Glossary of Terms

We have compiled a list of terms that are important to understanding reproductive health.


We hope you find this page useful and check back regularly for updates. 

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Sexual abstinence is not having vaginal, anal, or oral sex.


Secretions from the skin's oil glands that plug the pores.


Powerful medicines that fight bacterial infections.


The anus is the opening in the buttock where waste leaves the body.


A type of germ that can cause infections.


the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.


Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria, which can be passed from person to person during vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex.


Condoms come in male and female versions. The male condom (“rubber”) covers the penis and catches the sperm after a man ejaculates. The female condom is a thin plastic pouch that lines the vagina.


Permission for something to happen or be done, or agreement to do something.


Intentional use of methods or techniques to prevent pregnancy.


Fluid that carries dead cells and bacteria out of the vagina.


a group of hormones secreted by the ovaries which affect many aspects of the female body, including a woman's menstrual cycle and normal sexual and reproductive development.

Fallopian Tube

One of two tubes through which an egg travels from the ovary to the uterus.


The ability to become pregnant.

Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus (HSV).


Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria that can be passed to a partner during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.


Doctors who specialize in women's health, with a focus on the female reproductive system.


Chemical created by the body that control numerous cells and organ function. Two hormones in the female body are estrogen and progesterone.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):

A virus that attacks certain cells of the body’s immune system. HIV can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


Maintaining cleanliness throughout the body.

Implant (form of birth control )

The implant is a small plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that a health care professional inserts under the skin of the upper arm. It releases a hormone that prevents pregnancy. The implant is approved for up to 3 years of use.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

The IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into and left inside the uterus by a health care professional. There are two types of IUDs. One is a hormonal IUD are approved for up to 3–5 years of use. The second type is the copper IUD. It is approved for up to 10 years of use.

Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

The intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant are long-acting reversible contraception methods. Both are the most highly effective forms of pregnancy prevention.

Long Term Goals

Goals that usually take 12 months or more of time and planning to achieve.

Menstruation i.e period

The lining of the uterus breaks down and flows out of the body through the vagina. The release of blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus is called the menstrual period.

Method of Birth Control

Medication or objects used to prevent pregnancy.

Obstetrician/Gynecologist (OB/GYN)

Doctor who specializes in general women's medical care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system, and care of pregnant women.


Other sexual activities besides vaginal sex.


Two female reproductive organs located in the pelvis


Release of a mature egg from an ovary.

Pap Smear

Is the name of the cervical cancer screening used to find changes in the cells of the cervix that could lead to cancer.

Peer Pressure

People who are your age, like your classmates, are called peers. When they try to influence how you act, to get you to do something, it's called peer pressure.


Male sex organ.


The release of blood and tissue from the lining of the uterus is called the menstrual period.


When your body begins to develop and change as you move from child to adult.


When the male and female reproductive systems work together to make a baby.

Sexual Transmitted Disease

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), are generally acquired by sexual contact.


Syphilis is caused by bacteria that enters the body through a cut in the skin or through contact with a partner’s syphilis sore.


How you feel about yourself.

Short Term Goals

Goals that usually take less than 12 months of planning to achieve.


A cell made in the male testicles that can fertilize a female egg.


The tube that carries urine out of the body.


The organ in the lower body of a female where a child is conceived and grows before birth; the womb.


The passage leading from the uterus to the vulva.


The external part of the female reproductive organs.

"You are a strong woman with a strong mind. You have the power to take control of your life and your choices. Think about what you want and what you need, to be healthy and happy."

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