Glossary of Terms

This glossary of terms is meant to help everyone understand medical words. It is a place to quickly find information on medical words.

To find a word or term begin by clicking on a letter in the A-Z list. Then you can browse down the list to find the word you want. You can also type your medical word in the search box in the upper right corner and then click on the little magnifying glass.

This glossary is for information only. It should never be used instead of advice from a healthcare provider.

If you have questions or comments about the Glossary of Terms please let us know.

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gait aid

walker or cane

a piece of equipment, such as a walker or a cane, that you use to help you walk

gall bladder

an organ in your body

an organ that releases a fluid that helps you digest fat

a pear shaped organ that sits under your liver, and stores bile. As you digest food, your gallbladder releases bile through the bile duct. It can cause health problems if something blocks it.


a hard piece of bile that can form in your gallbladder


sex cells, egg or sperm


a condition where body tissues die because of a loss of blood supply


to do with your stomach


about your stomach


a doctor who looks after diseases in your stomach

a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases in your gastrointestinal tract and liver


the study of your stomach and intestine and their diseases

gastroenterology is the study of the normal function and diseases of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver


gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

stomach acid or, occasionally, stomach content, flows back into your food pipe (esophagus)



a test in which a gastroscope (a long flexible tube) is passed through your mouth into your upper digestive tract. It allows your doctor to look at the lining of your esophagus, stomach and the first part of your small intestine

gastrostomy tube (G-tube)

gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes) are special tubes that can be used to feed you. They are put in through the wall of your abdomen into your stomach. This is done in the interventional radiology department by specially trained doctors,nurses and technologist.

gavage feeding

feeding of your infant through a feeding tube

gender dysphoria

a medical condition where there is a mismatch (difference) between your gender at birth and how you feel about yourself

people who are transgender feel like they are living in a body that is wrong for them.


genes are what give you your height, natural hair color and eye color

a section or part of your DNA that has instructions for making things your body needs to work


about your genes

relating to your genes; relating to being passed on from one generation to the next

genetic disorder

an illness caused by changes to your genes

a genetic disorder can be inherited from your parents. It can also develop during your lifetime.


family traits, study of blood relatives

genital area

private parts, vagina, penis

genital herpes simplex

herpes (sores) in the genital area


the time when a baby is developing inside its mother before it is born

gestation means the period of time a baby is carried in the uterus. This is counted from the first day of your last menstrual period. Early-term gestation is between 37 to 39 weeks; full-term gestation is between 37 and 41 weeks; late-term gestation is between 41 and 42 weeks; and post-term gestation is 42 weeks or more

gestational Age

number of completed weeks of pregnancy between conception and birth

gestational diabetes

a type of diabetes that happens during pregnancy

a condition that develops during pregnancy when blood sugar levels become too high because the mother doesn't produce enough insulin. Gestational diabetes can be treated, and it usually disappears after pregnancy.




part of your body that either puts hormones into your body or releases something from your body


eye disease, increased eye pressure

glomerulonephritis (nephritis)

when the glomeruli (tiny filters that clean your blood) are damaged.

glomerulus (glomeruli)

tiny filter in your kidneys that cleans out waste and extra water from your blood. More than one is called glomeruli

glucometer (glucose meter, glucose monitoring device)

 a device you can use to test the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood


sugar in your blood


type of arthritis that causes sudden, severe attacks of pain, tenderness, redness, warmth, and swelling  in some joints


slowly, over time

graft (arterio-venous graft)

a vein and an artery in your arm are joined with a piece of special tubing, for dialysis



group B streptococcus

a kind of bacteria that many people naturally have in their intestinal tract. It is usually harmless in adults. If you're a healthy adult, there's nothing you need to do about group B strep.

If you're pregnant, get a group B strep screening test during your third trimester

group B streptococcus (group B strep) is a type of bacteria that causes infection among newborns, pregnant women or women after childbirth. It can  cause a very serious infection in the newborn . Testing for group B streptococcus is usually scheduled between weeks 35 and 37. The practitioner will use vaginal and rectal swabs, and if the result is positive, the treatment is to administer either IV antibiotics during labour or oral antibiotics during the last weeks of pregnancy.



audible sound made by an infant during exhalation that indicates breathing problem.


rules, steps to follow, directions

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)

a disease that makes it hard to move

is a rapid-onset muscle weakness caused by the immune system damaging the peripheral nervous system



a doctor who looks after the health of female organs