caliper An aid which gives support to a weak
or injured leg. Another word for ‘brace.’
cancer A serious disease that causes cells to
change and grow in an abnormal way,
causing growths. Cancer can affect many
different parts of the body.
cell The smallest unit of living matter in the body.
chart A file where information about a
person’s illnesses and treatments is kept.
chronic Something that lasts for a long time,
or that occurs often. Compare with acute.
contaminated When medical supplies or food
contain harmful germs.
contracture Reduced range of motion in a
joint, often due to muscle shortening.
convulsion An uncontrolled seizure, ‘fit.’
A sudden jerking of part or all of the body.
date rape When a woman is forced to have
sex by a man she is dating or courting.
douche Washing out the vagina. This can
cause harm because it washes out the
natural healthy wetness in the vagina.
dystrophy A progressive muscle weakness
that comes from a problem in the muscles
themselves (compare with atrophy).
enema A solution of water put up the anus to
make a person pass stool or to increase the
amount of fluid in the body.
estrogen A female hormone.
List of difficult words 373
family planning When a woman uses
methods to prevent pregnancy so she can
have the number of children she wants,
when she wants them.
gang rape When someone is raped by more
than one man.
gender role The way a community defines
what it means to be a woman or man.
generic The name of the main ingredient in a
medicine. Compare with ‘brand name.’
hemorrhoids Small, painful bumps or lumps at
the edge of the anus or inside it. They are a type
of swollen veins that may burn, hurt, or itch.
hepatitis A serious disease of the liver caused
by a virus, bacteria, alcohol, or chemical
poisoning. Some forms of hepatitis can be
home remedies Traditional ways of healing.
hormones Chemicals the body makes that
tell it how and when to grow. Estrogen
and progesterone are the most important
hormones for women.
immunization See vaccination.
infant formula Artificial milk for babies used
instead of breast milk. Infant formula and
other replacement foods do not have the same
nutrition or health benefits as breast milk.
infection A sickness caused by bacteria,
viruses, or other organisms. Infections may
affect part of the body or all of it.
injections When medicine or other liquid is
put into the body using a syringe and needle.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007