What Are Hemorrhoids?
Caused by swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, hemorrhoids can be extremely painful and disruptive to everyday life. Although rarely dangerous, this condition can cause the following:
- Severe itching
Not every patient with hemorrhoids, however, seeks treatment, choosing to keep this condition private. What most patients don’t realize is that hemorrhoids are extremely common. Indeed, by the age of 50, roughly half of the population will have experienced the symptoms associated with this condition.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of your rectum and anus. They occur when the blood vessel walls stretch and thin and allow the veins to bulge and become irritated. Internal hemorrhoids usually cannot be seen, as they are far inside the rectum. The only way a person knows they have them is from bleeding. External hemorrhoids are under the skin around the anus. Due to the many nerves in this area, external hemorrhoids usually hurt.
There is a genetic predisposition toward getting hemorrhoids. Basically, hemorrhoids develop when there is a buildup of pressure in the lower rectum that affects blood flow, making the veins in the area swell. There are various reasons this happens:
- Pushing during bowel movements
- Straining such as during heavy lifting
- Standing or sitting for long stretches
- Lasting constipation or diarrhea
What are The Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
You will not always know if you have hemorrhoids. Below are some common symptoms that you should notify your doctor of:
- Discomfort, itching or, pain around the anus.
- Blood in the toilet bowl or, on toilet paper when having a bowel movement.
- Moist pink (possibly purple or blue) bumps around the edge of your anus.