have incontinence due to physical or mental limitations ( functional incontinence) can try timed voiding and prompted voiding. Bladder training...

  • Electrical stimulation is used to treat urinary incontinence by sending a mild electric current to nerves in the lower back or the pelvic muscles that are involved in urination. You may be able to provide electrical stimulation therapy at home using a unit with a vaginal or anal electrode. Timing and duration of...

  • Absorbent products are items that absorb urine, such as adult diapers, plastic-coated underwear, pads, or panty liners that attach to underwear. Most commercially available items are disposable (such as Depend or Poise). Some absorbent cloths can be washed and reused. Drip collectors that fit over the penis are also...

  • Discusses urinary incontinence in women. Looks at types of incontinence, including stress and urge incontinence. Covers causes and symptoms. Discusses treatment with medicine or surgery. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • If you have symptoms of preterm labor, your doctor or nurse-midwife may examine you by feeling your cervix. If your contractions continue over a period of hours, you may be examined periodically to see whether your cervix is opening (dilating) or...

  • Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines. If you have problems...

  • Discusses vasovasostomy, a procedure to reconnect the vas deferens tubes that were cut during a vasectomy. Covers what to expect after surgery and how well it works. Also covers risks.

  • During in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilize an egg. With IVF, you can use any combination of your own eggs and sperm and donor eggs and sperm. After IVF, one or more fertilized eggs are placed in the uterus. Ovulation...

  • Home pregnancy tests can find the presence of a pregnancy hormone (called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) in a sample of urine. High levels of hCG are made during pregnancy. The home tests have similar results to the pregnancy tests done on urine in most doctors' offices if they are used exactly as instructed...

  • The transition to postmenopause is a normal part of the aging process. It is also a time of physical changes. You can expect some emotional responses to these changes, both positive and negative. Menopause does not create serious emotional issues for most women. Many women celebrate a sense of freedom from birth...

  • A hot flash is a sudden sensation of intense body heat, often with profuse sweating and reddening of the head, neck, and chest. These symptoms can occur with mild to severe heart palpitations, anxiety, irritability and, rarely, panic. Hot flashes are the most common symptom of a woman's changing estrogen levels around...

  • Many women reach postmenopause without noticing a change in their sexuality. You may find that the freedom from birth control and menstrual periods increases your sexual interest and pleasure. Some women have vaginal dryness around the time of menopause. If sexual intercourse is painful because of vaginal dryness...

  • Discusses procedure to destroy (ablate) the uterine lining, or endometrium. Explains that it is done to control heavy, prolonged uterine bleeding. Looks at how well it works and risks.

  • Discusses what happens in the body during menopause or perimenopause. Describes physical and emotional symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. Discusses treatment with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Also covers hormone therapy.

  • A vaginal self-examination is a way for a woman to look at her vulva and vagina. A vaginal self-examination may help you better understand your body, the changes that take place during the menstrual cycle, and any problems that may need medical attention. The best time to do a vaginal self-examination is between your...

  • Covers birth control methods, including the pill, skin patch, Depo-Provera shot, condoms, cervical cap, and diaphragm. Provides questions to help you decide the right birth control method for you. Covers emergency contraception (the morning-after pill).

  • You can slow the onset of osteoporosis or reduce its impact if you form habits that build and strengthen your bones. It is best if you start healthy habits early in life, but it's never too late. Habits that build and strengthen bones include:...

  • Herpes tests are done to find the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An HSV infection can cause small, painful sores that look like blisters on the skin or the tissue lining ( mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina. A herpes infection may cause only a single outbreak of sores, but in many...

  • Between 1948 and 1971, millions of women took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage. Daughters born to women who took DES while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of developing: Abnormal cervical cells that cause an...

  • What is screening for cervical cancer? Cervical cancer screening tests can help your doctor find and treat abnormal cell changes on your cervix before they develop into cervical cancer. These tests may be done as part of a pelvic exam. What screening tests are used? Tests include: A Pap test...

  • Discusses genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2). Covers symptoms and treatment, including care during pregnancy. Covers what increases your risk and offers prevention tips.

  • What is an abnormal Pap test? When your doctor says that your Pap test, or Pap smear, was abnormal, it means that the test found some cells on your cervix that do not look normal. A Pap test may be done as part of a woman's routine physical exam, because it's the best way to prevent cervical cancer. But having an...

  • A cone biopsy is an extensive form of a cervical biopsy. It is called a cone biopsy because a cone-shaped wedge of tissue is removed from the cervix and examined under a microscope. A cone biopsy removes abnormal tissue that is high in the cervical canal. A small amount of normal tissue around the cone-shaped wedge of...

  • Cryotherapy destroys abnormal tissue on the cervix by freezing it. Cryotherapy destroys some normal tissue along with the abnormal tissue. During cryotherapy, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2), which is very cold, circulates through a probe placed next to the abnormal tissue. This freezes the tissue for 2 to 3 minutes. It may...

  • A carbon dioxide (CO2) laser beam is used to: Destroy (vaporize) abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen through a magnifying viewing instrument (colposcope). Remove abnormal tissue high in the cervical canal that cannot be seen through the colposcope. The CO2 laser can be used to do a cone biopsy. To learn more...

  • The loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) is a way to remove abnormal tissue from the cervix. It is done using a fine wire loop that has a low-voltage electrical current. LEEP may be done after colposcopy and cervical biopsy have confirmed an abnormal Pap test result. In some cases, LEEP may be done instead of...

  • What are cold sores? Cold sores, sometimes called fever blisters, are groups of small blisters on the lip and around the mouth. Often the first sign of a cold sore is a spot that tingles, burns, or itches. A blister usually forms within 24 hours. The skin around the blisters is often red, swollen, and sore. The...

  • Tests for bacterial vaginosis take samples of fluid from the vagina. The samples are looked at under a microscope to see if they show signs of infection. Bacterial vaginosis is caused by a change in the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Normally, there are a lot of "good" bacteria and some "bad" bacteria in the...

  • Discusses doing regular self-exam to help find breast lumps or changes early. Covers how it is done and what to look for. Also discusses what results mean and when you should see a doctor.

  • Chlamydia tests use a sample of body fluid or urine to see whether chlamydia bacteria ( Chlamydia trachomatis) are present and causing an infection. Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Tests used to find a chlamydia infection include...

  • Colposcopy lets a doctor look at your vulva, vagina, and cervix. If the doctor sees a possible problem, they can take a small sample of tissue. Then another doctor studies the tissue under a microscope. This is called a biopsy. Most women have this procedure after they have abnormal results from a Pap test...

  • The human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) test is done to check for the hormone hCG in blood or urine. Some hCG tests measure the exact amount. Some just check to see if the hormone is present. HCG is made by the placenta during pregnancy. The test can be used to see if a woman is pregnant. Or it can be done as part of a...

  • A pocket of pus that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary is called a tubo-ovarian abscess. Tubo-ovarian abscesses can develop in women who have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A tubo-ovarian abscess is usually diagnosed by...

  • What is pelvic inflammatory disease? Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of a woman's reproductive organs. Treating PID right away is important, because PID can cause scar tissue in the pelvic organs and lead to infertility. It can also cause other problems, such as pelvic pain and tubal (ectopic)...

  • Discusses cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) test that can help show if some types of cancer are present. Covers its use to check how well treatment for ovarian cancer is working or to see if ovarian cancer has returned. Covers possible test results.

  • An endometrial biopsy is a way for your doctor to take a small sample of the lining of the uterus ( endometrium). The sample is looked at under a microscope for abnormal cells. An endometrial biopsy helps your doctor find problems in the endometrium. An endometrial biopsy is sometimes done at the same time as...

  • Gonorrhea tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for the bacterium, or germ, that causes gonorrhea. Testing is done on body fluid or urine samples. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact. It does not always cause symptoms. Tests used to find a...

  • Breast lumps are common, especially in women ages 30 to 50. A number of conditions can result in a lump or lumps in your breast. Most of these conditions are harmless or of minor concern. Generalized breast lumpiness usually feels like lots of...

  • What are fibrocystic breast changes? Many women have breasts that feel lumpy, thick, and tender, especially right before their periods. These symptoms are called fibrocystic breast changes. They may also be called cyclic breast changes, because they come and go with your menstrual cycle. Fibrocystic breast...

  • A Pap test is done to look for changes in the cells of the cervix. During a Pap test, a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix is collected by your doctor. The sample is then spread on a slide (Pap smear) or mixed in a liquid fixative (liquid-based cytology) and sent to a lab for examination under a...

  • Discusses common vaginal infection. Covers symptoms like vaginal discharge and odor. Covers possible complications, including miscarriage, premature birth, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Looks at treatment with antibiotics. Offers prevention tips.

  • Discusses test that evaluates sperm to see if there are fertility problems or if a vasectomy worked. Covers how the test is done and how to prepare. Discusses what results may mean. Lists factors like medicines or activities that may affect the test.

  • Syphilis tests tell if a person has this disease. They look for antibodies to the bacterium, or germ, that causes syphilis. Some tests look for the syphilis germ itself. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact: vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Testing is done on...

  • A vaginal wet mount (sometimes called a vaginal smear) is a test to find the cause of vaginitis, or inflammation of the vagina and the area around the vagina (vulva). Vaginitis is often caused by an infection. But it may also be caused by a reaction to vaginal products such as soap, bath oils, spermicidal jelly, or...

  • Discusses infection caused by overgrowth of Candida albicans, a type of yeast that normally lives in the vagina. Covers symptoms like itching or soreness in vagina or burning when you urinate or have sex. Looks at treatment with medicines like Monistat.

  • Several myths about when a woman can or cannot become pregnant persist, particularly among younger people. Myth Truth You can't get pregnant the first time you have vaginal intercourse. Getting pregnant has nothing to do with how many times you have...

  • Discusses vasectomy, a permanent method of birth control for men. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Discusses how well it works and risks. Also provides info on reconnecting the vas deferens (vasectomy reversal).

  • Tubal ligation, often referred to as "having your tubes tied," is a surgical procedure in which a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked, tied, or cut. Tubal implants, such as Essure, are small metal springs that are placed in each fallopian tube in a nonsurgical procedure (no cutting is involved). Over time, scar tissue...

  • Birth control methods have high rates of effectiveness if they are used consistently. Follow your health professional's instructions on what to do if you miss or skip your birth control pills. Some general guidelines are listed here. Combination (estrogen plus progestin) birth control pills Always read...

  • It is not unusual for women who are taking hormone pills for birth control to have very light periods or no bleeding at all. If you have not missed any pills, skip 1 period, yet have no other signs of early pregnancy, it is very unlikely that you are pregnant. Signs of early pregnancy include fatigue, breast...

  • A tubal ligation is considered a permanent method of birth control. The fallopian tubes are cut or blocked, which prevents pregnancy by blocking the egg's path to the sperm and uterus. Laparoscopy makes it possible to see and do the surgery through small incisions in the abdomen. For a laparoscopic tubal...

  • Before having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, you will probably have: A pregnancy test, especially if you have not been using an effective method of birth control, have been sexually active in the past month, and are not having your menstrual period at the time of the procedure. Testing for sexually...

  • Vaginal yeast infections are a common problem during pregnancy. They may be caused by high estrogen levels. These infections aren't a risk to the pregnancy. But they can cause uncomfortable symptoms. If you are pregnant and have vaginal infection...

  • What is mastitis? Mastitis is a breast inflammation usually caused by infection. It can happen to any woman, although mastitis is most common during the first 6 months of breastfeeding. It can leave a new mother feeling very tired and run-down. Add the illness to the demands of taking care of a newborn, and many women...

  • Most women have painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) from time to time. Menstrual cramps are one of the most common reasons for women to seek medical attention. The pain from menstrual cramps can range from mild to severe and can involve the...

  • Most women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. You may be different: You may have more or fewer. Missed or irregular periods must be looked at in terms of what is normal for you. Menstrual periods are often irregular during the first...

  • It is not unusual to have a problem with your mouth from time to time. A mouth problem can involve your gums, lips, tongue, or inner cheeks, the roof of your mouth (soft and hard palates), under your tongue, your neck, or your teeth. Your mouth may...

  • Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a group of rare diseases in which abnormal trophoblast cells grow inside the uterus after conception. In gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), a tumor develops inside the uterus from tissue that forms after conception (the joining of sperm and egg). This tissue is made of...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Hot flashes and night sweats are common in cancer patients and survivors. A hot flash is a sudden warm feeling over your face, neck, and chest that may cause you to sweat and your face to turn red. Sweating is your body's way of lowering body temperature by causing heat loss through your skin. Hot flashes combined...

  • Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes. Each lobe has many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and...

  • Cervical cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). Anatomy of the female reproductive system. The organs in...

  • Ovarian epithelial cancer, fallopian tube cancer, and primary peritoneal cancer are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue covering the ovary or lining the fallopian tube or peritoneum. The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are in the pelvis, one on each side of...

  • Endometrial cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus, a hollow, muscular organ in a woman's pelvis. The uterus is where a fetus grows. In most nonpregnant women, the uterus is about 3 inches long. The lower, narrow end...

  • Ovarian germ cell tumor is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the germ (egg) cells of the ovary. Germ cell tumors begin in the reproductive cells (egg or sperm) of the body. Ovarian germ cell tumors usually occur in teenage girls or young women and most often affect just one ovary. The ovaries are a...

  • Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer may occur in men. Breast cancer may occur in men at any age, but it usually occurs in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer. The...

  • Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes. Each lobe has many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and...

  • Uterine sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the muscles of the uterus or other tissues that support the uterus. The uterus is part of the female reproductive system. The uterus is the hollow, pear-shaped organ in the pelvis, where a fetus grows. The cervix is at the lower, narrow end of the...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Screening is looking for signs of disease, such as breast cancer, before a person has symptoms. The goal of screening tests is to find cancer at an early stage when it can be treated and may be cured. Sometimes a screening test finds cancer that is very small or very slow growing. These cancers are unlikely to cause...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

  • Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

  • Vaginal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the vagina. The vagina is the canal leading from the cervix (the opening of the uterus) to the outside of the body. At birth, a baby passes out of the body through the vagina (also called the birth canal). Anatomy of the female reproductive system...

  • Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

  • Vulvar cancer is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the vulva. Vulvar cancer forms in a woman's external genitalia. The vulva includes: Inner and outer lips of the vagina. Clitoris (sensitive tissue between the lips). Opening of the vagina and its glands. Mons pubis (the rounded...

  • Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. The breast is made up of lobes and ducts. Each breast has 15 to 20 sections called lobes. Each lobe has many smaller sections called lobules. Lobules end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can make milk. The lobes, lobules, and...

  • Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the ovary. The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of...

  • Cervical and vaginal cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix or the vagina. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The vagina is the canal leading...

  • Signs of sexual abuse may not be apparent without an examination of the genital area. These signs include: Bruises, scars, chafing, or bite marks in the genital area. Discharge or bleeding from the vagina. Rectal or genital bleeding. Anal tears or dilation. Symptoms of a sexually transmitted...

  • Discusses common skin rashes that affect those 11 and younger. Covers chickenpox, diaper rash, prickly heat, and contact dermatitis. Offers home treatment tips for fever and itching. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

  • Sexual abuse or assault (rape) can happen to anyone. If this has happened to you, you are not to blame. Sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that is done against your will. It can be nonviolent sexual abuse, such as nontouching sexual exposure (like being forced to look at sexual pictures) or unwanted or forced...

  • Mouth sores may make eating and talking painful. The most common mouth sores are cold sores and canker sores. In severe cases of canker sores, a doctor may prescribe a medicine to ease inflammation and pain. Other possible causes of mouth sores include: Impetigo. Symptoms may include oozing...

  • A genital self-exam is a simple examination you can give yourself to become familiar with what is normal for you and to see if you have any symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Men Look for any areas of redness, sores, bumps, warts, or blisters in your genital area. Look closely at and feel the...

  • If you participate in endurance sports, you may miss periods or stop menstruating. This is called secondary amenorrhea, and it occurs because your ovaries are not producing enough estrogen. It is believed that stress and low body fat contribute to amenorrhea. This is more likely to happen if you are younger and if your...

  • What is a female condom? Condoms can protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and they can be used to prevent pregnancy. The female condom is a tube of soft plastic (polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the woman's vagina...

  • When reviewing the following guidelines, take into account how heavy your normal menstrual flow is. Abnormal vaginal bleeding varies depending on what is normal for a particular woman. Severe vaginal bleeding means that you are soaking 1 or 2 pads or tampons in 1 or 2 hours, unless that is normal for you...

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding with fever may be caused by an infection in the pelvic organs. During your period, bacteria can travel up the vagina into the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause an infection. This is more common during menstruation but can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle. Symptoms of pelvic...

  • Most injuries are not caused by abuse. But bruises are often the first sign of possible abuse. Suspect physical abuse of a child or vulnerable adult when: Any injury cannot be explained or does not match the explanation. Repeated injuries occur. Explanations change for how the injury happened. You may be able to...

  • Lists common sexually transmitted infections, including chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, HIV, HPV (genital warts), syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor. Covers safer sex. Offers prevention tips.

  • Birth control methods Method How it prevents pregnancy Hormonal Prevents ovulation Thickens mucus at the cervix so sperm cannot pass through Changes the environment of the uterus and fallopian tubes to prevent fertilization and to prevent implantation if fertilization occurs Intrauterine device...

  • What is emergency contraception? Emergency contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy if: You had sex without using birth control. Your birth control method failed. Maybe you forgot to take your pill or get your shot, the condom broke or came off, or your diaphragm slipped. You were sexually...

  • Guides you through the decision to have your ovaries removed when you have a hysterectomy. Explains why it is done. Lists the risks and benefits of having your ovaries removed. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses breast reconstruction surgery done after mastectomy. Covers two ways of doing the surgery: pedicle flap and free flap. Looks at types of flap surgery: TRAM, latissimus dorsi, DIEP, SIEA, TUG, and gluteal free. Covers what to expect after surgery and risks.

  • Breast implants are a way to recreate the shape of a breast after part or all of the breast is removed (mastectomy) because of cancer. There are several types of implants that are available. Some of the most common implants have a soft silicone...

  • Guides through decision to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Describes what options are available for breast reconstruction and how it is done. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • If you or your doctor thinks you may be at risk for osteoporosis, you may have a screening test to check your bone thickness. A screening test may be advisable if you have: A fracture in a minor injury that may have been caused by osteoporosis. Another medical condition that is known to cause bone...

  • If the herpes simplex virus (HSV) invades a part of the body other than the genital area, it may cause disease in that part of the body. In general, complications are rare. And they usually occur with the first-time (primary) genital herpes outbreak. Some of these complications include: Meningitis, an infection of the...

  • Puberty begins with hormonal shifts that trigger the development of male and female sex characteristics. In general, puberty usually starts for girls between the ages of 9 and 11, and for most boys between the ages of 9½ and 13 years. The exact age at which puberty starts varies widely among individuals. Having an...

  • Guides you through decision to take bisphosphonate medicines for osteoporosis. Lists medicine names like alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel). Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • The risk of getting osteoporosis increases with age as bones naturally become thinner. After age 30, the rate at which your bone tissue dissolves and is absorbed by the body slowly increases, while the rate of bone building decreases. So overall you lose a small amount of bone each year after age 30. In women, bone...

  • What is domestic violence? If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may be seen by others. Do not use your personal...

  • If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may...

  • If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may...

  • The amount of time it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman and depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting at age 25. Poor health and irregular periods may also decrease your fertility...

  • Whether you have a mastectomy or breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) for breast cancer, your doctors need to know whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node involvement increases the likelihood that cancer cells have spread through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Women with some forms of...

  • Syphilis is described in terms of its four stages: primary, secondary, latent (hidden), and tertiary (late). Primary stage During the primary stage, a sore ( chancre) that is usually painless develops at the site where the bacteria entered the body. This commonly occurs within 3 weeks of exposure but can...

  • What do I need to know about breast pain? Many women have breast tenderness and pain, also called mastalgia. It may come and go with monthly periods (cyclic) or may not follow any pattern (noncyclic). Cyclic pain is the most common type of breast pain. It may be caused by the normal monthly changes in...

  • When you are not breastfeeding, fluid leaking from one or both nipples is called nipple discharge. It may or may not be a sign of a medical problem. Nonspontaneous discharge that occurs only when you press on your nipple is usually normal and occurs in the majority of women at one time or another. The discharge...

  • A vaginal discharge is common for most women. Discharge may be more noticeable during the middle of the menstrual cycle ( ovulation). Some women even find it necessary to wear a pad or panty liner because of the amount of discharge. Normal vaginal discharge: Does not smell bad. Is not accompanied by pain, itching...

  • Discusses cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrium). Covers having too much estrogen as most common cause. Discusses treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, and hormone and radiation therapy.

  • Pelvic pain and problems urinating may mean you have a bladder infection. Flank pain with fever and urinary symptoms may mean you have a kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Flank pain is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist. It can be on one or both sides of the back. If you have pelvic or flank pain and...

  • A rash in your vaginal area ( vulva) may be caused by irritation of the skin from many sources, such as clothes rubbing against the skin. Rashes that occur without other symptoms are usually minor and often go away with home treatment. Contact dermatitis A common cause of a rash is contact with a substance that...

  • Anyone can become a victim of domestic violence. Certain factors can increase your risk of being abused. Your risk for abuse increases if your partner: Uses alcohol or drugs. Had a job loss or job change or had a change in the level of income. Has a...

  • Guides through decision to have a multifetal pregnancy reduction. Discusses comparisons between twins after fetal reduction versus triplets (no fetal reduction). Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • What is a vaginal fistula? A fistula is a passage or hole that has formed between: Two organs in your body. An organ in your body and your skin. A fistula that has formed in the wall of the vagina is called a vaginal fistula. A vaginal fistula that opens into the urinary tract is...

  • Birth control pills come in packs. The most common type has 3 weeks of hormone pills. Some packs have sugar pills for the fourth week. During that fourth no-hormone week, you have your menstrual period. After the fourth week (28 days), you start a new pack. Some birth control pills are packaged so that you take...

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the flushing of sperm directly into the uterus. This is done through a thin, flexible tube (catheter). Artificial insemination (AI) is the placement of sperm into a woman's cervix or vagina. The sperm then travel into the uterus and fallopian tubes, where they may fertilize an...

  • Guides you through decision to use medicine, surgery, or no treatment to complete a miscarriage. Discusses benefits and risks of each. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Pudendal block To relieve pain associated with the second (pushing) stage of labor, an injection called a pudendal block can be given through the vaginal wall and into the pudendal nerve in the pelvis, numbing the area between the vagina and anus (perineum). Pudendal blocks do not relieve the pain of contractions. A...

  • Mastitis usually happens in nursing mothers when bacteria enter the breast through a cracked or sore nipple. This can cause an infection. Mastitis usually starts as a painful area in one breast. It may be red or warm to the touch, or both. Fever, chills, and body aches usually occur too. Good breastfeeding...

  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) used to treat sperm-related infertility problems. ICSI is used to enhance the fertilization phase of in vitro fertilization (IVF) by injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. The fertilized egg is then placed in a woman's uterus or...

  • Guides you through the decision to have a procedure to fix a tubal problem or to have in vitro fertilization. Looks at chances of pregnancy and risks after each procedure. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Soy is high in isoflavones. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are chemicals found in plants that work like estrogens. Soy products may improve menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. This is based on mixed evidence. So far, studies have used many different soy sources and different...

  • Black cohosh, also known as black snakeroot or bugbane, is a medicinal root. It is used to treat women's hormone-related symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menstrual cramps, and menopausal symptoms. Studies on black cohosh have had mixed results. Some studies have shown that black cohosh can relieve...

  • Wild yam and progesterone creams are available without a prescription and are marketed for relieving perimenopausal symptoms. Wild yam. Although wild yam cream is marketed as a source of natural progesterone, it does not contain progesterone, and the body cannot convert it into progesterone...

  • Guides you through the decision to treat a vaginal yeast infection yourself. Explains when you may need to see a doctor to diagnose a yeast infection. Discusses prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Boric acid is a white, crystalline chemical substance that has antifungal and antiviral properties. It is used in various prescription pharmaceutical products and is also available without a prescription. Some experts now recommend vaginal boric acid capsules as a treatment option for vaginal yeast infections...

  • Some treatments for cancer can cause infertility in both men and women. Also, cancer treatment in children may affect their future fertility. Infertility from cancer treatment may be temporary or permanent. Whether or not your cancer treatment will...

  • Infertility treatment success is defined as the birth of a healthy infant. Major things that affect your chances of conceiving and carrying a healthy pregnancy with or without treatment include maternal age, how long you have been trying to...

  • Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do not ovulate regularly. They often have trouble getting pregnant. The medicines clomiphene and letrozole are commonly used to stimulate ovulation. But medicine doesn't work for some women who have PCOS....

  • Guides you through the decision to use estrogen therapy (ET) after hysterectomy and oophorectomy. Lists the benefits and risks of ET. Suggests other treatments you can try. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • You can most accurately pinpoint your ovulation day by monitoring your cervical mucus, your basal body temperature (BBT), and your luteinizing hormone (LH) changes with an ovulation test. During the 5 to 6 days before and on the day of ovulation, the cervix produces a type of mucus that is stretchy, slippery, thin...

  • Offers interactive tool to find out when you are most likely to get pregnant. Tool estimates peak fertility period and when you are most likely to ovulate. Offers links to info on fertility, pregnancy, and birth control.

  • Bioidentical hormones are made in a laboratory. They are based on compounds found in plants (usually soybeans or wild yams). After the plant-based hormone is processed, its structure is said to be identical to the estrogen, progesterone, or androgen hormone your body makes. A compounding pharmacist can offer you a...

  • What is a menstrual cycle? The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a pregnancy. About once a month, the uterus grows a new lining (endometrium) to get ready for a fertilized egg. When there is no fertilized egg to start a pregnancy, the uterus sheds its lining. This is...

  • If you want to save this information but don't think it is safe to take it home, see if a trusted friend can keep it for you. Plan ahead. Know who you can call for help, and memorize the phone number. Be careful online too. Your online activity may...

  • A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection in women. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An HPV test checks for the genetic material ( DNA) of the human papillomavirus. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is done on a sample of cells collected from the cervix. There are many...

  • What is pelvic organ prolapse? Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a pelvic organ—such as your bladder—drops (prolapses) from its normal place in your lower belly and pushes against the walls of your vagina. This can happen when the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place get weak or stretched from childbirth or...

  • Two common forms of pelvic organ prolapse are bladder prolapse (cystocele) and urethral prolapse (urethrocele). A cystocele occurs when the wall of the bladder presses against and moves the wall of the vagina. A urethrocele occurs when the tissues surrounding the urethra sag downward into the vagina. Both conditions...

  • A rectocele occurs when the end of the large intestine (rectum) pushes against and moves the back wall of the vagina. An enterocele (small bowel prolapse) occurs when the small bowel presses against and moves the upper wall of the vagina. Rectoceles and enteroceles develop if the lower pelvic muscles become damaged by...

  • Vaginal vault prolapse occurs when the upper portion of the vagina loses its normal shape and sags or drops down into the vaginal canal or outside of the vagina. It may occur alone or along with prolapse of the bladder ( cystocele), urethra ( urethrocele), rectum ( rectocele), or small bowel ( enterocele). Vaginal vault...

  • Closure of the vagina is surgery done for an older woman whose uterus has moved from its natural position to press uncomfortably into the vagina ( uterine prolapse). This procedure may also be done if an older woman's vagina severely sags or drops into the vaginal canal ( vaginal vault prolapse). In this surgery, the...

  • A vaginal pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina. It is designed to support areas of pelvic organ prolapse. A variety of pessaries are available, including the ring, inflatable, doughnut, and Gellhorn. Your doctor will fit your pessary to hold the pelvic organs in position without causing discomfort...

  • What is an oophorectomy? Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries, the part of a woman's reproductive system that stores and releases eggs for fertilization and produces female sex hormones. Oophorectomy may be done alone or as part of a hysterectomy. Oophorectomy is often needed when pelvic...

  • Adenomyosis is a disease that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. It occurs most often in women older than 30 who have had a full-term pregnancy. It is rare in women who have not had a full-term pregnancy. Adenomyosis does not occur after menopause. But...

  • Covers pelvic pain that has lasted longer than 6 months. Discusses common causes such as endometriosis. Covers what increases your risk and offers prevention tips. Covers treatment with lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery.

  • Laparotomy is a surgical procedure that is done by making an incision in the lower abdomen. This allows the surgeon to see and inspect the abdominal cavity for structural problems, sites of endometriosis (implants), and scar tissue ( adhesions). The surgeon can then remove implants and adhesions. The surgeon can also...

  • Provides info on breast cancer for women who have been diagnosed for the first time. Discusses symptoms and how breast cancer is diagnosed. Covers mammogram and clinical breast exam. Discusses treatment options, including mastectomy and chemotherapy.

  • Breast cancer is the abnormal growth of the cells that line the ducts and lobes of the breast. When breast cancer has spread outside the ducts or lobes into normal breast tissue, it is said to be invasive. The main types of invasive breast cancer are: Ductal carcinoma, which is cancer that begins in...

  • Guides you through decision about which surgery to have for early-stage breast cancer. Lists benefits and risks of both mastectomy and breast-conserving surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses uterine fibroid embolization (also known as uterine artery embolization), a procedure that blocks blood flow to fibroids in uterus. Covers what to expect after treatment. Explains why UFE is done and how well it works. Covers risks.

  • Discusses recurrent breast cancer. Covers symptoms and tests that diagnose cancer that has come back or spread. Discusses treatment with medicine or surgery. Offers home treatment tips for drug side effects or pain. Covers addressing emotional needs.

  • Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can affect the menstrual cycle. A few examples are: Aspirin and other medicines (called blood thinners) that prevent blood clots. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (for example, Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (for example, Aleve). Hormonal...

  • Signs of abuse may not be apparent without an examination of the genital area. These signs include: Bruises, scars, chafing, or bite marks in the genital area. Discharge from the vagina or penis. Rectal or genital bleeding. Anal tears or dilation. Symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as...

  • Guides you through decision to use hormone therapy to treat endometriosis. Covers how endometriosis may affect you. Covers how hormone therapy works. Lists reasons for and against hormone therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through decision to have hysterectomy and oophorectomy to treat endometriosis. Covers risks of treating and not treating. Covers how well hysterectomy and removal of ovaries works. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through decision to use gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRH-a) medicines to treat uterine fibroids. Discusses how GnRH-a therapy works. Lists reasons for and against. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through decision to have surgery to treat uterine fibroids, which are also called myomas, leiomyomas, and fibromas. Covers what happens during surgery. Lists reasons for and against surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through decision to have UFE (also called uterine artery embolization) for uterine fibroids. Explains what uterine fibroids (myomas and leiomyomas) are. Lists reasons for and against UFE. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses options for managing perimenopause- and menopause-related hot flashes. Explains what hot flashes are. Discusses lifestyle changes that may help hot flashes. Looks at hormone therapy (HT) and treatment with medicines and herbs.

  • A clinical breast examination (CBE) is a physical examination of the breast done by a health professional. Clinical breast examinations are used along with mammograms to check women for breast cancer. Clinical breast examinations are also used to check for other breast problems. A clinical breast examination may be...

  • Breast cancer in men develops in the small amount of breast tissue found behind a man's nipple. It is often a type called invasive ductal carcinoma. Although the exact cause of breast cancer is not known, most experts agree that some men have a...

  • Experts agree that mammograms are the best screening test for people at average risk of breast cancer. But they don't all agree on the age at which screening should start. And they don't agree on whether it's better to be screened every year or every two years. Here are some of the recommendations from experts...

  • Guides you through decision to use chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer. Lists reasons for and against chemotherapy. Covers side effects. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • The menstrual cycle is the series of changes a woman's body goes through to prepare for a possible pregnancy. Most girls start having periods between the ages of 11 and 15. A girl who has not had her first period by age 15 has what is called primary amenorrhea. This is different from infrequent or light menstrual...

  • Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause vaginal symptoms. A few examples are: Antibiotics. Birth control pills. Hormone therapy. Chemotherapy for cancer. Vaginal sprays, douches, and spermicides. Vaginal symptoms may clear up on their own once you stop taking a medicine. A yeast infection can be...

  • Explains what abortion is. Covers when abortion can be done and different abortion choices. Discusses safety and future fertility. Also covers how to know if abortion is right for you.

  • There are two methods of vacuum aspiration (also called suction aspiration): Manual vacuum. This procedure can be used around 5 to 12 weeks after the last menstrual period (early first trimester). It involves the use of a specially designed syringe to apply suction. This method is not available...

  • A medical abortion is the use of medicines to end a pregnancy. Medical care for a medical abortion is different from medical care for a surgical abortion. This is because a medical abortion is like a miscarriage (in this case, caused by medicines) that takes place at home over 1 to 2 days and does not require your...

  • Care before a surgical abortion Before a surgical abortion, your doctor will: Evaluate your past health, including any medicines you are taking. Do a physical exam, including a pelvic examination, to evaluate your health, how long you have been pregnant, and the location and health of the embryo or...

  • If you develop symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is important to be evaluated by a health professional soon after your symptoms start. Symptoms of an STI include: A change in vaginal discharge (thicker, discolored, or bad-smelling) over a period of several days to 2 weeks. Pain, burning, or...

  • High-risk sexual behavior puts people at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unplanned pregnancy, and being in a sexual relationship before being mature enough to know what makes a healthy relationship. Teens and young adults are at higher risk than adults. Examples of high-risk sexual behavior include...

  • Cervical cell changes are classified according to their degree of abnormality using the Bethesda system (TBS). Further evaluation decisions are guided by the kinds of changes seen in the cells. Minor cell changes Minor cervical cell changes are also called: Atypical squamous cells (ASC). ASC is further classified...

  • Discusses polycystic ovary syndrome, a problem in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. Discusses PCOS early symptoms like heavy bleeding or facial hair. Also covers more serious symptoms like miscarriages or infertility. Includes info on treatment.

  • Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a surgical treatment that can trigger ovulation in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Electrocautery or a laser is used to destroy parts of the ovaries. This surgery is not commonly used. But it can be an option for women who are still not ovulating after losing weight and...

  • Most women are able to become pregnant from puberty, when their menstrual cycles begin, until menopause, when their cycles stop. A pregnancy starts with fertilization, when a woman's egg joins with a man's sperm. Fertilization usually takes place in a fallopian tube that links an ovary to the uterus. If the fertilized...

  • The skin (transdermal) patch is a highly effective method of birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The patch failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills. Talk to your doctor about what day to start using the patch. It is usually recommended that the first patch be placed on the first day of...

  • The vaginal ring is a highly effective method of birth control when it is used exactly as directed. The ring failure rate is the same as that of birth control pills. Talk to your doctor about what day to start using the ring. Usually, a ring is started during one of the first 5 days of the menstrual cycle. See a...

  • In some women, the estrogen in combination hormonal birth control methods increases the risk of a blood clot in a leg ( deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) or a blood clot in a lung ( pulmonary embolism, or PE). A blood clot in a leg vein can travel through the circulation system and cause pulmonary embolism. The risk for...

  • This table compares how well different birth control methods work. The column on the right shows how many women out of 100 will have an unplanned pregnancy in the first year of using a method. These numbers reflect studies of real-life usage. You can improve on the real-life failure rate of birth control methods by...

  • The diaphragm is a barrier method of birth control. It is a round, dome-shaped device made of rubber that has a firm, flexible rim. It fits inside a woman's vagina and covers the cervix. It should always be used with a sperm-killing cream or jelly (spermicide). There are different types of diaphragms: The...

  • A spermicide is a substance that kills sperm. Spermicides are available as jelly, foam, cream, suppositories, and film. The active ingredient of most spermicides is a chemical called nonoxynol-9. Most spermicides come with an applicator. The applicator is filled with spermicide and inserted into the vagina right...

  • The vaginal contraceptive sponge is a barrier method of birth control. It contains a spermicide called nonoxynol-9. The sponge also blocks the cervix so sperm can't pass. It can be inserted immediately before intercourse or up to 24 hours before. It is left in place for 6 hours after intercourse. Effectiveness...

  • The cervical cap is a barrier method of birth control. A cervical cap, which is made of rubber, fits tightly over the opening to the uterus (the cervix). It is used with a spermicide. You can insert the cap ahead of time or just before sex. To work best, the cap should be left in place for 6 hours after sex. Do not...

  • The following tables list some pros and cons of using hormonal birth control methods. Combination pills, skin patch, or vaginal ring (estrogen plus progestin) Pros Cons No interruption of foreplay or intercourse Reduced bleeding and cramping with periods, which lowers the risk of anemia Fewer or no...

  • Discusses intrauterine device (IUD) for long-term birth control for women. Covers types of IUDs. Includes how well IUDs work to prevent pregnancy. Covers updated science on IUD's link to pelvic inflammatory disease.

  • Choosing the birth control method that's right for you can be complicated. There are lots of things to consider, such as your lifestyle and your health. These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions about the birth...

  • Discusses testing, diagnosis, and treatment of cervical cancer. Explains how most cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. Explains it is usually found through screening. Covers prevention with vaccine.

  • What are cervical polyps? Cervical polyps are smooth, red, finger-shaped growths in the cervix, the passage between the uterus and the vagina. What causes cervical polyps? The cause of cervical polyps is not entirely understood. They may result from infection. They can also result from long-term (chronic)...

  • Discusses cause and symptoms of ovarian cancer. Covers diagnosis, including discovery during pelvic exam or ultrasound. Looks at treatment with chemotherapy or surgery, or both. Discusses chances of getting ovarian cancer.

  • Foreign objects or forgotten tampons may cause a vaginal infection. Young girls might insert pieces of toilet paper, small toys, or household objects into their vagina. Teens and adult women may forget a tampon or a birth control device. The most common symptoms of a vaginal infection caused by a foreign object include...

  • Discusses surgery to remove the uterus to treat ovarian cancer. Covers what is done and what to expect after surgery. Looks at emotional concerns. Covers risks.

  • A hysteroscopy is a procedure to find and treat problems with your uterus. It may be done to remove growths from the uterus, such as fibroids or polyps. It may also be used to diagnose and treat abnormal bleeding or fertility problems. The doctor will guide a lighted tube through the cervix and into the uterus. This...

  • Many people take oral or inhaled steroid medicines for conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These medicines include beclomethasone, flunisolide, and prednisone. The oral kind and the high-dose inhaled kind can cause bone loss over time. If you are on these types of medicines for 6...

  • Discusses taking calcium and vitamin D to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Includes info on how much calcium you need based on your age or life stage. Offers list of calcium-rich foods and calcium supplements.

  • This topic contains information about loss of ovarian function before age 40. If you want information about the normal loss of ovarian function around age 50 or about symptoms in the few years before it, see the topic Menopause and Perimenopause....

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are some of the most widespread infections both in the United States and the world. STIs affect both men and women, and two-thirds of all STIs occur in people younger than 25. Exposure to an STI can occur any...

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) defines military sexual trauma (MST) as experiences of sexual assault or repeated, threatening acts of sexual harassment. These traumas occur when a person is in the military. The...

  • What is overflow incontinence? Overflow incontinence is the involuntary release of urine—due to a weak bladder muscle or to blockage—when the bladder becomes overly full, even though the person feels no urge to urinate. What are the symptoms? Symptoms of overflow incontinence include: The sudden release of urine...

  • Total incontinence is the continuous and total loss of urinary control. One cause is neurogenic bladder. This is a neurological problem that prevents the bladder from emptying as it should. Spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, and other disorders that affect nerve function can also lead to total incontinence. In...

  • Functional incontinence occurs when some obstacle or disability makes it hard for you to reach or use a toilet in time to urinate. It is often caused by: A problem with walking (such as needing a walker or crutches) that prevents you from reaching a toilet in time to urinate. A medical condition (such as arthritis)...

  • Stress incontinence in women can cause frequent involuntary release of urine during activities that put pressure on your bladder, such as coughing or laughing. The tension-free vaginal tape (TVT) procedure is designed to provide support for a sagging urethra so that when you cough or move vigorously or suddenly, the...

  • Both prostate cancer and its treatment may cause urinary problems. Urinary problems caused by prostate cancer The urethra—the tube that carries urine from your bladder and through your penis—passes through the middle of the prostate gland. When the prostate presses against the urethra, you can have trouble...

  • A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus. A hysterectomy to remove endometrial cancer usually includes the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy). Your doctor may also do a pelvic and para-aortic lymph node biopsy to find out the stage and grade of the cancer. Most...

  • Lymphadenectomy is surgery to remove lymph nodes. A lymphadenectomy, also called lymph node dissection, may be done to examine the pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes for endometrial cancer cells. The removal and examination of the cancerous lymph nodes will determine the exact stage and grade of the cancer and may...

  • What are sexual problems? A sexual problem is something that keeps sex from being satisfying or positive. Most women have symptoms of a sexual problem at one time or another. For some women, the symptoms are ongoing. But your symptoms are only a sexual problem if they bother you or cause problems in your relationship...

  • Drugs that have been used in date rapes include flunitrazepam (Rohypnol) and gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). These drugs inhibit a person's ability to resist sexual assault. Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a central nervous system depressant. GHB is a...

  • Sperm penetration tests check to see if a man's sperm can move through cervical mucus and the fallopian tubes to join with (fertilize) an egg. This test is usually done when a couple is having trouble getting pregnant (infertility). There are different sperm penetration tests. The sperm mucus penetration...

  • Guides through decision to have your child get the HPV vaccine. Explains the vaccination process and includes tips on how to talk to your child about HPV. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Most women experience minor vaginal problems from time to time. These problems can be related to menstrual cycles, sex, infection, birth control methods, aging, medicines, or changes after pregnancy. A change in your normal vaginal discharge may be the first sign of a vaginal problem. Changes in urination, such as...

  • Violence can happen to anyone—males or females, children, teens, adults, older adults, or people with disabilities. You are not to blame. No matter what happened, violence is not okay. Violent people usually have many problems that they find hard to deal with, which can cause them to act out with violence. Physical...

  • Discusses urinary incontinence in men. Looks at types of incontinence, including stress, urge, overflow, total, and functional. Covers causes and symptoms. Covers treatment with medicine or surgery. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • Catheters used to manage urinary incontinence include: Standard catheter. This is a thin, flexible, hollow tube that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder and allows the urine to drain out. The standard catheter is used for intermittent self-catheterization. Indwelling Foley...

  • Urge incontinence is a need to urinate that is so strong that you cannot reach the toilet in time. It can occur even when the bladder contains only a small amount of urine. Urge incontinence can be caused by bladder contractions that are too strong to be stopped by the bladder outlet valve (sphincter). This results in...

  • Stress incontinence occurs when a man unintentionally releases a small amount of urine when he coughs, laughs, strains, lifts, or changes posture. It is most common after a man has had his prostate gland removed and there was damage to the nerves or to the external bladder outlet valve (sphincter). After a man's...

  • An artificial sphincter is a device made of silicone rubber that is used to treat urinary incontinence. An artificial sphincter has an inflatable cuff that fits around the urethra close to the point where it joins the bladder. A balloon regulates the pressure of the cuff, and a bulb controls inflation and deflation of...

  • Discusses lumpectomy and partial mastectomy, two types of breast-conserving surgery. Covers what is done and what to expect after surgery, including having radiation therapy. Also looks at risks.

  • Discusses breast cancer surgery. Covers simple mastectomy, modified mastectomy, and radical mastectomy. Also discusses preventive mastectomy. Covers what to expect after surgery. Looks at risks. Links to info on breast reconstruction.

  • During childhood and teen years, new bone grows faster than existing bone is absorbed by the body. After age 30, this process begins to reverse. As a natural part of aging, bone dissolves and is absorbed faster than new bone is made, and bones become thinner. You are more likely to have osteoporosis if you did not reach...

  • What is vaginitis? Vaginitis is infection or inflammation of the vagina. It can cause itching and burning, a change in vaginal discharge, and sometimes pain during sex. What causes vaginitis? Vaginitis may be caused by bacteria, yeast, or other organisms. Bath products, douches, and spermicides also can...

  • Use these instructions only if you are using a thermometer that measures your temperature in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. To make a chart, get a piece of graph paper. At the top of your chart, write in a row of numbers. Leave the first square in...

  • What is inflammatory breast cancer? Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, fast-growing type of breast cancer. It is often called IBC for short. Unlike other breast cancers, this type of cancer may not cause a lump in the breast. So regular breast exams and mammograms often fail to catch it early. Because it grows so...

  • Guides you through decision to have your ovaries removed (oophorectomy) to prevent ovarian cancer. Discusses risk of getting ovarian cancer. Covers benefits and risks of surgery. Covers early menopause. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • The average woman has a small chance of getting breast cancer and an even smaller chance of getting ovarian cancer. But if someone in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer, your chances of getting those cancers may be higher. And if you have 2 or 3 relatives who have had these cancers, your chances may be even...

  • Guides you through testing and treatment choices if you're at high risk for breast cancer. Covers extra checkups, medicines, and surgery. Lists reasons for and against for each option. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

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