What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are a very common type of ailment that affects an area around the anus and the rectum. It is estimated that by the time people hit the age of 50, half of them would have had to deal with the discomfort of itching and bleeding of the anus or rectum that signal the presence hemorrhoids. Apparently, most people who suffer from hemorrhoids do so in silence for long periods of time before seeking medical assistance.
Hemorrhoids show up as enlarged and bulging veins in the anus and lower rectum. They are commonly called ‘piles’, and invariably described as ‘varicose veins of the anus and rectum’.
There are two types of Hemorrhoids:
Internal (inside) Hemorrhoids develop under the lining of the anus, inside the rectum. These result in painless bleeding and bulging of the anus during bowel movement. However, internal hemorrhoids can result in severe pain if left unattended to for long periods of time, and the bulge cannot be pushed back in.
External (Outside) Hemorrhoids develop under the skin around the anus. They are covered by sensitive skin and are usually painless. If, however, a blood clot forms around an external hemorrhoid, it can develop into a hard painful lump. If left unattended to for a long time, it can rapture and bleed.
Causes and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
The exact cause of hemorrhoids has never been scientifically established. However, amongst other causes, it is assumed that hemorrhoids may be the result of straining of the anus veins during bowel movements, or from increased pressure of these veins during pregnancy. Other factors that contribute to hemorrhoids are:
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Problems with bowel movements as a result of overuse of laxatives
- Hereditary causes
- Anal intercourse
- Low fiber diet
Whatever the causes, the veins around the anus tend to stretch under pressure and as a result, they may bulge or swell.
Some of the symptoms of hemorrhoids are as follows:
- Discomfort as a result of itching or irritation in the anal area
- Bleeding, usually painless, during bowel movements. Small amounts of bright red blood on the stools or on the toilet tissue
- Swelling around the area of the anus
- A lump, which may be sensitive of painful around the area of the anus
- Leakage of feces
- Protrusion of the anal skin during bowel movements
The symptoms of hemorrhoid usually depend on the location. Internal hemorrhoids develop in inside the rectum cannot usually be felt or seen by the sufferer, and do not usually cause discomfort. Straining when passing stools can result in damage of the delicate area around the hemorrhoids and cause it to bleed. At times, straining during bowel movement can push an internal hemorrhoid through the anal opening and result in a bulge. This is referred to as a protruding can cause pain and irritation.
External hemorrhoids form under the skin in area around the anus. External hemorrhoids can itch or bleed when they are irritated. When left unattended for a long time, blood may gather in an area around an external hemorrhoid and form a clot. The clot will result in swelling and inflammation and cause severe discomfort and pain.