Women's Health

Health Library

Category: Sexual and reproductive organs

Abdominal Pain, Age 12 and Older
Covers symptoms and possible causes of abdominal pain, such as peptic ulcer disease, indigestion, appendicitis, or stomach flu. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor. Offers home treatment tips.

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.

Abnormal Pap Test While Pregnant
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...

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
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...

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding: Should I Have a Hysterectomy?
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.

Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs:

Abortion
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.

Abortion: Emotional Recovery
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.

Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
Active surveillance is an option for some men who have localized prostate cancer. Localized prostate cancer means that the cancer hasn't spread outside the prostate. For men with low-risk cancer and for some men with medium-risk cancer, choosing...

Acute Prostatitis (NIH Category I)
Acute prostatitis is an infection that causes severe symptoms. It is the most serious and least common type of prostatitis. Men with this illness are usually very sick, and their symptoms come on suddenly.

Adenomyosis
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...

Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Pregnancy
Antiphospholipid syndrome is a rare autoimmune disease that has been closely linked to some cases of recurrent miscarriage. This syndrome increases blood clotting. It can cause dangerous blood clots (thrombosis) and problems with blood flow....

Antisperm Antibody Test
An antisperm antibody test looks for special proteins (antibodies) that fight against a man's sperm in blood, vaginal fluids, or semen. The test uses a sample of sperm and adds a substance that binds only to affected sperm.

Bacterial Vaginosis
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.

Barrier Methods of Birth Control
Covers barrier methods of birth control plus using a spermicide. Includes diaphragm, cervical cap, male condom and female condom, and spermicidal foam, sponges, and film. Covers risks and how well each method works.

Bartholin Gland Cyst
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.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting
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.

Bed Rest for Preterm Labor
Expectant management is the close monitoring of a pregnancy for complications. It may involve some bed rest at home or in the hospital. Being on expectant management may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or...

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlarged prostate gland. The prostate gland surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. As the prostate gets bigger, it may squeeze or partly block...

Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are made in a laboratory. They are based on compounds found in plants (usually soybeans or wild yams).

Biopsy of Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
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...

Birth Control
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).

Birth Control Pills: Missed or Skipped Periods
It is not unusual for women who are taking hormone pills for birth control to have very light periods or no bleeding at all.

Birth Control: How to Use the Patch
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.

Birth Control: How to Use the Vaginal Ring
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.

Blood Tests for Preeclampsia
A woman who may have signs of early or mild preeclampsia will have her blood tested to detect additional signs of preeclampsia. A woman who has preeclampsia may have specific blood tests to help assess her health.

Boric Acid for Vaginal Yeast Infection
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...

Braxton Hicks Contractions
During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, you may notice episodes when your belly tightens and becomes firm to the touch, then relaxes. These are episodes of tightening (contraction) of the uterine muscles called Braxton Hicks...

Breast Biopsy
A breast biopsy removes a sample of breast tissue that is looked at under a microscope to check for breast cancer. A breast biopsy is usually done to check a lump found during a breast examination or a suspicious area found on a ...

Breast Cancer
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 Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Breast Cancer Risk: Should I Have a BRCA Gene Test?
Guides through decision to have a breast cancer (BRCA) gene test. Includes reasons your doctor might recommend a BRCA gene test. Lists next steps for a positive test. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Breast Cancer Screening
The type and frequency of breast cancer screening that is best for you changes as you age.

Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Breast Cancer Screening and Dense Breasts: What Are My Options?
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.

Breast Cancer Screening: When Should I Start Having Mammograms?
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.

Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Breast Cancer Types
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.

Breast Cancer in Men (Male Breast Cancer)
Breast cancer in men is rare. Less than 1 out of 100 cases of breast cancer occurs in a man.footnote 1 It develops in the small amount of breast tissue found behind a man's nipple.

Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
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.

Breast Cancer: Lymph Node Surgery for Staging Cancer
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...

Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast Reconstruction After a Mastectomy?
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.

Breast Cancer: Should I Have Breast-Conserving Surgery or a Mastectomy for Early-Stage Cancer?
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.

Breast Cancer: Should I Have Chemotherapy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer?
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.

Breast Cancer: What Should I Do if I'm at High Risk?
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.

Breast Changes During Pregnancy
As the rest of your body changes during pregnancy, your breasts change too, getting themselves ready to make and supply milk for your baby.

Breast Engorgement
Breast engorgement means your breasts are painfully overfull of milk. This usually occurs when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. Your breasts may become firm and swollen, which can make it hard for your baby to breastfeed....

Breast Enlargement
Breast enlargement is surgery to make the breasts bigger and improve their shape. This surgery may also be called breast augmentation or augmentation mammoplasty. During breast enlargement, the surgeon places an implant in the breast. An ...

Breast Implant Surgery for Breast Reconstruction
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.

Breast Lumps
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.

Breast Pain (Mastalgia)
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).

Breast Problems
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 Reduction
Discusses breast reduction surgery to reshape and reduce breast size. Looks at why it is done and how well it works. Covers what to expect after surgery. Looks at risks, such as scars and infection. Covers what to think about when having breast reduction.

Breast Self-Examination
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.

Breast Ultrasound
A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the tissues inside the breast. A breast ultrasound can show all areas of the breast, including the area closest to the chest wall, which is hard to study with a mammogram....

Breast-Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy or Partial Mastectomy) for Breast Cancer
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.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is feeding a baby milk from the mother's breasts. You can feed your baby right at your breast. You can also pump your breasts and put the milk in a bottle to feed your baby. Doctors advise breastfeeding for 1 year or...

Breastfeeding After Breast Surgery
Women who have had breast implants or surgery to remove cysts or benign (noncancerous) lumps usually are able to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy
You usually can continue breastfeeding your child if you become pregnant. If you breastfeed while you are pregnant, be aware of the following issues:

Breastfeeding With Inverted Nipples
Inverted nipples fold inward instead of pointing out. Women with inverted nipples may have a hard time getting started with breastfeeding. A breastfeeding baby latches on more easily to a nipple when it is erect.

Breastfeeding Your Newborn and an Older Child
Breastfeeding more than one child is called tandem breastfeeding. If you continue to feed your older child along with your newborn, keep in mind that the newborn's feeding is the higher priority.

Breastfeeding and Your Milk Supply
A number of things influence how much milk you produce (your milk supply). The two most important things are how often you breastfeed and how well your breast is emptied. The hormone that regulates milk production (prolactin) is stimulated...

Breastfeeding as Birth Control
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:

Breastfeeding: Avoiding Toxic Substances
While you are breastfeeding, avoid exposure to poisonous substances, which may be in contaminated water, food, or air. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury, some pesticides, and other industrial or household chemicals can sometimes end up...

Breastfeeding: Baby's Poor Weight Gain
Most infants lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first week. A baby's weight decreases from the normal loss of fluid, urine, and stool. Babies also get few calories from early breastfeeding patterns. Their bodies have special fat...

Breastfeeding: Choosing a Breast Pump
If you plan to breastfeed and use a breast pump at times, research your equipment options while you are pregnant. When evaluating the different types of breast pumps, think about how often you will need to use the pump. Think about:

Breastfeeding: Exercise and Weight Loss
Keep the following in mind as you start an exercise program or try to lose weight while you are breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding: Hindmilk
Hindmilk makes up the last two-thirds of the milk in each breast. It contains more fat than the rest of the milk, called foremilk, so it is rich in calories and nutrients. It is important for babies to breastfeed long enough on one breast to...

Breastfeeding: How to Use a Breast Pump
Using a breast pump is a good way to provide the benefits of breastfeeding when you have to be away from your baby. Pumping will help keep up your milk supply and prevent discomfort and breast engorgement. You can also use a breast pump to slowly...

Breastfeeding: Sore Nipples
Pain during breastfeeding is a sign of a problem and should not be ignored. Although sore or tender nipples are common during the first few days of breastfeeding, it should improve. Normal soreness or pain usually occurs for about a minute...

Breastfeeding: Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs
If you are breastfeeding, many substances that you eat, drink, inhale, or inject end up in your breast milk and may harm your baby.

Breastfeeding: Waking Your Baby
Most medical professionals recommend letting a baby eat on demand. But during the first few days of breastfeeding, be sure to awaken your baby for feedings about every 2 hours. This will help to get your milk supply going. To make the...

Breastfeeding: Weaning a Toddler
You may choose to wait until your child is a toddler (ages 1 to 2 years) or older to wean him or her from the breast. You may feel that your toddler isn't ready for weaning until later or that you both aren't ready. You may want to initiate...

Breastfeeding: When Baby Doesn't Want to Stop
Sometimes a mother wants to stop breastfeeding, but her baby shows signs of wanting to continue. If possible, continue breastfeeding a while longer. If this is not possible, the following suggestions may help you:

Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125)
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.

Cancer Treatment and Infertility
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.

Carbon Dioxide Laser Surgery for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
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...

Cervical Cancer
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.

Cervical Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Cervical Cancer Screening
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.

Cervical Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Cervical Cancer: Radical Trachelectomy
A radical trachelectomy is surgery that removes the cervix and the pelvic lymph nodes. Cervical cerclage is done at the same time. The uterus is left so that later, pregnancy could occur. If pregnancy does occur, delivery would be done...

Cervical Cap for Birth Control
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...

Cervical Cerclage to Prevent Preterm Delivery
Cervical cerclage is the placement of stitches in the cervix to hold it closed. In select cases, this procedure is used to keep a weak cervix (incompetent cervix) from opening early. When a cervix opens early, it may cause preterm labor...

Cervical Insufficiency
Cervical insufficiency means that the cervix can't stay tightly closed during the second trimester of pregnancy. Instead, the cervix opens (dilates) with little or no pain, usually before 24 weeks. This can lead to miscarriage or birth of a...

Cervical Polyps
Cervical polyps are smooth, red, finger-shaped growths in the cervix, the passage between the uterus and the vagina.

Cesarean Section
If you have had a C-section and would like information about how a cesarean affects future deliveries, see the topic Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).

Chemical Exposure and Miscarriage
Exposure to certain chemicals on a regular basis during pregnancy has been linked to increased rates of miscarriage.

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...

Chlamydia Tests
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...

Choosing a Prosthesis After Breast Cancer Surgery
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.

Chronic Bacterial Prostatitis (NIH Category II)
Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an infection of the prostate with symptoms including pain in the abdomen and genital area, problems with urination, and pain with ejaculation. Sometimes it causes no symptoms. It occurs most often in men who...

Chronic Female Pelvic Pain
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.

Chronic Prostatitis/Pelvic Pain Syndrome, Inflammatory (NIH Category IIIA)
Chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome, inflammatory, is an inflammation of the prostate that causes pain in the belly, testicles, or tip of the penis. It may also cause urination problems and painful ejaculation. It is the most common type...

Chronic Prostatitis/Pelvic Pain Syndrome, Noninflammatory (NIH Category IIIB)
Chronic prostatitis/pelvic pain syndrome, noninflammatory, is a common form of prostatitis. It causes pain in the pelvic area, where the prostate sits. But pain is the only symptom. It does not cause general illness, infection, or inflammation.

Circumcision
Male circumcision is a surgery to remove the foreskin, a fold of skin that covers and protects the rounded tip of the penis. The foreskin provides sensation and lubrication for the penis. After the foreskin is removed, it can't be put...

Circumcision: Gomco Clamp
The Gomco clamp is a metal device with a bell-shaped end. During circumcision using a Gomco clamp, the baby's foreskin is stretched over the bell, and the clamp is tightened over his foreskin.

Circumcision: Mogen Clamp
A Mogen clamp is a metal, hinge-shaped device used during circumcision. The Mogen clamp does not require a cut in the foreskin before its placement.

Circumcision: Plastibell Device
The Plastibell is a plastic device slipped between the penis and the foreskin to circumcise a male. A cut in the foreskin usually is required before the device can be placed. Sterile string is tied around the device and over the foreskin to...

Circumcision: Should I Keep My Son's Penis Natural?
Guides through decision to have your son circumcised. Describes the circumcision process and what to expect after surgery. Lists common reasons for and against circumcision. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

Cleaning Your Young Son's Natural (Uncircumcised) Penis
It's important to keep your son's penis clean whether he has been circumcised or not. Keeping your young son's penis clean may help prevent infections and other problems. As your son gets older, teach him how to wash and care for his penis.

Clinical Breast Examination
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...

Closure of the Vagina (Vaginal Obliteration)
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...

Colposcopy and Cervical Biopsy
Colposcopy is a way for your doctor to use a special magnifying device to look at your vulva, vagina, and cervix. If the doctor sees a problem, he or she can take a small sample of tissue (biopsy) from the cervix or from...

Cone Biopsy (Conization) for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
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...

Congenital Hydrocele
A hydrocele (say "HY-druh-seel") is a buildup of watery fluid around one or both testicles. It causes the scrotum or groin area to swell.

Contraceptive Sponge for Birth Control
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...

Contraction Stress Test
A contraction stress test checks to see if your baby will stay healthy during contractions when you are in labor. This test includes external fetal heart monitoring. The test is done when you are 34 or more weeks pregnant.

Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer
Cryosurgery freezes the prostate gland to kill prostate cancer. It is sometimes a choice for treating early prostate cancer. Cryosurgery may also be used for treating prostate cancer that has come back.

Cryotherapy (Cryosurgery) for Genital Warts
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.

Cryotherapy for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
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...

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.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Treatment for Sexual Problems
Male sexual problems. Some men who have erection problems caused by diabetic neuropathy may find injections, implants, or pump devices helpful. Sildenafil (Viagra) also may be taken to improve erections, but it should not be taken by...

Diaphragm for Birth Control
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...

Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
A digital (finger) rectal examination is done to check for problems with organs or other structures in the pelvis and lower belly. During the examination, the doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into the ...

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
A dilation and curettage (D&C) is a procedure to remove tissue from the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)
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).

Draining a Breast Abscess
Mastitis that develops into an infected pocket of fluid, or breast abscess, usually needs to be drained.

Eclampsia (Seizures) and Preeclampsia
Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is caused by severe preeclampsia. Less than 1% of women who have preeclampsia experience seizures.footnote 1 Eclampsia is life-threatening for both a mother and her fetus. During a...

Ectopic Pregnancy
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.

Effects of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Exposure
Between 1948 and 1971, millions of women took a drug called diethylstilbestrol (DES) to prevent miscarriage.

Electrocautery for Genital Warts
Electrocautery removes genital warts on the penis, vulva, or around the anus by burning them with a low-voltage electrified probe.

Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy if:

Emotions and Menopause
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.

Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer
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.

Endometrial Ablation
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.

Endometrial Biopsy
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...

Endometrial Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Endometrial Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Endometrial Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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 of...

Endometriosis
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.

Endometriosis: Should I Have a Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy?
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.

Endometriosis: Should I Use Hormone Therapy?
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.

Enlarged Prostate: Bathroom Tips
The following tips may make it easier to deal with your benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) symptoms.

Enlarged Prostate: Herbal Therapy
Herbal supplements that may be used to relieve symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) include beta-sitosterol, cernilton, Pygeum africanum, and saw palmetto.

Enlarged Prostate: Laser Therapies
Several laser methods for treating an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) are now being used. Laser therapy uses a laser beam to remove the part of the prostate that is blocking the urethra. The procedure is done...

Enlarged Prostate: Other Surgeries
There are many surgeries to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). But most have not been studied very much. The gold-standard surgery for BPH is transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). When these new surgeries are studied, they are...

Enlarged Prostate: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides through decision to have prostate surgery for BPH. Lists benefits and risks of surgery. Discusses taking medicine to treat your enlarged prostate instead. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Enlarged Prostate: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides through decision to take medicine for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. Lists common medicine choices. Discusses how to manage your symptoms at home. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

Enlarged Prostate: Transurethral Needle Ablation
Transurethral needle ablation (TUNA) is used to treat an enlarged prostate gland (benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH) with a needle-shaped device that delivers heat to very precise areas of the prostate. The device is inserted up...

Epididymitis
The epididymis is a long, tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle. It collects and stores maturing sperm made by the testicles prior to ejaculation. Inflammation and infection of the epididymis is called ...

Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
A man has erection problems if he cannot get or keep an erection that is firm enough for him to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence.

Erection Problems: Questions Your Doctor May Ask
Your doctor may ask questions about the type of erection problem (erectile dysfunction) you have. Examples include:

Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take medicines (Cialis, Levitra, or Viagra) for erection problems. Explains erectile dysfunction and what causes it. Lists risks and benefits of medicines. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Erection Problems: Should I Try Injection Treatments?
Guides through decision to try injection treatment for erection problems. Lists common causes of erection problems. Includes information about types of injections used. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Erection Problems: Surgery on Penile Blood Vessels
Surgery on the veins to keep them from draining blood from the penis is called venous ligation. It is no longer done.

Erection Problems: Talking With Your Partner
Talking with your partner may help your erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Couples often assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. Sometimes they are wrong.

Estrogens
An estrogen test measures the level of the most important estrogen hormones in a blood or urine sample. It measures estradiol, estriol, and estrone.

Expressed Prostatic Secretions
Examination of expressed prostatic secretions tests a sample of the secretion for signs of inflammation or bacterial infection.

Fallopian Tube Procedures for Infertility
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...

Family History and the Risk for Breast or Ovarian Cancer
The average woman has a small chance of getting breast cancer and an even smaller chance of getting ovarian cancer.

Female Genital Problems and Injuries
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.

Fertility Awareness
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.

Fertility Problems
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.

Fertility Problems: Should I Be Tested?
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.

Fertility Problems: Should I Have a Tubal Procedure or In Vitro Fertilization?
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.

Fibrocystic Breasts
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...

Find Your Ovulation Day
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.

First-Trimester Exams and Tests
At each prenatal visit during your first-trimester, you'll be weighed and have your blood pressure checked. Your urine may also be checked for bacteria, protein, or sugar. Your doctor will monitor your fetus's growth by measuring the height...

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
A follicle-stimulating hormone test measures the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in a blood sample. FSH is produced by the pituitary gland.

Fournier's Gangrene
Fournier's gangrene is a serious, life-threatening infection of the male genital area. The infection usually starts in the skin of the genitals (penis or scrotum), the urethra, or the rectal area.

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

Gamete and Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT and ZIFT) for Infertility
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...

Genital Herpes
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.

Genital Injuries: Urinary Problems
An injury to the genital area can cause severe pain. Usually the pain subsides over the course of a few minutes to an hour. Severe pain does not always mean that your injury is severe. After an injury to the genital area, it is important that...

Genital Self-Examination
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).

Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
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.

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Getting Pregnant After Stopping Birth Control
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...

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...

Gynecological Exam for Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus)
A gynecological exam for genital warts includes:

HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder thought to be a type of severe preeclampsia. It is characterized by Hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes (which indicate liver damage), and Low Platelet count.

HPV: Should I Get the Vaccine?
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.

HPV: Should My Child Get the Vaccine?
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.

Heavy Menstrual Periods
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.

Herpes Tests
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 ...

High-Risk Sexual Behavior
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...

Home Pregnancy Tests
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...

Hormonal Factors in Erection Problems
Hormonal factors may play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Men who produce low levels of the hormone testosterone (a condition known as hypogonadism) may have decreased sexual desire. A blood test is usually done if your...

Hormone Tests to Check for Undescended Testicles
There are two ways that hormones can help the doctor check a baby or young boy for undescended or absent testicles.

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer (Androgen Deprivation Therapy, or ADT)
Hormone therapy for prostate cancer is also known as androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Prostate cancer cannot grow or survive without androgens, which include testosterone and other male hormones. Hormone therapy decreases the amount of...

Hormone Treatment for Breast Cancer
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.

How Cystic Fibrosis Affects the Reproductive System
In men, cystic fibrosis may affect the development of the vas deferens, which is the tube that carries sperm. The tube can also become blocked with mucus. Sperm are still made, but they are not released during ejaculation. This results in an...

How Erections Occur
An erection occurs when your imagination or one or more of the senses (vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste) are stimulated and you become aroused. Your central nervous system sends nerve impulses that increase blood flow to your penis. The...

How Pregnancy (Conception) Occurs
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...

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test
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...

Hydrocele
A hydrocele is a painless buildup of watery fluid around one or both testicles that causes the scrotum or groin area to swell. This swelling may be unsightly and uncomfortable, but it usually is not painful and generally is not ...

Hypospadias
Hypospadias is a male birth defect in which the opening of the tube that carries urine from the body (urethra) develops abnormally, usually on the underside of the penis. The opening can occur anywhere from just below the end of the ...

Hysterectomy
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.

Hysterectomy Questions
When considering a hysterectomy, ask your health professional:

Hysterectomy and Oophorectomy: Should I Use Estrogen Therapy (ET)?
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.

Hysterectomy for Endometrial Cancer
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...

Hysterectomy for Ovarian Cancer
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.

Hysterectomy: Concerns About Sex
Many women are concerned about the effect a hysterectomy may have on their ability to enjoy sexual relationships.

Hysterectomy: Emotional Reactions
Emotional reactions to hysterectomy may include:

Hysterectomy: Should I Also Have My Ovaries Removed?
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.

Hysterectomy: Types of Surgical Incisions
Your surgeon will recommend one or more types of hysterectomy. (You may or may not have a choice, depending on your condition.) An abdominal hysterectomy requires a larger surgical cut (incision). A vaginal or laparoscopic hysterectomy uses...

Hysterosalpingogram
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 (infertile).

Hysteroscopy
A hysteroscopy is a way for your doctor to look at the lining of your uterus. He or she uses a thin viewing tool called a hysteroscope. The tip of the hysteroscope is put into your vagina and gently moved through the cervix into the...

Hysteroscopy for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Discusses procedure used to examine uterus to find cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. Explains why and how it is used. Covers possible results and risks.

IUD Insertion
Before having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, you will probably have:

IUD Removal
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 type.

In Vitro Fertilization for Infertility
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.

Induction Abortion
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.

Infected Prostate Stones
Prostatic calculi (stones) are very common. They aren't always apparent during a rectal exam or on X-rays.

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...

Infertility Treatment for Women With PCOS
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do not ovulate regularly. They often have trouble getting pregnant. The medicine clomiphene (such as Clomid) is commonly used to stimulate ovulation. But it doesn't work for some women who have...

Infertility: Aging Egg Supply
From birth, females have a fixed—though plentiful—supply of eggs (ovarian reserve). As a woman ages past her mid-30s, her eggs gradually degrade, making it less likely that she will naturally conceive, or that an assisted reproductive...

Infertility: Emotional and Social Concerns
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...

Infertility: Ethical and Legal Concerns
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...

Infertility: Factors That Affect Treatment Success
Infertility treatment success is defined as the birth of a healthy infant.

Infertility: Problems With Fallopian Tubes
Problems with the fallopian tubes are a leading cause of infertility in women. Tubal blockage may be caused by:

Infertility: Problems With Ovulation
It can be hard to find out the cause of ovulation problems. Possible causes may include:

Infertility: Problems With the Man's Reproductive System
The most common cause of male infertility is low sperm count. Absence of sperm in the semen is less common, affecting 1 out of 100 men and affecting 10 to 15 out of 100 infertile men.footnote 1

Infertility: Problems With the Uterus and Cervix
Problems with a woman's uterus and/or cervix may be caused by many things. Causes include:

Infertility: Questions to Ask About Assisted Reproductive Technology
When thinking about an assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure, ask your doctor:

Infertility: Questions to Ask About Medicine or Hormone Treatment
When considering whether to try medicine or hormone treatment for infertility, ask:

Infertility: Questions to Ask About Surgery
When you consider getting surgical infertility treatment, ask your doctor these questions.

Infertility: Setting Limits on Testing
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...

Infertility: Setting Limits on Treatment
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...

Infertility: Should I Have Treatment?
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.

Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is a rare, fast-growing type of breast cancer. It is often called IBC for short.

Inguinal Hernia
Provides information on hernias. Focuses on inguinal hernias. Briefly describes femoral and abdominal wall hernias. Covers symptoms and treatment with surgery.

Inguinal Hernia: Should I Have Surgery Now, or Should I Wait?
Guides you through decision to have inguinal hernia surgery. Looks at the two types of surgery for treatment. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Inguinal Hernia: Surgery in Adults
Adults need to have inguinal hernia repair surgery in the following situations.

Inguinal Hernia: Surgery in Children
An inguinal hernia will not go away without surgery. Most hernias in children are indirect (the abdominal tissue has bulged down the inguinal canal). These hernias need to be repaired, because they are likely to become incarcerated.

Insemination Procedures for Infertility
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.

Insemination for Infertility
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is the flushing of sperm directly into the uterus. This is done through a thin, flexible tube (catheter).

Interactive Tool: What Is Your Due Date?
Offers interactive tool to find out your due date. Tool calculates when you are likely to deliver your baby. Offers links to info on pregnancy.

Interactive Tool: When Are You Most Fertile?
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.

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection for Infertility
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...

Intrauterine Device (IUD) for Birth Control
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.

KOH Preparation
Doctors use the KOH preparation test to find out if you have a fungal infection. This kind of infection can happen in various parts of the body, such as the skin, nails, mouth, or vagina.

Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place.

Klinefelter Syndrome
Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects males. Klinefelter syndrome occurs when a boy is born with one or more extra X chromosomes. Most males have one Y and one X chromosome. Having extra X chromosomes can cause...

Labor and Delivery
Is this topic for you?This topic provides basic information about normal labor and delivery. If you need information on pregnancy, other types of childbirth, or the first 6 weeks after childbirth (postpartum), see:PregnancyCesarean...

Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling (Ovarian Diathermy) for PCOS
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.

Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is surgery that is done through small cuts (incisions) in your belly.

Laparoscopic Surgery for Endometriosis
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.

Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation
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...

Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy is a surgery that uses a thin, lighted tube put through a cut (incision) in the belly to look at the abdominal organs or the female pelvic organs. Laparoscopy is used to find problems such as cysts, adhesions, ...

Laparotomy for Pelvic Problems
A laparotomy is a type of surgery that allows the surgeon to look at the abdominal cavity through an incision in the abdomen. It may be used to diagnose and treat female pelvic conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease...

Laser Surgery for Genital Warts
A laser can be used to destroy genital warts.

Leriche's Syndrome
Leriche's syndrome is the term used for a group of symptoms that are caused by a certain type of peripheral arterial disease of the legs. In Leriche's syndrome, blood flow in the aorta is blocked in the stomach area. This blocks blood flow to the...

Levonorgestrel (LNg) IUD
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...

Light to Heavy Vaginal Bleeding
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.

Living With More Than One Health Problem
Many people have more than one long-term (chronic) health problem. You may be one of them. For example, you may have high blood pressure and diabetes, or you may have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. When you...

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
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...

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Genital Warts
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.

Luteinizing Hormone
A luteinizing hormone test measures the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in a sample of blood or urine. LH is produced by the pituitary gland.

Lymphadenectomy for Endometrial Cancer
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...

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen
Discusses test (also called MRI scan) that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the belly. Covers why it is done, how to prepare, and how it is done. Discusses results.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Breast
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio waves to make pictures of the breast. It does not use X-rays. MRI may show problems in the breast that cannot be seen on a mammogram, ultrasound, or CT scan.

Male Breast Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Male breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. Breast cancer may occur in men. Men at any age may develop breast cancer, but it is usually detected (found) in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer...

Male Genital Problems and Injuries
Male genital problems and injuries can occur fairly easily since the scrotum and penis are not protected by bones. Genital problems and injuries most commonly occur during:

Mammogram
Discusses mammogram, an X-ray test of the breasts used to screen for breast problems. Covers at what ages women should have a mammogram. Discusses how it is done and how to prepare for it. Covers possible results.

Mastectomy (Removal of the Breast) for Breast Cancer
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.

Mastitis While Breastfeeding
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...

Medical History for PMS
Your medical history is an important tool for your doctor in determining whether you have premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Your medical history includes your:

Medicines for Erection Problems: Reactions With Nitrate
Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (for example, Viagra), have made a big difference in the treatment of erection problems (erectile dysfunction). But they can cause life-threatening side effects for anyone who also takes...

Menarche
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...

Menopause and Perimenopause
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.

Menopause and Your Risk for Other Health Concerns
Menopause is the point in a woman's life when she has not had her period for 1 year. It marks the end of the childbearing years.

Menopause: Managing Hot Flashes
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.

Menopause: Should I Use Hormone Therapy (HT)?
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.

Menopause: Wild Yam and Progesterone Creams
Wild yam and progesterone creams are available without a prescription and are marketed for relieving perimenopausal symptoms.

Menstrual Cramps
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...

Menstrual Cycle: Dealing With Cramps
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.

Menstruation: Not Having a Period by Age 15
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.

Milk Oversupply
Milk oversupply happens when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. It is sometimes called overabundant milk supply or hyperlactation.

Miscarriage
Is this topic for you?This topic is about the loss of a baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy. For information about the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy but before the baby is born, see the topic Stillbirth.

Miscarriage: Should I Have Treatment to Complete a Miscarriage?
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.

Miscarriage: Vacuum Aspiration
Vacuum aspiration can be used to empty the uterus after an incomplete early miscarriage. It's also called suction aspiration or dilation and aspiration. The doctor uses a hollow tube called a cannula. It is attached by tubing to a vacuum...

Missed Periods and Endurance Training
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...

Missed or Irregular Periods
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.

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.

Multiple Pregnancy: Twins or More
Discusses pregnancy of two or more babies. Covers identical and fraternal twins and triplets. Discusses infertility treatment, a common cause of multiple pregnancy. Discusses common tests, possible complications, and treatment options. Covers self-care.

Myomectomy
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.

Nipple Discharge
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.

Normal 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...

Normal Vaginal 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.

Object in the Vagina
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.

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.

Open Prostatectomy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Discusses traditional surgery to remove an enlarged prostate. Covers what to expect after surgery and risks. Links to info on TURP.

Orchiectomy for Prostate Cancer
Orchiectomy is the removal of the testicles. The penis and the scrotum, the pouch of skin that holds the testicles, are left intact. An orchiectomy is done to stop most of the body's production of testosterone, which prostate cancer...

Orchiectomy for Testicular Cancer
Orchiectomy is the removal of one or both testicles (testes). The testicles are the male sex organs that produce sperm and the male hormone, testosterone.

Orchiopexy for Undescended Testicle
Surgery to move an undescended testicle into the scrotum is called orchiopexy or orchidopexy. It is usually performed on babies who are 9 to 15 months old. In most cases, a pediatric surgeon or a specialist who treats urinary...

Ovarian Cancer
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.

Ovarian Cancer: Should I Have My Ovaries Removed to Prevent Ovarian Cancer?
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.

Ovarian Epithelial, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Ovarian Germ Cell Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Ovarian Low Malignant Potential Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Ovarian low malignant potential tumor is a disease in which abnormal cells form in the tissue covering the ovary. Ovarian low malignant potential tumors have abnormal cells that may become cancer, but usually do not. This disease usually remains in the ovary. When disease is found in one ovary, the other ovary should...

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, and Primary Peritoneal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain. During pregnancy, oxytocin causes labor contractions to begin. Oxytocin also is released when a woman's breasts are stimulated by suckling or pumping, causing milk to move...

PMS: Should I Try an SSRI Medicine for My Symptoms?
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.

PMS: Ways to Record Your Symptoms
There are several ways to keep a menstrual diary of your PMS symptoms. Diaries that require daily recording are more reliable in tracking your symptoms. Calendars without marks for a day may mean you forgot to record for that day rather...

Pap Test
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...

Pap Test: Classification of Cell Changes
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.

Pap Test: Collecting Cells in Liquid
Liquid-based methods for collecting cervical cells and preparing them for laboratory evaluation are available.

Parkinson's Disease and Sexual Problems
Problems with sexual function in people with Parkinson's disease are common.

Pelvic Examination
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.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is an infection of a woman's reproductive organs.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess
A pelvic abscess may be drained by needle aspiration. A needle is inserted through the abdominal or vaginal wall into the abscess. The fluid filling the abscess is drawn out (aspirated) with a syringe connected to the needle. A...

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Tubo-Ovarian Abscess
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).

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...

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Should I Have Surgery?
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.

Pelvic Ultrasound
Discusses test that uses sound waves to make a picture of organs and structures in the lower belly (pelvis). Covers transabdominal, transrectal, and transvaginal ultrasound. Discusses use to check for different cancers.

Penile Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Penile cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the penis. The penis is a rod-shaped male reproductive organ that passes sperm and urine from the body. It contains two types of erectile tissue (spongy tissue with blood vessels that fill with blood to make an erection): Corpora...

Penile Implants for Erection Problems
Penile implants to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction) are either semirigid (noninflatable) or inflatable cylinders that replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an ...

Personal Stories About Choosing Birth Control Methods
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.

Peyronie's Disease
Peyronie's disease is an abnormal curvature of the penis caused by scar tissue in the erectile tissue. Because the scar tissue prevents straightening of the penis, the curvature is most obvious during an erection. The curvature may be so...

Physical Exam for Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) for Men
Explains how it is done. Covers why it is done, such as visible genital warts, having a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and having sex partner with genital warts. Includes possible results of the exam.

Placenta Abruptio
Placenta abruptio is a pregnancy problem in which the placenta separates too early from the wall of the uterus. The placenta is a round, flat organ that forms during pregnancy. It gives the baby food and oxygen from the mother.

Placenta Previa
Placenta previa is a pregnancy problem in which the placenta blocks the cervix. The placenta is a round, flat organ that forms on the inside wall of the uterus soon after conception. During pregnancy, it gives the baby food and...

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
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.

Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth
During the first weeks after giving birth, your body begins to heal and adjust to not being pregnant. This is called postpartum (or the postpartum period). Your body goes through many changes as you recover. These changes are different for every...

Preeclampsia
Covers causes and symptoms of preeclampsia. Includes regular checkups with your doctor. Looks at prevention and treatment with close monitoring and possibly blood pressure medicine.

Preeclampsia: Expectant Management
Expectant management, or observation, is sometimes used to manage complications of a high-risk pregnancy. Depending on the severity of your preeclampsia, you may need expectant management at home or in the hospital.

Pregnancy
Is this topic for you? This topic covers pregnancy information, including planning for labor and delivery. If you aren't pregnant yet, see the topic Preparing for a Healthy Pregnancy. For more information on labor and delivery, see the topic ...

Pregnancy-Related Problems
Discusses symptoms that may show a serious problem during pregnancy. Covers vaginal bleeding, fever, or swelling. Describes emergency symptoms like shock, seizures, or leaks from your vagina. Offers tool to check symptoms and info on when to call doctor.

Pregnancy: Choosing a Health Professional
It's important to find a doctor or midwife who can work closely with you and share in decision making. This partnership is key to getting the care that is best for you. And it will help you have the pregnancy and childbirth that you want.

Pregnancy: Prenatal Exam Schedule
Regular prenatal exams are a top priority during any pregnancy. They are important both for monitoring your own and your fetus's health and for giving you and your health professional time to build a working relationship.

Pregnancy: Ways to Find Your Due Date
There are several ways for your doctor or midwife to figure out how long you have been pregnant. They help you predict when you are likely to have your baby. This is called your due date. The due date is only an estimate of when your baby...

Premature Ejaculation
Premature ejaculation is uncontrolled ejaculation either before or shortly after sexual penetration. It happens with minimal sexual stimulation and before the person wishes. It may result in unsatisfactory sex for both partners. This...

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
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).

Preterm Labor
Is this topic for you?This topic covers how preterm labor affects the pregnant woman. If you want to know how it affects the baby after he or she is born, see the topic Premature Infant.

Preterm Labor and Short Cervix
During pregnancy, the cervix is a closed and sealed tunnel between the uterus and the vagina. Before or during labor and delivery, the cervix stretches and flattens (effacement). At 24 weeks of pregnancy, the average cervix is about 35 mm...

Preterm Labor: Testing for Fetal Fibronectin
During pregnancy, a uterine infection causes inflammation, which can trigger preterm labor. This inflammation can also stimulate the amnion cells to produce fetal fibronectin, a protein.

Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (pPROM)
Before a baby is born, the amniotic sac breaks open, causing amniotic fluid to gush out or, less commonly, to slowly leak. When this happens before contractions start, it is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). PROM can occur at any...

Preventing Mastitis
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....

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
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...

Problems After Delivery of Your Baby
Looks at problems you may have in the days and weeks after the delivery of your baby (postpartum period). Covers emergency symptoms like signs of shock, fainting, or severe belly pain. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

Progesterone
A progesterone test measures the amount of the hormone progesterone in a blood sample. Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries during release of a mature egg from an ovary (ovulation). Progesterone helps prepare the...

Prostate Biopsy
A prostate gland biopsy is a test to remove small samples of prostate tissue to be looked at under a microscope. The tissue samples taken are looked at for cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer
Provides info on an initial diagnosis. Discusses diagnostic tests, including PSA test and digital rectal exam. Covers symptoms common to prostate cancer and other conditions. Discusses treatment with active surveillance, surgery, or radiation. Also offers prevention tips.

Prostate Cancer Screening: Should I Have a PSA Test?
Guides through decision to have a PSA test to check for prostate cancer. Includes what PSA results tell you and what they do not. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

Prostate Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Prostate cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the prostate. The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system. It lies just below the bladder (the organ that collects and empties urine) and in front of the rectum (the lower part of the intestine). It is about the size of a...

Prostate Cancer, Advanced or Metastatic
Discusses prostate cancer that has spread or come back. Discusses symptoms. Covers treatment choices and factors that will affect them, including age, PSA level, Gleason score, and how far cancer has spread. Covers end-of-life issues.

Prostate Cancer: Should I Choose Active Surveillance?
Guides you through decision to use active surveillance for men who have low-risk and for some men who have medium-risk localized prostate cancer. Lists reasons for and against active surveillance. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Prostate Cancer: Should I Have Radiation or Surgery for Localized Prostate Cancer?
Guides you through choosing between radiation therapy and surgery (prostatectomy) to treat prostate cancer. Lists reasons for and against radiation therapy. Also lists reasons for and against surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
Discusses prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to measure amount of PSA in the blood. Explains that test is often used for cancer screening or follow-up. Covers how test is done and how to prepare for it. Discusses what results mean.

Prostatitis
Covers the various types of prostatitis, including acute bacterial, inflammatory, noninflammatory, and chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Covers symptoms for each type. Discusses treatment for each type. Covers lifestyle changes, medicines, and surgery.

Prostatitis: Pre- and Post-Massage Test
The pre- and post-massage test is a simple, inexpensive test that may help diagnose the type of prostatitis you have.

Psychotherapy for Erection Problems
Psychological issues may play a role in erection problems (erectile dysfunction). These issues may include depression, anxiety disorder, or another mental disorder.

Pudendal Neuralgia
Pudendal neuralgia is a rare problem with the pudendal nerve that can affect both men and women. The pudendal nerve runs through your pelvic region, including your genitals, urethra, anus, and perineum. Your perineum is the area...

Questions About Inguinal Hernia Surgery
If you or your child needs surgery to repair an inguinal hernia, answers to the following questions will help you make the decision that is right for you.

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation, such as X-rays, to destroy cancer cells. The radiation damages the genetic material of the cells so that they can't grow. Although radiation damages normal cells as well as cancer cells,...

Radiation for Early-Stage Breast Cancer
When is radiation used for early-stage breast cancer?

Radical Prostatectomy
Looks at surgery to remove the prostate gland in those who have prostate cancer. Covers traditional and laparoscopic surgery. Covers how well it works. Looks at risks.

Rashes or Sores in the Groin
Rashes in the groin or genital area are usually 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.

Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections
A vaginal yeast infection is thought to be recurrent when:

Relactation
Relactation is the attempt to start producing breast milk at a time when your body normally would not. A woman may try relactation when she:

Relieving Menstrual Pain
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.

Removing a Bartholin Gland Cyst
Removal (excision) of a Bartholin gland cyst is a minor surgical procedure. Because the vulva has an extensive blood supply, removing a Bartholin gland cyst can cause bleeding. This is best treated in a surgical setting.

Repair of Rectocele or Enterocele
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...

Repair of Vaginal Wall Prolapse (Vaginal Vault Prolapse)
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),...

Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection
Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) is surgery often used to treat testicular cancer. It is done to remove lymph nodes that may be cancerous from the lower back and pelvis.

Risks of Multiple Pregnancy
There are pregnancy problems that can be more likely with a multiple pregnancy.

STI Testing: Should I Get Tested for a Sexually Transmitted Infection?
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.

Safer Sex
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.

Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree that grows in the southeastern United States.

Semen Analysis
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.

Sensual Exercises for Erection Problems
Sensual exercises may help with erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Doing these with your partner may help you relax and focus more on the pleasurable touching of lovemaking than on the erection itself. Focusing too much on having...

Sex During Pregnancy
Vaginal intercourse can be continued as usual if your pregnancy is uncomplicated. Discuss any concerns or questions with your doctor.

Sex Therapy for Erection Problems
Sex therapy may be helpful for some men who have erection problems (erectile dysfunction). Sex therapy doesn't involve having sex with or in front of the sex therapist. Also, isn't long-term or open-ended therapy. It usually involves working...

Sexual Abuse: Signs and Symptoms
Signs of sexual abuse may not be apparent without an examination of the genital area. These signs include:

Sexual Dysfunction Causes: Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions can cause problems with sexual drive or sexual response. They include:

Sexual Dysfunction Causes: Medicines
Some medicines may cause a decrease in your desire for sex or in your body's ability to make sex pleasurable (such as vaginal dryness or inability to have an erection). These medicines include:

Sexual Problems in Women
A sexual problem is something that keeps sex from being satisfying or positive.

Sexual Problems: Questions About Your Sexual History
Women often begin the process of diagnosing sexual dysfunction by noticing an absence of sexual desire or satisfaction. Your health professional will work with you to identify your symptoms and the history of those symptoms. The answers to the...

Sexuality While Breastfeeding
Childbirth and breastfeeding may affect your sexual desire. Exhaustion, breast soreness, your baby's demands, and recovery from childbirth may reduce your interest in intimacy with your partner. But you may feel more comfortable having sex...

Sexuality and Physical Changes With Aging
Sex and sexuality communicate a great deal: affection, love, esteem, warmth, sharing, and bonding. These gifts are as much the right of older adults as they are of those who are much younger.

Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing
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...

Sexually Transmitted Infections
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.

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Genital Exam for Men
During a male genital exam for sexually transmitted infections, the doctor:

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Symptoms in Women
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:

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Treatment
Treatment is available for all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), no matter what the cause, to relieve symptoms, even if a cure is not possible. Some, but not all, STIs are treated with antibiotics.

Sickle Cell Disease: Home Treatment for Priapism
Home treatment for sickle cell disease includes steps you can take to control some of the complications caused by the disease. Develop a plan with your doctor for home treatment of symptoms, and follow this plan as symptoms occur.

Smoking: Sexual and Reproductive Problems
Smoking can gradually and permanently damage blood vessels throughout the body, including those that carry blood to the penis. This can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection (impotence). Quitting smoking may help prevent new damage...

Sonohysterogram
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.

Sperm Penetration Tests
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).

Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)
A spermatocele (epididymal cyst) is a painless, fluid-filled cyst in the long, tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle (epididymis). The fluid in the cyst may contain sperm that are no longer alive. It feels like a...

Sports Hernia
A sports hernia is an injury of the inguinal area caused by repetitive twisting and turning at high speed. This type of hernia occurs mainly in people who play ice hockey, soccer, or tennis.

Stages of Endometriosis
Staging is a way of describing how mild or severe a condition is. The stage of the endometriosis is determined by looking at the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries and inside the abdomen and lower pelvic area. Usually, this is done...

Stages of Syphilis
Syphilis is described in terms of its four stages: primary, secondary, latent (hidden), and tertiary (late).

Stopping Breastfeeding Suddenly
If you stop breastfeeding suddenly, your breasts may become full and sore and may leak milk. This is called breast engorgement. Many women have only mild symptoms that can be treated at home. But it can lead to more serious problems.

Storing Breast Milk
Because what is in your breast milk changes as your baby develops, it is best to use milk as soon as possible after pumping or expressing it. Also, the antioxidant and other protective properties are most important and beneficial to your baby...

Surgery for Chronic Pelvic Pain
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...

Surgery for Ovarian Cysts
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.

Surgical Abortion Care
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 ...

Surgical Removal of Genital Warts by Excision
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...

Symptoms of Pelvic Infection
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...

Symptoms of Pregnancy
Have had sexual intercourse and you have not used any method of birth control.Have missed one or more periods.Have your period, but there is a lot less bleeding than usual.Take birth control pills, but you missed a pill. It 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.

Syphilis Tests
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: Chancre
The first symptom of syphilis is a sore called a chancre (say "shanker") that is usually painless. The sore begins at the site of infection as a small, solid, raised skin sore less than 0.5 in. (1 cm) across. It develops into a red,...

Taking Birth Control Pills With Other Medicines
Some medicines can interfere with how birth control pills work. For example, you may not be protected from pregnancy while you are taking other medicines that affect liver metabolism. The vaginal ring and skin patch contain combination...

Tension-Free Vaginal Tape for Stress Incontinence in Women
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...

Testicular Biopsy
A testicular biopsy is a test to remove a small sample of tissue from one or both testicles. The tissue is then looked at under a microscope to see if the man is able to father a child.

Testicular Cancer
Discusses cancer that occurs when cells that are not normal grow out of control in testicles (testes). Covers testicular self-exam (TSE). Discusses germ-cell tumors called seminomas and nonseminomas (also called NSGCTs). Covers treatment.

Testicular Cancer Screening
Testicular cancer is not common. It is often first discovered by the man himself, or his sex partner, as a lump or an enlarged and swollen testicle. In the early stages of testicular cancer, the lump, which may be about the size of a pea,...

Testicular Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

Testicular Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Testicular cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of one or both testicles. The testicles are 2 egg-shaped glands located inside the scrotum (a sac of loose skin that lies directly below the penis). The testicles are held within the scrotum by the spermatic cord, which also contains...

Testicular Cancer: Which Treatment Should I Have for Stage I Nonseminoma Testicular Cancer After My Surgery?
Guides through treatment choices for stage I nonseminoma testicular cancer after surgery to remove the testicle. Lists reasons for and against surveillance, chemotherapy, and lymph node surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Testicular Cancer: Which Treatment Should I Have for Stage I Seminoma Testicular Cancer After My Surgery?
Guides through treatment choices for stage I seminoma testicular cancer after surgery to remove the testicle. Lists reasons for and against surveillance, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

Testicular Examination and Testicular Self-Examination
Testicular exam and testicular self-exam are two ways to find lumps or other problems in the testicles.

Testicular Prosthesis
A testicular prosthesis is a small implant with a size, shape, and consistency like a real testicle. It is usually made of a soft plastic (silicone) shell and filled with saline (salt water).

Testicular Scan
A testicular scan uses a special camera to take pictures of the testicles after a radioactive tracer builds up in testicular tissues (nuclear medicine test).

Testicular Ultrasound
A testicular ultrasound (sonogram) is a test that uses reflected sound waves to show a picture of the testicles and scrotum. The test can show the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm...

Testosterone
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines?

Tests for Bacterial Vaginosis
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.

Tests for Erection Problems
Tests for erection problems can help find out why a man can't have or maintain an erection. This problem is called erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It's a common male problem. Most erection problems are caused by a mix of blood vessel, nerve, or...

The Bethesda System (TBS)
The Bethesda system (TBS) was developed by the United States National Cancer Institute (NCI) to provide more detailed information about Pap test results. When lab specialists examine cervical cells, they use this system to report the lab results to...

Thinking About Bilateral Mastectomy for Early-Stage Breast Cancer
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...

Third-Trimester Exams and Tests
At each prenatal visit, you can expect to be weighed and have your urine and blood pressure checked. Your health professional will monitor your fetus's growth and position by measuring the size of your uterus (fundal height) and feeling...

Tissue Flap Surgery for Breast Reconstruction
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.

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 ...

Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP) for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP) may be done to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The surgeon uses an instrument inserted into the urethra that generates an electric current or laser beam to make incisions in...

Transurethral Microwave Therapy (TUMT) for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
In transurethral microwave therapy (TUMT), an instrument (called an antenna) that sends out microwave energy is inserted through the urethra to a location inside the prostate. Microwave energy is then used to heat the inside of the...

Transurethral Prostatectomy for Prostatitis
Briefly discusses surgery to remove the prostate gland through the urethra. Covers why it is done and how well it works. Lists risks.

Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
During transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP), an instrument is inserted up the urethra to remove the section of the prostate that is blocking urine flow.

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").

Tubal Ligation Reversal
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 and Tubal Implants
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...

Undescended Testicle
As a baby boy grows inside his mother, he develops testicles. Early in his development, his testicles are in his belly. Normally, before he is born, his testicles move down into his scrotum, the sac that hangs below the penis. When...

Undescended Testicle: Fertility Problems
Men who have or have had an undescended testicle are more likely to have problems with the reproductive system. These problems may cause them to be unable to father a child (infertility).

Undescended Testicle: Risk for Testicular Cancer
Being born with an undescended testicle increases the risk for testicular cancer.

Urinary Problems and Prostate Cancer
Both prostate cancer and its treatment may cause urinary problems.

Uterine Fibroid Embolization (UFE)
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.

Uterine Fibroids
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).

Uterine Fibroids: Should I Have Surgery?
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.

Uterine Fibroids: Should I Have Uterine Fibroid Embolization?
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.

Uterine Fibroids: Should I Use GnRH-A Therapy?
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.

Uterine Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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...

VBAC: Labor Induction
When labor does not start on its own and delivery needs to happen soon, contractions can be started (induced) with medicine. Some doctors avoid inducing labor when a woman is trying vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). But others are okay...

VBAC: Participation During Birth
You and your birth partner can take part more fully in a vaginal birth than you can in a cesarean delivery.

VBAC: Type of Past Incision
It is standard practice for doctors to use a low, side-to-side (transverse) incision across the uterus for a cesarean delivery. But a vertical type of incision is sometimes needed, such as for some emergency cesarean deliveries.

VBAC: Uterine Scar Rupture
The most rare yet most serious risk of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) is that the scar on the uterus may break open (rupture) during labor. Women who have a low transverse cesarean scar have a lower risk of rupturing than women who have...

Vacuum Aspiration for Abortion
There are two methods of vacuum aspiration (also called suction aspiration):

Vacuum Devices for Erection Problems
A vacuum device, which is sometimes used to treat erection problems (erectile dysfunction), is a tube made of plastic that fits around the penis. You coat the base of the penis with lubricant and insert the penis into the tube. Air is...

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
If you have had a cesarean delivery (also called a C-section) before, you may be able to deliver your next baby vaginally. This is called vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC.

Vaginal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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 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. The...

Vaginal Exam for Preterm Labor
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 ...

Vaginal Fistula
A fistula is a passage or hole that has formed between:

Vaginal Pessaries
A vaginal pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina. It is designed to support areas of pelvic organ prolapse.

Vaginal Rashes and Sores
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.

Vaginal Self-Examination (VSE)
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...

Vaginal Wet Mount
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).

Vaginal Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
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.

Vaginal Yeast Infection: Should I Treat It Myself?
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.

Vaginal Yeast Infections
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.

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.

Varicocele Repair for Infertility
Looks at repairing varicoceles, which are enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum. Explains that varicocele repair is done to improve male fertility. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Also covers risks.

Vasectomy
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).

Vasectomy Reversal (Vasovasostomy)
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.

Vulvar Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
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 area...

Vulvodynia
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...

What to Do About Missed or Skipped Birth Control Pills
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.

Yeast Infection While Breastfeeding
During breastfeeding, a yeast infection (called thrush when it occurs in the mouth) can be passed back and forth between the mother's breasts and the infant's mouth. The nipple of an infected breast becomes red or very pink and sore. If the...