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Glossary:

Anal Sex:
This is a type of sexual intercourse that involves a penis being inserted into another person’s anus.

Antibiotics:
Antibiotics are a type of drug (usually prescribed by a doctor) that can kill some infections. Antibiotics can kill a bacteria but not a virus. Antibiotics are not always tablets; they sometimes come as creams, gels, drinkable medicines etc.

Anus:
The medical word for the opening in your bottom from where solid waste leaves the body.

Bacteria:
Bacteria is the word for more than one bacterium, which is a very small (microscopic) organism that can live in air, earth, water, plants, animals and people. Some bacteria are useful and some are harmless but some can cause disease.

Barrier Contraception:
This means anything that can be used to stop sperm meeting an egg (e.g. a condom).

Cervix:
A cervix is the narrow canal that connects a woman’s vagina and her womb.

Cystitis:
This means an infection in someone’s bladder. Men and women can both get cystitis but women get it more often. People with cystitis normally have pain when urinating.

Discharge:
This means any liquid that is secreted from anywhere in the body. In the world of sexually transmitted infections, a discharge will often be used to describe fluids that leak from either the vagina or the penis.

Ectopic Pregnancy:
Normally, if an egg becomes fertilised, it travels to the womb to grow. If it grows somewhere else, such as a woman’s fallopian tubes, it is called an ectopic pregnancy and can become very dangerous if not removed.

Ejaculation:
This is when a man reaches climax and squirts sperm from the end of his penis.

Foreskin:
This is the medical world for the fold of skin at the end of a man’s penis. Some men chose to have their foreskin removed; this is called circumcision and should only be performed by a trained medical professional.

Genitals:
This is the medical word for a man or a woman’s reproductive organs.

Hormonal Contraception:
Hormones are the natural chemicals that travel round in the blood to control how people’s bodies work. Some contraceptives work by changing the levels of these hormones (normally in the woman) to make pregnancy less likely.

Infection:
An infection means that a germ (e.g. a bacteria, virus or fungus) has got into the body and is causing an illness. Everyone gets infections from time to time (e.g. colds and food poisoning) and most are not sexually transmitted.

Immune System:
The immune system is the body’s own defences against germs and infection.

Menstrual Cycle:
This means the normal cycle of changes that a woman goes through from puberty until menopause. The cycle normally lasts for about a month and ends with the woman having her period before starting again.

Oral Sex :
This means using the mouth to stimulate someone’s genitals. When men receive oral sex it is sometimes called a “blow job”.

Ovulation:
This is the point in the menstrual cycle when a woman produces her egg.

Parasite:
This is an organism that lives on another organism and feeds from it.

Period:
A period is the point in the menstrual cycle when a woman sheds the lining of her womb. Because the lining is made from blood, the woman will bleed from her vagina during her period.

pH:
This is a scientific way of describing how acid or alkali something is.

Sex Toys:
This means any object that is used to sexually arouse someone. Because sex toys often come into contact with the genitals and bodily fluids, they can sometimes pass sexually transmitted diseases from one person to another.

Spermicide:
A spermicide is something that kills sperm (just like an insecticide is something that kills insects). Spermicides are normally gels and must be used with some types of contraception. Some spermicides should not be used with some condoms because the chemicals in the spermicide can damage the condom so that it doesn’t work very well.

Swab:
A swab is something used to take a sample of cells to test. Swabs are normally just like a cotton wool bud. There are lots of rumours about what having a swab is like but most aren’t true - it is normally painless having a swab taken.

Urine & Urinate:
Urine is the medical word for “wee” and to urinate is to “go for a wee”.

Vaginal Sex:
This is a type of sexual intercourse that involves a penis being inserted into a woman’s vagina.

Virus:
A virus is a very small (microscopic) organism that can sometimes cause disease. Unfortunately, antibiotics can’t kill viruses. Normally your own immune system will be able to kill viruses but some are too resistant for the body to fight and you may need medicine to help.

 

 

 

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