The following glossary is adapted from the glossary provided by Planned Parenthood at https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/glossary.
Mammary glands: Organs in a woman’s breasts that produce milk.
Mammogram: X-ray photographs of the breasts that can detect cancerous tumors before they can be felt.
Menarche: The time of a girl’s first menstruation.
Menopause: The time at “midlife” when menstruation stops; a woman’s last period; usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. “Surgical” menopause, however, results from removal of the ovaries, and may occur earlier.
Menorrhagia: Menstrual bleeding that is heavier or longer lasting than usual.
Menses: The discharge during menstruation.
Menstrual cup: A latex or silicone receptacle that fits over the cervix to collect menstrual flow.
Menstrual cycle: The time from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period. In women of reproductive age, about 15–44, it is the period in which the lining of the uterus is shed whenever implantation does not happen, followed by the re-growth of the lining of the uterus in preparation for implantation.
Menstrual flow: Blood, fluid, and tissue that are passed out of the uterus during the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Often called a “period.”
Menstrual synchrony: Women having their periods at the same time because they live closely together.
Menstrual suppression: The use of hormonal treatments — usually birth control pills — to prevent periods.
Menstruation: The flow of blood, fluid, and tissue out of the uterus and through the vagina that usually lasts from 3 to 7 days.
Milk ducts: The passages in women’s breasts through which milk flows from the alveoli to the nipple.
Mini-laparotomy: A very common method of tubal sterilization that involves making a small incision on the lower abdomen through which the fallopian tubes can be located and blocked.
Mini-pills: Birth control pills that contain only the hormone progestin. More correctly called “progestin-only pills.”
Miscarriage: The loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation — before the embryo or fetus can live outside the uterus.
Molluscum contagiosum: A virus that can be sexually transmitted, causing small, pinkish-white, waxy, round, polyp-like growths in the genital area or on the thighs.
Monogamy: A relationship in which both people date or have sex only with one another and no one else.
Mons veneris: The fleshy, triangular mound above the vulva that is covered with pubic hair in adult women. It cushions the pubic bone.
Morning after pills: Emergency hormonal contraception that is started within 120 hours (five days) of unprotected vaginal intercourse to decrease the risk of unintended pregnancy.
Mucus method: A fertility awareness-based method for predicting a woman’s fertility by observing changes in her cervical mucus. Can be used for contraception or for planning a pregnancy.
Müllerian ducts: Two structures in the embryo that develop into the female reproductive tract.
Multiparous: Having given birth more than once.