What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, a condition familiar yet often shrouded in reluctance for discussion, present themselves as swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. Similar to varicose veins, they can manifest either internally, within the rectum, or externally, under the skin around the anus. This condition, while not life-threatening, can cause a significant amount of discomfort and pain to those afflicted.

Understanding the Basics

To grasp the essence of hemorrhoids, envision the vascular structures in the anal canal designed to help with stool control. When inflamed, these vascular cushions lead to hemorrhoidal disease, colloquially known as hemorrhoids. They are categorised into two types: internal hemorrhoids, which reside within the rectum, and external hemorrhoids, which develop under the skin around the anus. The distinction between these types is crucial, as it influences the symptoms experienced and the treatment approaches.

Symptoms and Signs

The manifestation of hemorrhoids varies depending on the type. Internal hemorrhoids might remain entirely unnoticed until they cause bleeding during bowel movements, manifesting as painless, bright red blood. Conversely, external hemorrhoids can be more immediately perceptible due to discomfort, itching, and possible pain around the anus, especially during sitting or defecation. In some instances, external hemorrhoids can develop a clot (thrombosis), leading to severe pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Causes and Risk Factors

The genesis of hemorrhoids is typically linked to increased pressure in the lower rectum. Factors contributing to this pressure include straining during bowel movements, prolonged sitting on the toilet, chronic constipation or diarrhoea, obesity, pregnancy, and engaging in anal intercourse. Additionally, the risk of hemorrhoids increases with age, as the tissues that support the veins in the rectum and anus can weaken and stretch.

Preventive Measures and Treatment

Preventing hemorrhoids largely revolves around avoiding constipation and straining. This can be achieved through a diet rich in fibre, adequate hydration, and regular exercise, which collectively promote soft stools and easy defecation. Should hemorrhoids develop, treatments range from home remedies, such as warm baths and over-the-counter creams, to medical procedures for more severe cases. These procedures can include rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, and in some instances, surgical removal.


Hemorrhoids, while uncomfortable and at times painful, are generally manageable with the right approach to lifestyle and treatment options. Understanding this condition is the first step towards effectively dealing with it and mitigating its impact on one’s quality of life. If you suspect you have hemorrhoids, consulting a healthcare professional is paramount to getting the appropriate care and treatment.

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