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What Did My Doctor Say?

The special words doctors and nurses use can be hard to understand. You may see or hear these words at your doctor’s office, on the Internet, on the radio or TV, or in newspapers or magazines. We call these words “medspeak.” The Medical Library Association created this site to help you understand what a doctor or nurse tells you. You’ll find tips on how to understand many health words. The terms on this site were created with the help of the Working Group for Health Literacy, Massachusetts Health Sciences Library Network (MAHSLIN)

    This is part of a word. It means urine or urinary tract. Uroscopy means an exam of urine.
  • ut dict

    ut dictum, as directed

    This is part of a word. It means uterus, also known as womb. Uterotonic means the tone or strength of the uterus muscles. VACCINE – These are drugs that are given to protect from disease. They can be given by mouth or in a shot. A flu shot is a vaccine.

    This is a drug that keep you from getting a disease. Vaccines can be given by mouth or in a shot. For example, flu shots are a vaccine.

    In your body, this is a tissue that makes liquid flow in only one way. There are valves in the heart, veins, and other places that keep your blood moving in your body.
  • vid


    This is the amount of the HIV virus in the blood.

    This is a large increase in the amount of HIV virus in your blood. It can happen even though you are taking your medications. It may mean that the medications are not working as well as before.