Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are enlarged and swollen blood vessels located in the lower part of the rectum and the anus. The blood vessels become swollen due to increased pressure within them.
Approximately 50% to 66% of people have problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
The exact cause of symptomatic hemorrhoids is unknown. A number of factors are believed to play a role, including irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), lack of exercise, nutritional factors (low-fiber diets), increased intra-abdominal pressure (prolonged straining, ascites, an intra-abdominal mass, or pregnancy), genetics, an absence of valves within the hemorrhoidal veins, and aging. Other factors believed to increase risk include obesity, prolonged sitting, a chronic cough, and pelvic floor dysfunction.
The signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type present.
- Internal hemorrhoids often result in painless, bright red rectal bleeding when defecating.
- External hemorrhoids often result in pain and swelling in the area of the anus. If bleeding occurs it is usually darker.
Hemorrhoids are typically diagnosed by physical examination.A visual examination of the anus and surrounding area may diagnose external or prolapsed hemorrhoids. A rectal exam may be performed to detect possible rectal tumors, polyps, an enlarged prostate, or abscesses. This examination may not be possible without appropriate sedation because of pain, although most internal hemorrhoids are not associated with pain. Visual confirmation of internal hemorrhoids may require anoscopy, insertion of a hollow tube device with a light attached at one end. The two types of hemorrhoids are external and internal. These are differentiated by their position with respect to the dentate line. Some persons may concurrently have symptomatic versions of both. If pain is present, the condition is more likely to be an anal fissure or an external hemorrhoid rather than an internal hemorrhoid.
A number of preventative measures are recommended, including avoiding straining while attempting to defecate, avoiding constipation and diarrhea either by eating a high-fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluid or by taking fiber supplements, and getting sufficient exercise. Spending less time attempting to defecate, avoiding reading while on the toilet, and losing weight for overweight persons and avoiding heavy lifting are also recommended.
When to seek medical care for hemorrhoids?
- Bleeding from the rectum or anus is never normal and although hemorrhoids are the most common reason to have blood in the stool, it should be discussed with your primary health-care professional.
- Hemorrhoids do not cause abdominal pain; should this pain be present with bleeding, medical care should be sought immediately.
How do you get rid of hemorrhoids?
There are several natural home remedies, for example warm Sitz baths, dietary changes, stool softeners, and exercise, to treat hemorrhoids. For the most effective treatment on the market today use Hemocyl.