gynecology gīn˝əkŏl´əjē [key], branch of medicine specializing in the disorders of the female reproductive system. Modern gynecology deals with menstrual disorders, menopause, infectious disease and maldevelopment of the reproductive organs, disturbances of the sex hormones, benign and malignant tumor formation, and the prescription of contraceptive devices. A branch of gynecology, reproductive medicine, deals with infertility and utilizes artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilizations, where a human egg is harvested, fertilized in a test tube, then implanted into the womb. Some gynecologists also practice obstetrics . Surgical gynecology began to make progress in the 19th cent., when the introduction of anesthesia and antisepsis (see antiseptic ) paved the way for many advances. The American physician J. M. Sims was largely responsible for gaining acceptance of gynecology as a medical and surgical specialty. Until then there had been opposition to it on moral grounds from midwives, the clergy and the medical profession. In recent years, because of controversies over abortion and birth control , government has become involved in gynecological practice.
See Z. Rosenwaks et al., Gynecology: Principles and Practice (1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Medicine
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-