What is a hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. The rectum is the bottom ection of your colon (large intestine). The tissues supporting the vessels stretch. As a result, the vessels expand, the walls thin and bleeding occurs. When the stretching and pressure continue, the weakened vessels protrude. The two types of hemorrhoids, external and internal, refer to their location.



Two types of hemorrhoids

External (outside) hemorrhoids form near the anus and are covered by sensitive skin. They are usually painless unless a blood clot (thrombosis) forms.

Internal (inside) hemorrhoids form within the anus beneath the lining. Painless bleeding and protrusion during bowel movements are the most common symptoms. However, an internal hemorrhoid can cause severe pain if it is completely prolapsed. This means it has slid out of the anal opening and cannot be pushed back inside.

What causes hemorrhoids?

The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown. A lot of pressure is put on human rectal veins due to our upright posture, which can potentially cause bulging. Other contributing factors include: aging, chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy, heredity, straining during bowel movements, faulty bowel function due to overuse of laxatives or enemas, spending long periods of time on the toilet (e.g., reading).

What the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Any of the following may be a sign of hemorrhoids: bleeding during bowel movements, protrusion of skin during bowel movements, itching in the anal area, pain in the anal area, sensitive lump(s).


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