What are Hemorrhoids

What are Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are also known as piles. They are swelling and inflammation of the veins in the anus and rectum. They are common in middle and later life, often caused by years of chronic constipation.

Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to bulge and expand, making them painful, particularly when you are sitting.

The older you are the more likely you are to suffer from hemorrhoids. This does not mean, however, that young people and children do not get them. Men are more likely to suffer from hemorrhoids than women. A woman is most likely to suffer from hemorrhoids during her pregnancy.

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids may result from chronic constipation and sitting for long periods of time. They are especially common in people who lead a sedentary life with a lack of exercise. They can also occur as a result of heavy lifting.

Types of Hemorrhoids

The hemorrhoids can occur in different parts of the anus and the rectum. Accordingly they are classified into three categories as follows:

  • Internal Hemorrhoids

These Hemorrhoids are inside the rectum hence they are often not felt .They are painless but they have a tendency to bleed. They usually don’t hurt or itch.

  • Prolapsed Hemorrhoids

The more advanced and painful form of internal hemorrhoids is called as prolapsed hemorrhoids. In this case when a person suffering from prolapsed hemorrhoids strains at stools, the bulging anorectal veins push through the anus and hang out of the body. Sometimes prolapsed hemorrhoids have a tendency to l retract back by themselves after emptying of bowels and other times the affected individual is able to push the bulging veins back into the rectum themselves.

In severe cases of prolapsed hemorrhoids the anal sphincter (ring of muscle) can strangulate veins that hang out permanently.

  • External Hemorrhoids

These are located under the skin around the anus and are generally clearly visible. They can be felt like hard lumps. They appear as small bleeds under the anal skin. They are extremely uncomfortable.

Hemorrhoids are common in pregnant women

Hemorrhoids are a common occurrence during pregnancy. During pregnancy, due to increased blood flow in the body; blood vessels in the rectal area and anus become excessively swollen. Pregnant women are more prone to be constipated due to the pressure of the growing fetus on the lower abdomen. Many pregnant women are often prescribed iron and a folate tablet to overcome iron deficiency anaemia.Constipation is a side effect of these iron tablets. Constipation leads to constant straining at stools .As a result of this pregnant woman may complain of hemorrhoids at some stage of their pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids are simply another form of varicose vein. They may be small in size or quite large, itchy or for some even painful. Some women experience bleeding from rectum along with burning or stinging pain. Other women with hemorrhoids might also experience mild varicose veins in the leg or calf.

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Top image – “Internal and external hemorrhoids” by WikipedianProlific and Mikael HäggströmFile:Hemorrhoid.png by WikipedianProlific. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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