Menstruation Glossary

The team at Women’s View, lead by Dr. Richard Buyalos – one of the worlds leading experts on endocrinology, obstetrics, and gynecology – has compiled a comprehensive list of 36 definitions related to tracking your period and basal body temperature. Choose a letter below to take you to the definition you’re looking for. You can also scroll through the list to find the term you are looking for. These definitions are also available in the free Period View™ smart phone app.

ABCDEF • G • H • I • J • K • LM • N • OP • Q • R • STUV • W • X • Y • Z


Amenorrhea – The absence of menstruation (one or more missed menstrual periods). Causes of amenorrhea include pregnancy, hormonal disorders, stress, fatigue, being over or under weight and hormonal contraceptives.

Anovulation – A cycle in which ovulation does not occur.

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Bacterial Vaginosis – A type of vaginal infection caused by an imbalance of bacteria in the vagina. This is often associated with a malodorous discharge.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) – The temperature of your body at rest, taken upon waking and before getting out of bed. Your temperature should be taken prior to consuming hot or cold liquids or performing any physical activity. BBT is one of the 3 primary fertility signs along with cervical fluid and cervical position.

Basic Infertile Pattern (BIP) – An extended pattern of sticky or dry cervical fluid that women may experience during an ovulatory cycle rather than the normal pattern of progressively more watery and abundant cervical fluid.

Biphasic Temperature Pattern – A temperature pattern with 2 ranges of temperatures, a lower, pre-ovulatory range that lasts until ovulation and a higher, post-ovulatory range that lasts until the next cycle begins. Most women with ovulatory cycles observe a biphasic temperature pattern.

Breakthrough Bleeding – Vaginal bleeding due to excessive estrogen production (and is often due to a lack of progesterone). Although breakthrough bleeding may seem like a menstrual period, it is not a true menstrual period if ovulation has not occurred prior to the bleeding.

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Cervical Fluid – The fluid produced by the cervix in which sperm can travel. The quantity and type of cervical fluid present are directly related to the body’s production of estrogen and progesterone. Cervical fluid is one of the 3 primary fertility signs along with basal body temperature and cervical position.

Cervical Position or Cervical Tracking – Refers to the height, softness and openness of the cervix. Cervical position is one of 3 primary fertility signs along with basal body temperature and cervical fluid.

Cervix – The opening to the uterus (womb) located at the top of the vagina.

Clitoris< – A part of the female genitalia consisting of a small elongated highly sensitive erectile organ at the front of the vulva.

Conception – Conception or fertilization is the formation of a viable zygote (embryo) by the union of a spermatozoan (sperm) and an ovum (egg).

Contraceptives – Methods or devices used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control methods which include barrier methods, hormonal methods, intrauterine devices, sterilization, and behavioral methods.

Corpus Luteum – What is left of the follicle that released the egg at ovulation. The corpus luteum produces progesterone to support the endometrium. If conception occurs, the corpus luteum will continue to produce progesterone throughout early pregnancy. Otherwise, the corpus luteum will stop producing progesterone and resorbs 12-16 days later and a new cycle begins.

Coverline – A line used to help distinguish pre-ovultory temperatures from post-ovulatory temperatures on a BBT chart.

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Dysmenorrhea – Refers to pain related to menstrual flow or cramping that is severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

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Endometrium – The lining of the uterus that is built up by estrogen and supported by progesterone during a cycle. If conception occurs, the fertilized egg (embryo) will implant in the endometrium. If conception does not occur, the endometrium is shed resulting in menstruation.

Estrogenv – Estrogen, one of the major hormones of pregnancy, causes the endometrium (lining of the uterus) to thicken. Blood levels of estrogen control the signal to the pituitary gland’s production and release of FSH and LH. It is often used to monitor the ovarian response to fertility medication.

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Fallopian Tubes – Narrow tubes connected to the upper portion of the uterus which transport embryos (fertilized eggs) into the uterus.

Follicular Phase – Also called the pre-ovulatory phase, or the phase of a woman’s cycle lasting from the first day of menstruation on until ovulation.

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Labia – Any of the folds of skin bordering the vulva.

Luteal Phasev – Also called the secretory phase. The portion of the menstrual cycle beginning immediately at ovulation until menstruation occurs.

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Menarche – The medical term for a girl’s first period.

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Ovaries – Organs located on both sides of the uterus which produce eggs and a variety of hormones (primarily estrogen and progesterone).

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Pregnancy – Pregnancy is the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman’s uterus.

Progesterone – Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries during ovulation (the release of a mature egg from an ovary) and prepares the uterine lining (endometrium) for implantation of an embryo. It may by prescribed orally, as an intramuscular injection, vaginal gel, vaginal suppositories, or transdermal cream.

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Sanitary Napkin – An absorbent pad worn during menstruation.

Sexual Intercourse – Sexual contact involving penetration of a males penis into a females vagina culminating in an orgasm and an ejaculation of semen.

Sexual Transmitted Diseases “STD’s” – A variety of diseases transmitted through sexual intercourse or intimate contact. These include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, and chancroid. STD’s are also commonly known as Venereal Disease.

Spinnbarkeit – Refers to cervical fluid becoming abundant, clear and stretchable, often described as resembling egg-white. This occurs during the ovulatory window.

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Tampon – A plug of soft material usually cotton inserted into the vagina to absorb blood during menstruation.

Toxic Shock Syndrome – A serious but uncommon infection caused by a bacterial toxin due to the lack of frequent changing of tampons.

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Unintended Pregnancy – A pregnancy that is unplanned at time of conception.

Uterus – A hollow muscular organ in the female pelvic cavity that houses the developing embryo.

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Vagina – A tubular passage from the vulva to the cervix of the uterus.

Venereal Diseases – A variety of diseases transmitted through sexual intercourse or intimate contact. These include gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, and chancroid. Venereal Disease is also commonly known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases “STD’s”.

Vulva – The external female genitals including the major and minor labia, clitoris and the vaginal orfice.

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