Healthwise

Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Category: Sexual and reproductive organs

Abdominal Pain, Age 12 and Older
Briefly discusses symptoms and possible causes of abdominal pain, such as peptic ulcer disease, indigestion, appendicitis, and stomach flu. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Abnormal Pap Test
What is an abnormal Pap test? A Pap test, or Pap smear, is done to look for changes in the cells of the cervix. If your test is abnormal, it means it found some cells on your cervix that don't look normal. Having an abnormal test doesn't mean you have cancer. The chances that you have cancer are very small. What causes...

Abnormal Pap Test While Pregnant
Pregnancy doesn't seem to increase the progression of abnormal cervical cell changes. Having abnormal cervical cell changes or HPV doesn't affect the outcome of the pregnancy. Close monitoring is needed so that you and your health professional can make the best treatment decisions at each stage of the pregnancy. An...

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
What is abnormal uterine bleeding? Abnormal uterine bleeding is irregular bleeding from the uterus. It may be bleeding that is heavier, lighter, or lasts longer than your usual period. Or it may be bleeding that doesn't occur at your regular time. Let your doctor know if your bleeding is different than usual. They can...

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
Briefly discusses causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
Active surveillance is an option for some people who have slow-growing cancer that hasn't spread outside the prostate (localized). With active surveillance, you'll have regular checkups and tests. You won't have treatment unless tests show the cancer is growing. Some people will never need treatment. It may seem odd to...

Adenomyosis
What is adenomyosis? Adenomyosis is a disease that occurs when the cells that normally line the uterus grow into the muscular tissue of the uterine wall. This can cause painful, heavy periods and chronic pelvic pain. What causes it? The cause of adenomyosis is not fully understood. Some researchers believe that it is...

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. For some women, the only sign of this condition is an early miscarriage. Or...

Antisperm Antibody Test
An antisperm antibody test looks for special proteins ( antibodies) that fight against sperm in blood, vaginal fluids, or semen. The test uses a sample of sperm and adds a substance that binds only to affected sperm. Semen can cause an immune system response. The antibodies can damage or kill sperm. If a high number of...

Bacterial Vaginosis Tests
Tests for bacterial vaginosis take samples of fluid from the vagina. The samples are looked at under a microscope to see if they show signs of infection. Bacterial vaginosis can happen when certain types of bacteria that are normally in the vagina overgrow. It doesn't always cause symptoms. But the most common symptom...

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. When are you most likely to become pregnant? About 2 weeks before your period you will ovulate...

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 possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest). There is no evidence that...

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)
What is 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 the urethra. This often causes problems with...

Bioidentical Hormones
Bioidentical hormones are made in a lab. They are based on compounds found in plants. They have the same structure as the hormones your body makes. Many commonly prescribed forms of estrogen and progesterone are bioidenticals. Some examples include Estrace and Prometrium. These types are approved and regulated by the...

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 with a lighted magnifying instrument ( colposcopy). A microscopic exam on the biopsied...

Boric Acid for Vaginal Yeast Infection
Some experts now recommend boric acid capsules inserted into the vagina (vaginal suppositories) as a treatment option for vaginal yeast infections, particularly infections that can't be cured by antifungal yeast infection medicines. Boric acid is a white, crystalline chemical substance that has antifungal and antiviral...

Braxton Hicks Contractions
During the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, you may notice times when your belly tightens and becomes firm to the touch and then relaxes. These are called Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of them as "warm-up" exercises for your uterus. These contractions may be so mild that you rarely notice them. Or they...

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 to look at a suspicious area found on a mammogram, an ultrasound, or an MRI. There are several ways to do a breast...

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 reduce the burden of cancer and lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. Cancer is not a single disease but a group of related...

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

Breast Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening is looking for signs of disease, such as breast cancer, before a person has symptoms. The goal of screening tests is to find cancer at an early stage when it can be treated and may be cured. Sometimes a screening test finds cancer that is very small or very slow growing. These cancers are unlikely to cause...

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 (Adult) (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. The main types of invasive breast cancer are: Ductal carcinoma. This cancer begins in the ducts of the breast. It's...

Breast Cancer in Men (Male Breast Cancer)
What is male breast cancer? Breast cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in one or both breasts. Breast cancer in men develops in the small amount of breast tissue found behind a man's nipple. It is often a type called invasive ductal carcinoma. What causes it? The exact cause of breast cancer isn't known. But most...

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
If breast cancer spreads, it often goes to the lymph nodes first. Lymph node surgery is done to find out if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. The types of lymph node surgery for breast cancer are: Sentinel node biopsy. The doctor removes the first lymph nodes that cancer may have spread to (sentinel nodes). If...

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?
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. They are getting ready to make and supply milk for your baby. First-trimester changes In the first trimester (weeks 1 to 13): Your breasts may start to feel swollen and tender. Your nipples may stick out more than usual. Some women find that...

Breast Engorgement
What is 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. What causes it? Engorgement may happen: When your milk...

Breast Enlargement
In breast enlargement surgery, the doctor makes the breasts larger by putting an implant under the breast tissue and often under the chest muscle. An implant is a soft silicone shell filled with a saltwater solution or a gel. Your doctor will make a cut, called an incision. Then the doctor will put in the implant and...

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

Breast Implant Surgery for Breast Reconstruction
Breast implants recreate the shape of a breast after part or all of the breast is removed ( mastectomy) because of cancer. Several types of implants are available. Sometimes an implant is placed during the same surgery as mastectomy. But often you will have two surgeries. The doctor will first place a tissue expander...

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. Generalized breast lumpiness usually feels like lots of little bumps (nodularity) or as though some areas of the breast are thicker...

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). Cyclic pain is the most common type of breast pain. It may be caused by the normal monthly changes in hormones. This pain usually occurs in both breasts. It is...

Breast Problems
Briefly discusses breast changes during puberty, noncancerous breast changes, and when problems may need follow-up care. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

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.

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 ultrasound does not use X-rays or other potentially harmful types of radiation. A...

Breast-Conserving Surgery (Lumpectomy) 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 After Breast Surgery
Women who have had breast implants or surgery to remove cysts or benign (noncancerous) lumps usually are able to breastfeed. Women who have had surgery to make their breasts smaller (breast reduction) may have trouble breastfeeding if the milk ducts were cut or removed during surgery. These women may wish to consult...

Breastfeeding After a C-Section
A cesarean delivery may delay the start of breastfeeding. You may be sleepy from medicine or in pain from the surgery. Try breastfeeding your baby as soon as you are able. Ask whether your baby can be brought into the recovery room to be held and breastfed. Ask your nurse or other health professionals to help you...

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 during pregnancy is not recommended if you are at risk for preterm labor. Breastfeeding may stimulate uterine contractions, which can lead to premature...

Breastfeeding Multiple Infants
Breastfeeding multiples can be physically and emotionally challenging. But with support and guidance, you can succeed. Get help from an expert such as a lactation consultant or another person with expertise in breastfeeding multiple-birth babies. Special techniques often are recommended for multiples. For example: Feed...

Breastfeeding Positions
Breastfeeding in the proper position will help your baby latch on and breastfeed correctly and make your experience more enjoyable. Also, when you are in a comfortable and relaxed position, let-down occurs more easily. You are more likely to drain all areas of your breast by changing breastfeeding positions frequently...

Breastfeeding With Inverted Nipples
Inverted nipples fold inward instead of pointing out. Most women with inverted nipples will still be able to breastfeed. If the baby is having a hard time latching on to the breast, ask your doctor, midwife, or lactation consultant for help. To find out whether you have flat or inverted nipples: Place your thumb and...

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. Some general feeding guidelines can help ensure that your newborn is properly nourished: Feed the newborn about 8 to 12 times...

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 by breastfeeding. So the more frequently you feed your baby and empty your...

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 stores for this early time. Normally, feeding sessions in the first few days...

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: How often you will need other caregivers to feed your baby. Whether you will return to...

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. Exercise Being active helps promote weight loss, improves your energy level, and can help you relieve stress. Follow these tips when you start an exercise program while you are breastfeeding: Start out slowly...

Breastfeeding: How to Use a Breast Pump
A breast pump is a device that allows you to empty milk from your breasts whenever you want to or need to. Then you can store the milk for later. 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. It also...

Breastfeeding: Should I Breastfeed My Baby?
Guides through decision to breastfeed. Discusses common concerns and issues related to breastfeeding. Links to personal stories. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

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 when the baby first latches on to the breast. Pain that is severe or continuous...

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. Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco may reduce your milk production and inhibit the let-down reflex. It also may make your baby fussy or irritable. Babies who are exposed to secondhand...

Breastfeeding: Waking Your Baby
Most medical professionals recommend letting a baby eat on demand. But during the first few days of breastfeeding, your baby will breastfeed at least 8 times in a 24-hour period. This means you may need to wake your baby to eat. This will help to get your milk supply going. Try these tips to make the transition from...

Breastfeeding: Weaning a Toddler
There are two ways to wean. Gradual weaning happens over time. It lets your toddler have more control over when to stop breastfeeding. Abrupt weaning happens all at once. Which style you use will depend on your preferences, why you plan to wean, and how often your toddler breastfeeds. Gradual weaning One way to let a...

Cancer Antigen 125 (CA-125) Test
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.

Carbon Dioxide Laser Treatment for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
A carbon dioxide (CO2) laser beam is used to: Destroy (vaporize) abnormal cervical tissue that can be seen through a magnifying viewing tool (colposcope). Remove abnormal tissue high in the cervical canal that can't be seen through the colposcope. The CO2 laser can be used to do an excisional biopsy. Laser treatment...

Cervical Cancer Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention: Prevention - Patient Information [NCI]
Long-lasting (persistent) infection with high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV) causes virtually all cervical cancer. Nearly all people who are sexually active will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives. Around half of HPV infections are with a high-risk (cancer-causing) HPV type. High-risk HPV...

Cervical Cancer Screening
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cervical cancer screening tests check the cells on the cervix for changes that could lead to cancer. Two tests can be used to screen for cervical cancer. They may be used alone or together. A Pap test. This test looks for changes in the cells of the...

Cervical Cancer Screening: Screening - Patient Information [NCI]
Screening means checking for a disease before there are symptoms. Cervical cancer screening is an important part of routine health care for people who have a cervix. . What is cervical cancer screening? The goal of screening for cervical cancer is to find precancerous cervical cell changes, when treatment can prevent...

Cervical Cancer Treatment: Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (womb). The cervix connects the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). Cervical cancer usually develops slowly over time. Before cancer appears in the cervix, the cells of the cervix go through changes known...

Cervical Cell Changes on a Pap Test
Cervical cell changes are classified according to their degree of abnormality using the Bethesda system (TBS). Further evaluation decisions are guided by the kinds of changes seen in the cells. Minor cell changes Minor cell changes may go away without treatment. But sometimes they turn into more serious cell changes...

Cervical Cerclage
Cervical cerclage (say "SER-vuh-kul ser-KLAZH") is a procedure that helps keep the cervix from opening too soon before delivery. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. It leads to the vagina. During pregnancy, it is tightly closed to protect the baby. Normally, it doesn't open until the baby is ready to be born...

Cervical Insufficiency
What is 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 premature baby. You may also hear this condition...

Cervical Polyps
What are cervical polyps? Cervical polyps are growths in the cervical canal. This is the passage between your uterus and your vagina. Almost all cervical polyps are noncancerous (benign). Most cervical polyps are first discovered during a pelvic exam. Usually only a single polyp develops, though sometimes two or three...

Cesarean Section
Is this topic for you? 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). What is a cesarean section? A cesarean section is the delivery of a baby through a cut (incision) in the mother's belly and uterus. It is often...

Charting Your Basal Body Temperature
Use these instructions only if you are using a thermometer that measures your temperature in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius. To make a chart, get a piece of graph paper. At the top of your chart, write in a row of numbers. Leave the first square in the row blank, then write the numbers 1 through 45, one number in each...

Childhood 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...

Childhood Cervical and Vaginal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Cervical and vaginal cancers are diseases in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the cervix or the vagina. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a baby grows). The cervix leads from the uterus to the vagina (birth canal). The vagina is the canal leading...

Childhood Ovarian Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Ovarian cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the ovary. The ovaries are a pair of organs in the female reproductive system. They are located in the pelvis, one on each side of the uterus (the hollow, pear-shaped organ where a fetus grows). Each ovary is about the size and shape of...

Childhood 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 two 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...

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. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) are used to find chlamydia infection. These tests use a sample of body fluid from areas such as the cervix, vagina, eyes, rectum, or...

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. You can buy these forms already made, or they can be custom-made from a mold of your...

Chronic 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.

Circumcision
What is circumcision? 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 back on again. If circumcision is done, it's usually done soon after...

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 Child's Natural (Uncircumcised) Penis
Until the foreskin can be pulled back, wash only the outside of the penis. Don't try to force the foreskin back. When the foreskin can be pulled back, the area needs to be cleaned every day. Infants and young children A baby's foreskin does not pull back easily for about 6 months. Don't force it. Until you can pull the...

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

Combining Breastfeeding and Bottle-Feeding
You may choose to breastfeed and use a bottle for some of your baby's feedings. It is best to wait until your baby has been breastfeeding well for several weeks before you try feeding your baby from a bottle. Sometimes the shape of the nipple plays a part in how well your breastfed baby adjusts to bottle feedings. Many...

Congenital Hydrocele
What is a 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. A congenital hydrocele is one that a baby is born with. The swelling from a hydrocele may look scary, but it is usually not a problem. It will probably...

Congenital Syphilis
Congenital syphilis occurs when syphilis isn't treated during pregnancy and is passed to the baby through the placenta. A baby can be infected with syphilis any time during pregnancy or during labor or delivery. It's very important to have a blood test to detect syphilis while you're pregnant. Treating it during...

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. During a contraction, the blood and oxygen supply to your baby drops for a short time. This is not...

Cryosurgery for Prostate Cancer
Cryosurgery uses extreme cold to destroy cancer cells. It may be used to treat early prostate cancer. It's an option for those who can't have radiation therapy or a more invasive type of surgery. Or it may be used to treat prostate cancer that has come back after radiation therapy. During this treatment, very thin...

Cryotherapy for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
Cryotherapy destroys abnormal tissue on the cervix by freezing it. This treatment destroys some normal tissue along with the abnormal tissue. Your doctor will put a tool called a speculum into your vagina. It opens the vagina a little bit. A special fluid may be put on your cervix to make the tissue easier to see...

Cryotherapy for Genital Warts
Cryotherapy (cryosurgery) destroys genital warts by freezing them. A doctor applies a very cold substance, such as liquid nitrogen, around the warts to freeze them. You may have a mild or moderate burning sensation during treatment.

Dense Breasts
Breasts come in all shapes and sizes. The tissue inside your breasts can be different types too. Some breast tissue is fatty. Other breast tissue is dense. "Dense" means it's made of thick, fibrous tissue and milk glands. You can't tell how dense your breasts are by looking in the mirror or feeling them. The mammogram...

Digital Rectal Examination
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 rectum. He or she may use the other hand to press on the lower belly or pelvic area. A digital...

Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
Dilation and curettage is a type of procedure. It is often called a D&C. It removes tissue from inside your uterus. The doctor may do this to find out if the tissue is not normal. Or it might be done to stop severe bleeding. During a D&C, the cervix is opened gently so that tissue can be removed, usually with a scraping...

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. Eclampsia is life-threatening for both a mother and her fetus. During a seizure, the oxygen supply to the fetus is drastically reduced. Sudden seizures can occur before...

Effects of Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Exposure
People exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) before birth have an increased risk of certain health problems. These problems may include a slightly increased risk of infertility or changes in the reproductive organs. There's also a slightly higher risk for cancer of the cervix or vagina. DES is no longer used because of...

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. Electrocautery is usually done in a doctor's office or a clinic. The injection of a numbing medicine ( local anesthetic) is usually used for pain control. Medicine that causes...

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. Menopause does not create serious emotional issues for most women. Many women celebrate a sense of freedom from birth control...

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 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 the endometrium. An endometrial biopsy is sometimes done at the same time as another...

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...

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. Practice "double voiding" by urinating as much as possible, relaxing for a few moments, and then urinating again. Try to relax before you urinate. Tension from worrying about your symptoms can make them worse. Anxiety...

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. In general, the trials using these substances have been short, and self-reported improvement scores can be biased. Different preparations are available...

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.

Epididymitis
What is 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 epididymitis. What causes it? The causes of epididymitis vary depending on...

Erection Problems (Erectile Dysfunction)
What are erection problems? You have erection problems if you can't get or keep an erection that is firm enough for you to have sex. Erection problems are also called erectile dysfunction or impotence. They are more common as you get older. But there are treatments that can help. What causes them? Erection problems may...

Erection Problems: Relationships and Life Events Matter
Looking at events in your life, your relationships, and your feelings can often help you figure out things that may contribute to erection problems (erectile dysfunction). It can also help to know if you can achieve an erection by yourself but have trouble when with a partner. Review the following events and concerns...

Erection Problems: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take oral medicines 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 Inserted or Injected Medicines?
Guides through decision to try medicines inserted or injected into the penis for erection problems. Lists common causes of erection problems. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

Estrogen Test
An estrogen test measures the level of the most important estrogen hormones in a blood or urine sample. It measures estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is the most common type of estrogen measured for nonpregnant women. The amount of estradiol in a woman's blood varies throughout her menstrual cycle. After...

Excisional Biopsy for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
An excisional biopsy of the cervix is a type of procedure. It removes a cone-shaped piece of tissue from the cervix. The cervix is the lower part of your uterus. It opens into your vagina. There are a few ways the doctor can remove the tissue. One way is to use a surgical knife called a scalpel. Another way is to use a...

Exercises After Mastectomy
After breast surgery (mastectomy), you may feel some pain going down your arm. Your shoulder and arm may be stiff and hard to move. You may also have some loss of feeling there. The basic exercises described here will help you start moving your arm....

Fallopian Tube Procedures for Infertility
A fallopian tube blockage often 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. What type of surgery you have depends on where and how much the fallopian tube is blocked. Some tubal procedures can be done...

Family History and the Risk for Breast or Ovarian Cancer
If someone in your family has had breast or ovarian cancer, or some other cancers like pancreatic or prostate cancer, your chances of getting those cancers may be higher. And if you have two or three relatives who have had these cancers, your chances may be even higher. If you have a family history of these cancers, it...

Female Genital Problems and Injuries
Briefly discusses causes of female genital problems and injuries, including pelvic pain, vulvar problems, rashes, and infections. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

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: 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.

Fetal Fibronectin Test
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. Fetal fibronectin testing is sometimes done when someone has symptoms of preterm labor. If the test is negative, you probably aren't...

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. During the 5 to 6 days before and on the day of ovulation, the cervix produces a type of mucus that is stretchy, slippery, thin, and clear. This quickly...

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. As early as weeks 10 to 12, you may be able to hear your baby's heartbeat using a Doppler ultrasound. By the 20th week, the heart tone is strong...

Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome
Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome occurs when pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) causes inflammation of the capsule covering the liver and the area around it. It causes pain in the upper right belly. This syndrome happens when bacteria enter the abdominal cavity through the fallopian tubes. They then follow the flow of...

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) Test
A follicle-stimulating hormone test measures the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in a blood sample. FSH is produced by the pituitary gland. In women, FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs by the ovaries. The amount of FSH varies throughout a woman's menstrual cycle and is highest...

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.

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 you watch for urinary problems. Other injuries that can cause problems with...

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
How long it takes for a woman's full fertility to return after stopping birth control varies for each woman. It also depends on the birth control method she is using. Your ability to get pregnant gradually decreases as you age, starting at age 25. After you stop any form of birth control, you may have a harder time...

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

HELLP Syndrome
What is HELLP syndrome? HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder thought to be a type of severe preeclampsia. It is characterized by H emolysis (destruction of red blood cells), E levated Li ver enzymes (which indicate liver damage), and L ow P latelet count. HELLP is usually related to preeclampsia. In most...

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
What are heavy menstrual periods? With heavy menstrual periods (also called menorrhagia), your bleeding may be heavier or last longer than normal. You may: Pass large blood clots and soak through your pads or tampons often. Bleed for more than 7 days. Have menstrual cramps. Heavy periods may disrupt your life. But in...

Herpes Tests
A herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection can cause small, painful sores that look like blisters on the skin or the tissue lining ( mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina. In rare cases, HSV can infect other parts of the body, such as the eyes and the brain. HSV tests are most often done...

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 tests done on urine in most doctors' offices if they are used exactly as instructed...

Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer (Androgen Deprivation Therapy, or ADT)
Hormone therapy treats prostate cancer by lowering the level of certain hormones in the body. These hormones are called androgens. Prostate cancer needs androgens to grow. The main androgen is testosterone. Reducing the level of testosterone can slow the growth of prostate cancer and even shrink the tumors. The...

Hormone Treatment for Breast Cancer
Some breast cancers need the hormones estrogen or progesterone to grow. These cancer cells have "receptors" on their surface that let hormones in. One type is called estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer. Another type is called progesterone-receptor-positive (PR+) breast cancer. Hormone treatment keeps these...

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 takes place in a fallopian tube that links an ovary to the uterus. If the fertilized...

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test of the Cervix
A human papillomavirus (HPV) test is done to check for a high-risk HPV infection. Like a Pap test, an HPV test is done on a sample of cells collected from the cervix. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). An HPV test checks for the genetic material ( DNA) of the human papillomavirus. This test is used to show...

Hydrocele
What is a 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 dangerous. Although hydroceles are common in newborns, they can also...

Hypospadias
What is 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 penis to the scrotum. What causes it? In most cases, the cause of...

Hysterectomy
Provides info on hysterectomy, a surgical treatment for problems such as endometriosis and uterine cancer. Describes types of surgery such as abdominal, vaginal, and laparoscopic hysterectomies. Covers risks and discusses recovery.

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 pelvic and para-aortic lymph node biopsy to find out the stage and grade of the cancer. Most...

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: 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.

Hysterosalpingogram (HSG)
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 may be done if you are having a hard time getting pregnant (infertility). During the test, a dye ( contrast material) is put through a thin tube. That tube is put through the vagina and...

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

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

Infertility: Emotional and Social Support
When you have infertility, you may feel alone, confused, or scared. Talking with others about your feelings can help. Here are some places you may find support. Family and friends. They can help you cope by giving you comfort and encouragement. Counseling. Professional counseling can help you understand and deal with...

Infertility: Problems With Fallopian Tubes
Problems with the fallopian tubes are a leading cause of infertility in women. Tubal blockage may be caused by: Past infection. This is most often a sexually transmitted infection. Sometimes it can be linked with a ruptured appendix. Tubal ligation or other types of surgery. Endometriosis. This is a common cause of...

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

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. Causes of sperm count problems include: Hormonal problems in the testicles or pituitary gland. The pituitary gland releases hormones that...

Infertility: Problems With the Uterus and Cervix
Problems with a woman's uterus and/or cervix may be caused by many things. Causes include: Abnormalities of the uterus. These may have been present from birth. A past surgery or procedure, such as a cervical cone biopsy or a dilation and curettage (D&C). These may decrease fertility if the procedures have damaged the...

Infertility: Questions to Ask About Medicine or Hormone Treatment
When thinking about medicine or hormone treatment for infertility, ask your doctor these questions. Are there are any long-term risks related to the treatment? Do I need to change my sexual activities during treatment? Your doctor may have suggestions for timing sex to increase the chance of getting pregnant. How long...

Infertility: Setting Limits on Testing
Looking for a cause of infertility can be a brief process. Or it can become a financially, emotionally, and physically demanding series of tests and procedures. Before you start testing, think about how far you are willing to go. Think about: How you feel about having invasive testing if your first sperm and blood tests...

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

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
Inguinal hernia repair is a type of surgery. An inguinal hernia is a bulge under the skin in your groin. It happens when there is a weak spot in the groin muscle and a piece of the intestines or tissue pokes through the muscle. This can be painful. You may have pain when you're active. Or it may be painful when you...

Insemination for Infertility
Insemination procedures can be used to treat infertility. They use a thin, flexible tube (catheter) to place sperm in the vagina, cervix, or uterus. The sperm then travel into the fallopian tubes, where they may fertilize an egg. If the sperm are placed in the uterus, it's called intrauterine insemination (IUI). These...

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.

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. KOH is the abbreviation for potassium hydroxide, the solution that is used in the test.

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

Klinefelter Syndrome
What is Klinefelter syndrome? Klinefelter syndrome is a genetic condition 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 a male to have a variety of physical traits. Many men with an...

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: Pregnancy Cesarean Section Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) Postpartum: First 6 Weeks After Childbirth...

Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling (Ovarian Diathermy) for PCOS
Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a surgical treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that can help with ovulation. Electrocautery or a laser is used to destroy parts of the ovaries. This surgery is not commonly used. But it can be an option if you still don't ovulate after you lose weight and try fertility...

Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is a type of surgery that uses very small cuts. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor puts a lighted tube through incisions in your belly. This tube is called a scope. Then the doctor puts special tools through the tube to do the surgery. The surgery may be done to diagnose...

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.

Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy (say "lap-uh-ROSS-kuh-pee") is a type of surgery that uses very small cuts. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor puts a lighted tube through incisions in your belly. This tube is called a scope. Then the doctor puts special tools through the tube to do the surgery. The surgery may be done to diagnose...

Laser Surgery for Genital Warts
A laser can be used to destroy genital warts. Laser surgery may be done in a doctor's office or clinic, a hospital, or an outpatient surgery center. Local or general anesthetic may be used. Which one you get depends on how many warts need treatment and the size of the area to be treated.

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 legs. In men, blood flow to the penis is also blocked. The following...

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. Severe vaginal bleeding means that you are soaking 1 or 2 pads or tampons in 1 or 2 hours, unless that is normal for you. For most...

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 have more than one problem, doctors call the health problems comorbidities. One health problem...

Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) for Abnormal Cervical Cell Changes
A loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) removes tissue from the cervix. You may have this done if you've had a Pap test or colposcopy that shows tissue that isn't normal. During LEEP, your doctor will put a tool called a speculum into your vagina. It opens the vagina a little bit. This lets your doctor see the...

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. LEEP is done in a doctor's office, clinic, or hospital on an outpatient basis. A local anesthetic is injected...

Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Test
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. LH helps regulate the menstrual cycle and egg production ( ovulation). LH levels normally change with the phase of the menstrual cycle. This hormone goes up fast just before...

Lymph Node Removal Surgery (Lymphadenectomy) for Endometrial Cancer
This surgery, also called lymph node dissection, may be done to examine the pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes for endometrial cancer cells. Removing and checking the cancerous lymph nodes will let the doctor know the exact stage and grade of the cancer. And it may reduce the spread of the disease. The procedure can be...

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 can't be seen on a mammogram, ultrasound, or CT scan. The MRI makes pictures that show your breast's normal structure; tissue damage or...

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. Breast cancer may occur in men at any age, but it usually occurs in men between 60 and 70 years of age. Male breast cancer makes up less than 1% of all cases of breast cancer. The...

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. Covers what to expect after surgery. Looks at risks. Links to info on breast reconstruction.

Mastitis While Breastfeeding
What is mastitis? Mastitis is a breast inflammation usually caused by infection. It can happen to any woman. But it's most common during the first 6 months of breastfeeding, especially during the baby's first 2 months. After 2 months, the baby's feeding patterns become more regular, which helps prevent mastitis...

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

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

Menarche
Your first menstrual period is called menarche (say "MEN-ar-kee"). It usually starts around age 12. But it may start earlier or later. See your doctor if you have not started having periods by age 15. Your period is a part of your menstrual cycle. This cycle is a series of changes your body goes through to prepare for a...

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. Menopause is a natural part of growing older. You don't need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother you. But it's a good idea to learn all you can about menopause. Knowing what to expect can help you stay as healthy as...

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.

Menstrual Cramps
Briefly discusses menstrual cycles, primary and secondary dysmenorrhea, and problems such as pelvic infections or growths. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

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

Milk Oversupply
Milk oversupply happens when a mother makes more milk than her baby uses. It is sometimes called overabundant milk supply or hyperlactation. Many things influence how much milk you produce. The two most important things are how often you breastfeed...

Miscarriage
What is a miscarriage? A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. Most happen because the fertilized egg in the uterus doesn't develop normally. Miscarriages are very common. You can even have a miscarriage before you know that you're pregnant. What causes it? It may help to know that most...

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.

Molar Pregnancy
What is a molar pregnancy? A molar pregnancy means that 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. This tissue can cause serious problems in some cases. So a molar pregnancy should be treated right...

My Birth Plan
Name: ___________________________________. Partner's name: _____________________________. Doctor or midwife's name: __________________________. Today's date: _____________________. This birth plan is a guide for my labor and delivery. Since childbirth does not always go as planned, some of this birth plan may change...

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. Two types of nipple discharge are: Nonspontaneous discharge. This occurs only when you press on your nipple. It is usually normal and occurs in the majority of women at one...

Nipple Shields for Breastfeeding Problems
Nipple shields are devices that can help with certain breastfeeding problems. A nipple shield looks like a little hat with a brim. Many have a cutout area on the brim to allow for more skin-to-skin contact. The crown of the hat fits over the nipple, and the brim lies over the dark area around the nipple (areola). Most...

Normal Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the series of changes the body goes through to prepare for a possible pregnancy. About once a month, the lining of the uterus (endometrium) starts to thicken. Then an ovary releases an egg. If the egg is fertilized by sperm and attaches to the lining of the uterus (implants), pregnancy begins. If...

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. Normal vaginal discharge: Does not smell bad. Is not accompanied by pain, itching...

Orchiectomy
Orchiectomy (say "or-kee-EK-tuh-mee") is surgery to remove one or both of your testicles. It is usually done to treat testicular cancer. It may also be done for other reasons, such as removing a damaged testicle or as part of treatment for prostate cancer. For testicular cancer, the surgery is called a radical inguinal...

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 usually needs in order to continue growing. Simple orchiectomy is the removal of both...

Orchiopexy for Undescended Testicle
Surgery to move an undescended testicle into the scrotum is called orchiopexy or orchidopexy. Surgery is usually recommended by the time the baby is 18 months old. In most cases, a pediatric surgeon or a specialist who treats urinary problems in children (pediatric urologist) does the surgery. Orchiopexy may also be...

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

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...

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 from the ducts and out the tiny holes in the nipple (let-down reflex). In the...

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 liquid fixative (liquid-based cytology) and sent to a lab for examination under a...

Parkinson's Disease and Sexual Problems
Problems with sexual function in people with Parkinson's disease are common. Muscle stiffness and movement may make sexual activity difficult. Depression or anxiety may result in a loss of interest in sex or, in men, erection problems. These often can be improved by treatment with medicine. Parkinson's disease can...

Pelvic Exam
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: Tubo-Ovarian Abscess
A tubo-ovarian abscess is a pocket of pus that forms during an infection of a fallopian tube and ovary. This abscess is often caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A tubo-ovarian abscess is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and pelvic ultrasound. Some abscesses are found by using surgery ( laparoscopy or...

Pelvic Organ Prolapse
What is pelvic organ prolapse? Pelvic organ prolapse means that a pelvic organ—such as your bladder—has moved from its normal position and is pressing against your vagina. This can happen when the muscles and tissues that hold your pelvic organs in place get weak or damaged. Pelvic organ prolapse is common. It isn't...

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 noninflatable (malleable) or inflatable cylinders. They replace the spongy tissue (corpora cavernosum) inside the penis that fills with blood during an erection. The implants come in a variety of diameters and lengths. Noninflatable implants...

Peyronie's Disease
What is 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 cause pain for the person or their partner, or it may be so...

Placenta Previa
What is 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 oxygen from the mother. In a normal pregnancy, the placenta is...

Placental Abruption
What is placental abruption? Placental abruption 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 your body. In a normal pregnancy, the placenta stays firmly attached to...

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Discusses polycystic ovary syndrome, a problem in which female 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.

Poor Let-Down While Breastfeeding
You sometimes may notice that your milk does not flow easily, or let down, when you attempt to breastfeed or use a breast pump. Emotional stress, fatigue, anxiety, smoking, pain, or being cold are common causes of poor let-down. With poor let-down, you may not experience the tingling and leaking of milk that usually...

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 a high-risk pregnancy. You may need expectant management at home or in the hospital. Where you have it depends on how severe your preeclampsia is. Expectant management at home If you have signs of preeclampsia early in pregnancy, your doctor or...

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 Labor and Delivery. What can you do to have a healthy pregnancy? You may be...

Pregnancy-Related Problems
Briefly discusses symptoms that may show a serious problem during pregnancy. Covers vaginal bleeding, fever, and swelling. Describes emergency symptoms like shock, seizures, and leaks from your vagina. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Pregnancy: Prenatal Visit Schedule
As your pregnancy moves along, your prenatal visits will happen more often. So you'll have the chance to get to know your doctor or midwife well. It's common to see your doctor or midwife: Every 4 weeks until week 28. Every 2 to 3 weeks from weeks 28 to 36. Every week from week 36 to birth. In some cases, age or a...

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 will be...

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
What is preterm labor? Preterm labor is labor that comes too early—between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy. In labor, the uterus contracts to open the cervix. This is the first stage of childbirth. In most pregnancies, this happens at 37 to 42 weeks. Preterm labor is also called premature labor. Preterm labor doesn't...

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 (1.4 in.) long. A short cervix has a length of less than 25 mm (1 in.). Women...

Preterm Prelabor Rupture of Membranes (pPROM)
What is preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (pPROM)? Before a baby is born, the amniotic sac breaks. Then fluid either leaks slowly or gushes out. You may hear it called "having your water break." When this happens before contractions start, it's called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM). When PROM occurs before 37...

Preventing Mastitis
Mastitis is a breast inflammation usually caused by infection. It can happen to any woman. But it's most common during the first 6 months of breastfeeding. You can keep nursing your baby. In fact, breastfeeding usually helps to clear up infection, and nursing won't harm your baby. If you have mastitis, you may first...

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
What is primary ovarian insufficiency? Primary ovarian insufficiency (sometimes called premature ovarian failure) occurs when your ovaries-which store and release eggs-stop working before age 40. You may have no or few eggs. Depending on the cause, primary ovarian insufficiency may develop as early as the teen years, or...

Problems After Delivery of Your Baby
Briefly discusses problems that may occur in the days and weeks after the delivery of your baby (postpartum period). Covers emergency symptoms like signs of shock, fainting, and severe belly pain. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment tips.

Progesterone Test
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 lining of the uterus (endometrium) to receive the egg if it becomes fertilized by a...

Prostate Biopsy
A prostate 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. For a transrectal prostate biopsy, an ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum. Guided by ultrasound, a spring-loaded needle is used to take samples from...

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) Test
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.

Psychotherapy for Erection Problems
Psychological issues may play a role in erection problems. These issues may include depression, anxiety disorder, or another mental health disorder. Psychological treatment is most likely to be helpful for those who: Have an erect penis when they wake up in the morning. Can get a firm erection when they masturbate. Have...

Pudendal Neuralgia
Pudendal neuralgia is a rare problem with the pudendal nerve that can affect any adult. This nerve runs through your pelvic region. This includes your genitals, urethra, anus, and the area between your anus and genitals (perineum). The condition is also known as pudendal neuropathy or pudendal nerve entrapment. Pudendal...

Quick Tips: Successful Breastfeeding
Some aspects of breastfeeding may come naturally. But learning some breastfeeding skills and techniques can help you be more successful. Before your baby is born, take classes, read books, and watch videos that demonstrate breastfeeding techniques. If you have concerns about your ability to breastfeed, talk to a...

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. Radiation damages normal cells as well as cancer cells. But the normal cells can repair themselves and function, while the cancer cells cannot...

Radiation for Early-Stage Breast Cancer
External beam radiation therapy uses doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. A beam of radiation is aimed at the tumor from outside the body. This treatment is given to most people with early-stage breast cancer who choose breast-conserving surgery such as lumpectomy. How long the treatment takes Radiation therapy for...

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. Contact dermatitis A common cause of a rash is contact with a substance that...

Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infections
What are recurrent vaginal yeast infections? For your vaginal yeast infections to be thought of as recurrent, you must have three or more infections within 1 year. And they must cause symptoms. How are they treated? Recurrent vaginal yeast infections are usually treated with several doses of an oral pill or with vaginal...

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: Adopts a baby and has breastfed before. Stopped breastfeeding her baby and now has changed her mind and wants to resume breastfeeding. Relactation is a difficult and complex...

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 the vagina. Rectoceles and enteroceles may develop if the lower pelvic muscles become damaged...

Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection for Testicular Cancer
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. During the early phases of stage I nonseminoma testicular cancer, it can be very difficult to tell whether these lymph nodes are cancerous...

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.

Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is a type of palm tree that grows in the southeastern United States. The berry of the saw palmetto plant contains a compound that may reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. Symptoms of an enlarged prostate include dribbling after...

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.

Sex After Childbirth
For a while after childbirth, don't be surprised if you have little interest in sex. Physical recovery, exhaustion, and hormonal changes often affect sexuality after childbirth. Each woman's experience is different. Together, you and your partner can connect emotionally and physically by knowing ahead of time what is...

Sex Therapy for Erection Problems
Sex Therapy for Erection Problems—Topic Overview 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 with a therapist who...

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

Sexual Problems: How to Talk With Your Partner
Talking with your partner may help your sexual function. Couples often assume that they each know what the other person likes when it comes to sex. Sometimes they are wrong. Don't assume. Tell your partner what does and doesn't give you pleasure. Make time outside of the bedroom to talk about your sex life together...

Sexual and Reproductive Organs
Includes info on follicle-stimulating hormone test, pelvic inflammatory disease, and semen analysis. Also has links to info on hysterectomy, vaginal yeast infections, and enlarged prostate.

Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening
Guidelines for chlamydia The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends chlamydia testing for all sexually active women ages 24 and younger. The USPSTF also recommends testing for women older than 24 with high-risk sexual behaviors. The task force does not state how often to be screened. The Centers for...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: How a Male Genital Exam Is Done
During this exam for sexually transmitted infections, the doctor: Looks for discharge from your penis. The doctor may put a thin swab into the urethra and take a sample of fluid and cells to test for infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Checks your testicles for swelling and tenderness. May look at the end of your...

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: A change in vaginal discharge (thicker, discolored, or bad-smelling) over a period of several days to 2 weeks. Pain, burning, or itching...

Sexually Transmitted Infections: Treatment
Treatment is available for all STIs. The kind of treatment depends on the STI. Some STIs can go away with treatment. Other STIs can be treated to relieve symptoms. But treatment won't make them go away. Some of the most common STIs—chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis—are caused by bacteria. These STIs are treated with...

Simple Prostatectomy for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
Discusses traditional surgery to remove an enlarged prostate. Covers what to expect after surgery and risks.

Smoking: Sexual and Reproductive Problems
Smoking can affect sexual activity in both men and women. Men Men who smoke may have trouble getting and keeping an erection. This is because smoking can slowly and permanently damage blood vessels throughout the body, including those that carry blood to the penis. An erection is caused when blood flow to the penis...

Sonohysterogram
A sonohysterography test uses ultrasound to look at the inside of your uterus. A salt (saline) solution is put in the uterus for a clearer image. Ultrasound images from this test can help find the cause of bleeding or problems getting pregnant. If a contrast fluid is used, your doctor will look at the fallopian tubes...

Sperm Penetration Tests
Sperm penetration tests check to see if sperm can move through cervical mucus or join with (fertilize) an egg. These tests may be done when you're having trouble getting pregnant (infertility). There are different sperm penetration tests. The sperm mucus penetration test checks if sperm can move through the cervical...

Spermatocele (Epididymal Cyst)
What is a spermatocele? 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 smooth, firm lump in the scrotum on top of the testicle...

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. Although the condition is known as a hernia, in many cases an obvious hernia is not seen. The main symptom is groin pain that may...

Stages of Syphilis
Syphilis develops in four stages. Each stage has a different set of symptoms. Primary stage During the primary stage of syphilis, one or more sores (chancres) form at the site where the bacteria entered the body. This often occurs within 3 weeks of exposure but can range from 10 to 90 days. A person is highly contagious...

Storing Breast Milk
Collecting breast milk is a way of giving your baby breast milk in a bottle. If you collect milk, you can store it so you don't have to use it right away. Why store breast milk? Storing breast milk lets you feed your baby later or allows someone else to do it. This is useful if you're going back to work or will be gone...

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 ( adhesions). The surgeon can then remove implants and adhesions. The surgeon can also...

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.

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

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 during menstruation but can occur at any time during your menstrual cycle. Symptoms of pelvic...

Symptoms of Pregnancy
You may be pregnant if you: 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 especially risky to miss a pill early in the cycle or pack or...

Syphilis Tests
Syphilis tests are done to check for a syphilis infection. They look for antibodies to the bacteria that cause syphilis. Some tests look for the syphilis bacteria. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. That means it is spread through sexual contact: vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also spread to the fetus of...

Tension-Free Vaginal Tape for Stress Incontinence in Women
Urethral sling surgery is done to treat stress incontinence. A sling is placed around the urethra to support it and help it retain urine. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. There are different types of urethral sling surgeries. The two main types of slings are midurethral...

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. The testicles (testes) are oval-shaped glands that hang in the scrotum under the base of the penis. The testes produce sperm (which is needed for reproduction) and male hormones...

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 person or a 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, usually is not painful. Testicular cancer has a high cure rate. Experts don't recommend...

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 Examination and Testicular Self-Examination
Testicular exam and testicular self-exam are two ways to find lumps or other problems in the testicles. The two testicles, or testes, are the male sex organs. They are located in the scrotum, a pouch below the penis. The testicles make sperm and the male hormone testosterone. Each testicle is about the size and shape of...

Testicular Prosthesis
A testicular prosthesis is a small implant with a size, shape, and consistency like a real testicle. It's usually made of a soft plastic (silicone) shell and filled with saline (salt water). The risks of a testicular prosthesis include infection and bleeding or blood clots in the scrotum. But these problems aren't...

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). During a testicular scan, the tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. It travels through your blood to the testicles. Parts of the testicles where the tracer...

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 (epididymis). And it can show the tube ( vas deferens) that connects the testicles to the prostate...

Testosterone
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions or...

Testosterone Test
A testosterone test checks the level of this male hormone (androgen) in the blood. Testosterone affects sexual features and development. In men, it is made in large amounts by the testicles. In both men and women, testosterone is made in small amounts by the adrenal glands, and in women, by the ovaries. The pituitary...

Tests for Erection Problems
Tests for erection problems can help you find out why you can't have or maintain an erection. This problem is called erectile dysfunction, or impotence. It's a common problem. Most erection problems are caused by a mix of blood vessel, nerve, or psychological issues. To find the cause, your doctor will first ask about...

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 having their whole breast removed. In recent years, a growing number...

Thinking About Oophorectomy
Oophorectomy (say "oh-uh-fuh-REK-tuh-mee") is surgery to take out one, both, or part of your ovaries. Your ovaries store and release eggs, which can develop into embryos if fertilized by sperm. They also make sex hormones. Some people have their uterus and ovaries taken out at the same time. In some cases, one or both...

Third-Trimester Exams and Tests
At each prenatal visit in the third trimester, you'll be weighed, and your blood pressure and urine will be checked. Your doctor or midwife will measure the size of your uterus (fundal height) and feel your belly. This is done to check your baby's growth and position. Late in the third trimester, your doctor or midwife...

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.

Transurethral Incision of the Prostate (TUIP) for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
You will likely stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 days after surgery. Most people can go back to work or their usual routine in about 3 to 5 weeks. But it can take longer to fully recover. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter usually is left in your bladder to drain your urine for 1 to 2 weeks. Your doctor will give...

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 prostate. Cooling fluid is circulated around the microwave antenna to prevent heat from...

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
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is surgery to reduce or remove prostate tissue. It is done when an overgrown prostate gland is pressing on the urethra and causing problems with a man's urine stream. The prostate gland is a small organ just below a man's bladder. It makes most of the fluid in semen. The...

Tubal Ligation Reversal
Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure in which your fallopian tubes are blocked, cut, or sealed. It's done to prevent your eggs from traveling from your ovaries into the fallopian tubes, where they could be fertilized by a sperm. Tubal ligation is a highly effective form of birth control that is almost always...

Undescended Testicle
What is an 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 one testicle does not move into the scrotum as it...

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

Urinary Symptoms After an Injury in Children
When your child injures his or her genital area, the pain can be quite severe at first. Usually, the pain subsides over the course of a few minutes to an hour. The severity of the pain is not always an indication of the severity of the injury. After an injury to the genital area, it is important to watch for urinary...

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. 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 uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) for uterine fibroids. Explains what uterine fibroids are. Lists reasons for and against UFE. 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 with the careful use of certain medicines to start labor. For a woman who has a...

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. During a cesarean, the mother gets either a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic. She can't fully take part in her baby's birth. Some mothers feel very strongly about being able to bond with the baby right...

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 a vertical incision scar. About 5 out of 1,000 women (0.5%) with a low...

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 pumped out of the tube, which creates a vacuum. The vacuum helps blood flow into the...

Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
What is a 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. Most women, whether they deliver vaginally or by C-section, don't have serious problems from...

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 the uterus) to the outside of the body. At birth, a baby passes out of the body through the vagina (also called the birth canal). Anatomy of the female reproductive system...

Vaginal Closure Surgery (Vaginal Obliteration)
Vaginal closure surgery (vaginal obliteration) is done when the uterus has moved from its natural position to press uncomfortably into the vagina ( uterine prolapse). It may also be done if the vagina drops into the vaginal canal ( vaginal vault prolapse). Sometimes it's done during a gender-affirming surgery. After the...

Vaginal Dryness
You may have vaginal dryness around the time of menopause. Or if your ovaries were removed during a hysterectomy (oophorectomy), you may have vaginal dryness from low estrogen levels. If sex is painful because of vaginal dryness, there are steps you can take to make it more comfortable. Use a vaginal lubricant. Try...

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

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

Vaginal Prolapse Surgery
Vaginal wall prolapse (vaginal vault prolapse) occurs when the upper portion of the vagina loses its normal shape and drops down into the vaginal canal or outside of the vagina. During vaginal prolapse surgery, the top of the vagina is attached to the lower abdominal (belly) wall, the lower back (lumbar) spine, or the...

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. Contact dermatitis A common cause of a rash is contact with a substance that causes...

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 need medical attention. The best time to do a vaginal self-examination is between your...

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 vulva. Vaginitis is often caused by an infection. The most common infections that can cause vaginitis include bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis. For the wet...

Vaginal Yeast Infection During Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have vaginal infection symptoms, see your doctor. Do not use nonprescription yeast infection medicine unless you discuss it with your doctor first. Experts recommend that during pregnancy: Vaginal medicines should be used for yeast infection treatment. These may be vaginal creams or...

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.

Varicocele Repair Surgery
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.

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...

Vulvodynia
What is vulvodynia? Vulvodynia is pain in the vulva that can't be explained by another health problem, such as an infection or a skin problem. The vulva is the genital area outside the body that surrounds the opening of the vagina and the urethra. It also includes the clitoris and the labia. What causes it? Doctors...

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