Birth Control Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Birth Control article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Abortion: In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (th...

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Abstinence: The voluntary self-denial of food, drink, or sex. Today, abstinence most commo...

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Acetate: A molecular ion derived from acetic acid. The formula of acetate is CH3COO-.

Acne: Localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of the oil glands at the bas...

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Allergy: A misguided reaction to foreign substances by the immune system, the body system ...

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Amenorrhea: Absence or cessation of menstruation. Amenorrhea is conventionally divided ...

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Anatomy: The study of human or animal form, by observation or examination of the living be...

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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Anticipation: The progressively earlier appearance and increased severity of a disease fro...

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Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as pa...

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Benign: Not malignant. A benign tumor is one that does not invade surrounding tissue or sp...

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Birth control: Birth control is the use of any practices, methods, or devices to prevent p...

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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bone density: Bone density is the amount of bone tissue in a certain volume of bone. It ca...

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Breast cancer: Breast cancer is diagnosed with self- and physician-examination of the brea...

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Breastfeeding: Feeding a child human breast milk. According to the American Academy of Ped...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The US agency charged with tracking and invest...

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Cervical: Having to do with any kind of neck, including the neck on which the head is perc...

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Cervical cancer: Cancer of the entrance to the womb (uterus). The cervix is the lower, na...

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Cervical cap: A soft rubber cup with a round rim designed to fit snugly around the cervix...

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Cervix: The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, ...

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Chlamydia: The agent of a sexually transmitted disease, a type of bacteria found in the ce...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Coagulation: In medicine, the clotting of blood. The process by which the blood clots to f...

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Coitus: Sexual intercourse.

Coitus interruptus: A method of contraception, also called withdrawal, in which the man wi...

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Conception: 1. The union of the sperm and the ovum. Synonymous with fertilization.
...

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Cysts: Cysts are abnormal, closed sac-like structures within a tissue that contain a liqui...

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Deep vein thrombosis: A blood clot within a deep vein, typically in the thigh or leg. The ...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabe...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Douche: Usually, a stream of water applied into the vagina for cleansing purposes. A douch...

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Douching: Using water or a medicated solution to clean the vagina and cervix or any other ...

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Ectopic: In the wrong place, out of place. For example, an ectopic kidney is a kidney that...

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Ectopic pregnancy: A pregnancy that is not in the uterus. The fertilized egg settles and g...

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Ejaculate: To ejaculate is to release semen during an orgasm in a male.

Ejaculation: Ejection of sperm and seminal fluid during an orgasm in a male.

Electrocoagulation: A procedure that uses an electrical current to stop bleeding.

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Electrocoagulation: The coagulation (clotting) of tissue using a high-frequency electrical...

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Embryo: An organism in the early stages of growth and differentiation, from fertilization ...

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Emergency contraception: The prevention of pregnancy after unprotected vaginal intercourse...

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Erosion: An erosion is an eating away of a surface. ("Erodere" in Latin means to eat out.)...

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Estrogen: A female steroid hormone that is produced by the ovaries and, in lesser amounts,...

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Fallopian tube: One of the two Fallopian tubes that transport the egg from the ovary to th...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Female condom: Although the word "condom" usually conjures up the male condom, there is a ...

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Fertile: Able to conceive and bear offspring. Also known as fecund.

Fertility: The ability to conceive and bear children, the ability to become pregnant throu...

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Fertility awareness: Also known as natural family planning, periodic abstinence and the rh...

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Fertilization: The process of combining the male gamete, or sperm, with the female gamete,...

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Food and Drug Administration: An agency within the US Public Health Service that provides ...

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Formula feeding: Feeding an infant or toddler prepared formula instead of or in addition t...

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Gonorrhea: A bacterial infection that is transmitted by sexual contact. Gonorrhea is one o...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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Human papillomavirus: HPV. A family of over 100 viruses including those which cause warts ...

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Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceedi...

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Hysterectomy: An operation to remove the uterus. Hysterectomies are most commonly performe...

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Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune response: Any reaction by the immune system. For example, poison ivy can cause an i...

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Implant: 1. To embed; to set in firmly. In embryology, the fertilized egg implants ...

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Implantation: The act of setting in firmly.

Incision: A cut through skin or other tissue performed by a health care professional.

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Infant: A young baby, from birth to 12 months of age.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Infertile: Not able to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception....

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Infertility: Diminished or absent ability to conceive and bear offspring. A couple is cons...

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Insertion: A chromosome abnormality that is due to insertion of a segment from one chromos...

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Intrauterine: In the uterus.

itis: Suffix meaning inflammation. For example, colitis is literally colon inflammation or...

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Labia: Lips, the fleshy folds that surround the opening of the mouth (oral labia) or the v...

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Laparoscopic: 1. Pertaining to the procedure of laparoscopy.
2. Pert...

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Laparotomy: An operation to open the abdomen. For example, laparotomy is used to remove ca...

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Last menstrual period: By convention, pregnancies are dated in weeks starting from the fir...

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Levonorgestrel: A progestin. Named levonorgestrel because it is the levorotatory form of n...

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Libido: 1. Sexual drive. 2. In psychoanalysis, the psychic energy from all ...

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Lipids: Another word for "fats." (Please see the various meanings of Fat.) Lipids can be m...

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Lubricant: An oily or slippery substance. A vaginal lubricant may be helpful for women who...

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Male condom: The male condom is a sheath placed over the erect penis before penetration, p...

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Menstrual: Pertaining to menstruation (the menses), as in last menstrual period, menstrua...

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Menstrual cycle: The monthly cycle of changes in the ovaries and the lining of the uteru...

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Menstruation: The periodic blood that flows as a discharge from the uterus. Also called me...

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Mifepristone: The French abortion pill, also known as RU-486.

Migraine: Usually, periodic attacks of headaches on one or both sides of the head. These ...

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Miscarriage: Inadvertent loss of a pregnancy before the fetus is viable. A considerable pr...

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Morning-after pill: A form of contraception used after rather than before sexual intercour...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Mucus: A thick fluid that is produced by the lining of some organs of the body.

Natural family planning: Also known as fertility awareness, periodic abstinence and the rh...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Navel: The umbilicus, the former site of attachment of the umbilical cord, usually found i...

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Nursing: 1) Profession concerned with the provision of services essential to the maintena...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Oral contraceptive: A birth control pill taken by mouth. Most oral contraceptives include...

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Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalized, but instead comes to a physician?s office, ...

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Ovarian: Of or pertaining to the ovary.

Ovulation: The release of the ripe egg (ovum) from the ovary. The egg is released when the...

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Ovulatory: Relating to ovulation, the release of the ovum (the egg) from the ovary.

Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pap test: A screening test for cervical cancer that involves the microscopic examination o...

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Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the h...

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Penis: The external male sex organ. The penis contains two chambers, the corpora cavernosa...

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Periodic abstinence: Also known as fertility awareness, natural family planning, and the r...

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Plan B: Brand name for a progestin-only emergency contraceptive designed to prevent pregn...

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Postpartum: The period just after delivery, as with postpartum depression. Postpartum refe...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Progesterone: A female hormone, the principal hormone that prepares the uterus to receive ...

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Progestin: Any one of a group of steroid hormones that have the effect of progesterone.

Reproductive system: In women, the organs that are directly involved in producing eggs and...

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Rhythm method: Also known as fertility awareness, natural family planning, and periodic ab...

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RU-486: The French abortion pill, also known as mifepristone.

Semen: The fluid that is released through the penis during orgasm. Semen is made up of flu...

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Sexually transmitted disease: Any disease transmitted by sexual contact; caused by microor...

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Shock: In medicine, a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow...

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Sperm: A sperm is the male "gamete" or sex cell. It combines with the female &qu...

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STD: Sexually transmitted disease.

Steroid: One of a large group of chemical substances classified by a specific carbon struc...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Suture: 1. A type of joint between the bones of the skull where the bones are held ...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Testicles: The testicles (also called testes or gonads) are the male sex glands. They are ...

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Thrombosis: The formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The vessel may be...

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Toxic shock: See Toxic shock syndrome.

Toxic shock syndrome: A grave condition occurring predominantly in menstruating women usin...

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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Urinary: Having to do with the function or anatomy of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or ur...

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Urinary tract: The organs of the body that produce, store, and discharge urine. These orga...

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Urinary tract infection: An infection of the kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra. Abbrevia...

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Uterine lining: The inner layer of the uterus (womb); the cells that line the womb; anatom...

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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UTI: Urinary tract infection.

Vagina: The muscular canal that extends from the cervix to the outside of the body. It is ...

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Vas deferens: The tube that connects the testes with the urethra. The vas deferens is a co...

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Vasectomy: A surgical procedure designed to make a man sterile by cutting or blocking both...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Vomit: Matter from the stomach that has come up into and may be ejected beyond the mouth, ...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Medical Dictionary