Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus or lower rectum. They are either inside the anus or under the skin around the anus. They often result from straining to have a bowel movement. Other factors include pregnancy, aging, and chronic constipation or diarrhea.
Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. About half of all people have hemorrhoids by age 50. The most common symptom of hemorrhoids inside the anus is bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. Symptoms usually go away within a few days.
If you have rectal bleeding you should see a doctor. You need to make sure bleeding is not from a more serious condition such as colorectal or anal cancer. Treatment may include warm baths and a cream or other medicine. If you have large hemorrhoids, you may need surgery and other treatments.
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins of the rectum or anus become inflamed because of too much straining in the area. Depending on where your hemorrhoids are located, they are considered “internal” or “external.” External hemorrhoids are usually found beneath the skin that surrounds the anus.
Recognizing the Symptoms of External Hemorrhoids
There are a range of symptoms that can affect a person with hemorrhoids. Symptoms tend to vary depending on the severity of your hemorrhoids. Some of the symptoms that you may have include the following:
• Itching around the anus or rectal area
• Pain around the anus
• Lumps near or around the anus
• Blood in the stool
You may notice bleeding when using the bathroom, such as seeing blood on toilet paper or in the toilet. Lumps around the anus may feel as if they are swollen. These symptoms may also occur because of other conditions. If you think that you may have hemorrhoids, you should schedule an exam with your doctor.
What Are the Causes of External Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids may be caused by a few different factors. The most common cause of hemorrhoids is repeated straining while having a bowel movement. Straining gets in the way of blood flow into and out of the area, which results in pooling of blood and enlargement of the vessels in that area.
For the same reason, a severe case of constipation or diarrhea can also cause hemorrhoids. Additionally, pregnant women may be at increased risk of hemorrhoids because of the pressure that the uterus places on these veins.