Women's Center for Pelvic Health
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Glossary

Biofeedback - This term refers to a variety of techniques that teach patients bladder and pelvic muscle control by giving positive feedback when the patient performs the desired action. This feedback can be from an electronic device or directly from health professional.

Bladder - A muscular organ which stores urine.

Constipation - Variously defined as infrequent bowel movements (< 3 bowel movements per week), incomplete emptying of bowel contents, need to excessively strain to effect a bowel movement, passage of small, hard stools, or need to place your fingers in the vagina or the space between the vagina and anus to effect a bowel movement.

Cystocele - Prolapse or bulging of the bladder into the vagina.

Cystoscopy - Using a lighted scope to view the inside of the bladder.

Dysuria - Painful urination.

Fecal Incontinence - Accidental loss of solid stool, liquid stool, or gas.

Frequency - The need to urinate more often than normal.

Pelvic floor muscles - A group of muscles in the pelvis that support and help to control the vagina, uterus, bladder urethra and rectum.

Pelvic muscle exercises (PME) - Also known as Kegel's exercises, they strengthen the support of the pelvic organs and are most commonly used to treat stress urinary incontinence. PME techniques are also useful in prolapse prevention. Once the symptoms of prolapse are severe, however, these exercises are of little benefit.

Pessary - A device worn in the vagina like a diaphragm. Pessaries are used to support the vagina, bladder, rectum and uterus as necessary. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so a doctor or nurse must fit them.

Rectocele - Prolapse or bulging of the rectum into the vagina.

Stress incontinence - involuntary loss of urine during activities that put "stress" on the bladder such as laughing, coughing, sneezing, lifting, etc.

Ureters - A pair of tubes, each leading from one of the kidneys, to the bladder.

Urethra - A short narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body.

Urge incontinence - An involuntary loss of urine preceded by a strong urge (also known as "overactive bladder").

Urgency - A powerful need to urinate immediately.

Urinary incontinence - leakage of urine.

Urodynamics - A test that uses a small catheter inserted in the bladder to study the function of the bladder and urethra during, filling, leakage and urinating.

Uterine prolapse - Prolapse or descent of the uterus into the vagina.

Voiding - Passage of urine out of the body.

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