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Glossary of terms: H  
 
Haemoglobin A colouring substance in the red blood cells; measurement of the concentration of haemoglobin in the blood is a test of the presence of anaemia.  
Haematoma a swelling where blood has collected underneath the skin.  
Haematuria
(US hematuria)
The presence of red blood cells in the urine. In microscopic haematuria, the urine appears normal to the naked eye but examination under a microscope shows a high number of red blood cells. Gross haematuria can be seen with the naked eye: the urine is pink or red.  
Haemorrhagic cystitis Inflammation of the bladder (cystitis) associated with severe bleeding.  
Haemorrhoids Commonly known as piles, these are abnormally distended or dilated veins in the rectum or anus and may protrude at the anus. Can cause pain and/or itching and sometimes minor bleeding.  
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Chronic autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid gland with lymphocytic infiltration, causing hypothyroidism.  
Helmstein Helmstein’s balloon dilatation is a technique whereby a special balloon is placed within the bladder lumen and inflated with air to mid-systolic pressure for a certain length of time. The aim is to achieve relief of IC symptoms and an increase in bladder capacity.  
Hematuria See haematuria  
Heparin A drug commonly used as an anti-coagulant (a blood thinner to stop the blood from clotting). It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the cell layers on the surface of the bladder and is believed to temporarily repair or resurface the so-called GAG layer. Can be used to treat IC as a bladder instillation, either alone or in cocktails, but can take 2-3 months before showing any effect.  
Hepatic Concerning the liver.  
Hesitancy Difficulty in starting urination or maintaining the flow of urination.  
Heterogeneous Consisting of many different elements or types. Often used to describe IC in the sense that IC has many variables.  
Histamine A substance involved in many allergic reactions. When released from mast cells, histamine dilates blood vessels and increases the permeability of blood vessel walls. This in turn causes the typical symptoms of allergy. The effects can be counteracted by antihistamine drugs.  
<Histology The study of body tissues and cells.  When a biopsy sample is 'sent for histology' it is examined under a microscope to see what type of body tissue or cell it is.   
HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a retrovirus which can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which the immune system begins to fail. Infection with HIV can be transferred through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate or breast milk.  
Holistic Holistic in the field of healthcare, it is an approach to treatment that involves looking at the whole body, both physical and mental, rather than treating just one organ.  
Holmium laser A treatment using laser energy to seal bleeding patches, cracks or lesions (Hunner’s ulcers) in the bladder. It has a temporary effect, but can be repeated.  
Hormones Chemicals occurring naturally in the body that travel through the bloodstream, carrying messages from one cell (or cells) to another  
HRQL Health related quality of life  
Hunner’s ulcer Named after Guy Hunner, a Boston surgeon (1868-1957). The term ‘ulcer’ is not in fact accurate since it is not a genuine ulcer, but a vulnus. Also described as a lesion or patch.  
Hyaluronan Hyaluronan, also known as sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid, is one of the naturally occurring substances in the glycosaminoglycan or GAG layer of the bladder wall and all connective tissues. Its use is based on the concept that a defective GAG layer may be the cause of PBS/IC. Like heparin and PPS, it is believed to temporarily repair the damaged GAG layer and thereby reduce the pain, urgency and frequency of PBS/IC.  Hyaluronan is reported to be well tolerated. European studies have shown positive results with a reduction in pain and some reduction in frequency. This treatment is also used for other painful bladder conditions including cystitis caused by infections, trauma, urolithiasis, urinary retention, neoplasia and radiation induced cystitis.  
Hydrocortisone A synthetic form of cortisol, one of the main steroid hormones produced and released by the adrenal cortex  
Hydrodistension Also called bladder distension. This procedure should be performed under anaesthesia and consists of distending or stretching the bladder by filling with fluid during cystoscopy. This procedure can be used for three purposes: 1) for diagnostic evaluation, 2) as a treatment to increase bladder volume and thereby temporarily relieve the symptoms of IC in some patients and 3) to measure the patient’s bladder capacity under anaesthesia. Symptoms may temporarily worsen for a few days after hydrodistension, but then settle down again and may improve in some patients. Following hydrodistension, it may be possible to see glomerulations/pinpoint haemorrhages and/or Hunner’s ulcers in some patients.  
Hydroxychloroquine  The generic name for the drug Plaquenil®  
Hydroxyzine An antihistamine used for treating allergic disorders which is also used to treat some IC patients, particularly those suffering from allergies. It affects mast cell degranulation.  
Hymen A membrane that partly covers the opening to the vagina. It is torn when a woman has sexual intercourse for the first time and loses her virginity.  
Hyperalgesia An increased response to a stimulus which is normally painful (IASP definition).  
Hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) The patient is placed in a pressurized treatment chamber and breathes 100% oxygen. This is a treatment that has already been successfully used for patients with radiation cystitis. However, it is considered expensive and its effectiveness in IC has not been adequately proven.  
Hyperesthesia Increased sensitivity to stimulation, excluding the special senses (IASP definition).  
Hypergammaglobulinemia An excessive concentration of immunoglobulins (antibodies) in the blood.  
Hyperkalemia The presence in the blood of an abnormally high concentration of potassium, usually due to failure of the kidneys to excrete.  
Hypersensitive bladder syndrome A term recently put forward by the Japanese IC doctors as an alternative to painful bladder syndrome and as a counter concept to overactive bladder syndrome.  
Hyperthyroidism Overactivity of the thyroid gland.  
Hypertension High blood pressure. A disease of the circulatory system characterized by elevated arterial blood pressure.  
Hyperventilation Overbreathing. Breathing faster and deeper than necessary, thereby lowering the level of carbon dioxide in the blood to below normal and increasing the pH level in the body. Stress or anxiety are common causes of hyperventilation. However, hyperventilation is also the body’s way of coping if the blood becomes too acidic.  
Hypoalgesia Diminished pain in response to a normally painful stimulus (IASP definition).  
Hypokalemia The presence of abnormally low levels of potassium in the blood.  
Hypotension Abnormally low blood pressure.  
Hypothalamus A region of the limbic system of the brain controlling many different functions including body temperature, thirst, hunger, eating, water balance and sexual function. It plays a role in controlling emotions, emotional responses, mood, pain and pleasure sensations. The thalamus forwards the pain signals to the cerebral cortex and the limbic system.  
Hypothyroidism Thyroid hormone deficiency or underactivity.  
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis An inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland.  
Hysterectomy

Surgical removal of the uterus (womb).

 
       
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