Hemorrhoids also called piles, are swollen and inflamed veins in your anus and lower rectum. Veins can swell inside the anal canal to form internal hemorrhoids. Or they can swell near the opening of the anus to form external hemorrhoids. You can have both types at the same time. The symptoms and treatment are based on which type you have.
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What can cause hemorrhoids?
- The veins around your anus tend to stretch under pressure and may bulge or swell.
- Diarrhea or constipation also may lead to straining and can increase pressure on veins in the anal canal.
- Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids.
- Normally, tissue inside the anus fills with blood to help control bowel movements. If you strain to move stool, the increased pressure causes the veins in this tissue to swell and stretch. This can cause hemorrhoids.
- Pregnant women can get hemorrhoids during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This is because of increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area. Straining to push the baby out during labor can make hemorrhoids worse.
- Being overweight can also trigger hemorrhoids.
Common symptoms of hermorrhoids
The most common symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids consist of:
- Bleeding during bowel movements. You might see streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper after you strain to have a bowel movement.
- Rectal pain. It may be painful to clean the anal area.
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
Your doctor will discuss if you have hemorrhoids by asking about your history health and doing a physical exam.
You may not require many tests at first, especially if you are younger than 50 and your doctor thinks that your rectal bleeding is triggered by hemorrhoids. Your doctor may just check your rectum with a gloved finger. Or your doctor may use a short, lighted scope to look inside the rectum.