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What Are Hemorrhoids?

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen, inflamed veins in the anal canal. They develop as a result of excessive pressure in the anal or pelvic area. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the anal canal. An external hemorrhoid is a swollen vein located under the skin outside of the anal canal, around the anus.It is common to have both types at the same time.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Extended straining during bowel movement is the most common cause of hemorrhoids. Excess blood pressure in the veins caused by extended pushing makes them stretch and swell. Long-term diarrhea or constipation often leads to prolonged straining, which encourages hemorrhoid development. Hemorrhoid problems can also develop as a result of pressure in the pelvis during pregnancy and childbirth. Being overweight, aging, a sedentary lifestyle, prolonged standing , and participating in anal intercourse are also factors that contribute to a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are itching, bleeding and pain around the anus and rectal area. Threads of blood and/or mucus on the toilet paper after wiping may suggest internal hemorrhoids. Some internal hemorrhoids will remain
inside the anal canal, not visible, but others will tend to protrude out of the anal opening. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may become pinched by the anal muscles, and can be quite painful. External hemorrhoids can bleed and become swollen. They may also clot, becoming thrombosed. Thromobsed hemorrhoids become painful,
solid lumps that can be felt on the outside of the anus.

Alternatives for Hemorrhoid Treatment

Hemorrhoids are one of the more common medical problems, and may or may not require treatment.Hemorrhoids due to pregnancy usually resolve without treatment after birth.Hemorrhoid symptoms can be diminished with special hemorrhoid creams or suppositories and warm baths.

Preventive steps should be taken even if hemorrhoids do resolve without treatment. A diet high in fiber and 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day can help reduce hemorrhoids due to constipation. If diet changes are not enough, a stool softening fiber supplement like psyllium or methylcellulose can be taken. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight and exercising can also help reduce hemorrhoid occurrences.

There are several medical treatments available for more serious cases of hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation is a technique whereby the hemorrhoid is tied off so that blood can no longer feed it, causing it to collapse and wither. During sclerotherapy, doctors inject a special chemical into the swollen vein that causes it to collapse. Infrared coagulation. Hemorrhoid veins are clotted using infrared light, which effectively cuts of their blood supply and kills them.

Laser coagulation. An electric current is applied to the hemorrhoid with a probe, which sets off a chemical reaction that clots and shrinks the affected veins. Hemorrhoidectomy surgery involves the surgical removal of severe hemorrhoids. Cases of prolapsed or thrombosed hemorrhoids may require a hemorrhoidectomy.