Glossary - H

Haemorrhoids / Piles

Haemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in the anal canal and rectum. Haemorrhoids can be external (occurring outside the anal verge) or internal (occurring inside the rectum). Symptoms of haemorrhoids include swelling, pain, itching, irritation, and bright red blood. Piles or haemorrhoids are thought to be caused by excessive straining during bowel movements; often due to constipation.
Factors such as increased fluid intake, more exercise, and eating high fibre diets are thought to help prevent the development of haemorrhoids.

Hay fever

Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, is caused when the body makes allergic antibodies (immunoglobulin IgE) to harmless airborne allergens such as pollen, house dust mite or pet dander (hair/skin) that are breathed in. In people sensitised to these allergens, exposure causes the release of chemicals from cells in the nasal passages, eyes or airways. Symptoms present as a blocked or runny nose; runny, red or itchy eyes; sinus pressure or inflammation; itchy inner ear, palate or throat; tight chest or breathlessness.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein)

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) allows the transportation of fatty substances such as cholesterol and triglycerides around the bloodstream. HDL is small and dense and contains the highest ratio of protein to cholesterol. It is often referred to as the ‘good cholesterol’ as people with higher levels of this lipoprotein tend to be at lower risk of heart disease. HDL carries cholesterol away from the organs to the liver where it is mixed with bile, broken down and passed out of the body in the stool.

Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori is a bacterium that lives in the intestines of 40% of the population, of which 80-90% suffer no ill effects as a result. However, around 15% of people suffer gastric (in the stomach) or duodenal (small intestine) ulcers through its presence. Severe cases can lead to bleeding or perforation (a hole) in the intestinal lining. Early symptoms include indigestion and/or heartburn and diagnosis is achieved via blood testing.

Helpful bacteria

Helpful bacteria are defined as bacteria beneficial to health. The human body is comprised of millions of bacteria with high volumes and categories of bacteria throughout the intestinal tract. Helpful bacteria will improve the absorption of nutrients and support our immune system.


Hormones are chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body (target site). Hormones serve as messengers, controlling and coordinating activities throughout the body. They can control the function of entire organs, affecting such diverse processes as growth and development, reproduction, and sexual characteristics. Hormones also influence the way the body uses and stores energy and control the volume of fluid and the levels of salts and glucose in the blood.

Additions to our Probiotics Glossary

If you come across a term you feel should be within our Probiotics Glossary, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and we will endeavour to research and add them. Email us at: [email protected]/uk

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