Almost everybody gets hemorrhoids at one time or another during their lifetime, but it’s not something people willingly share. Why not? Mostly because it involves the rear end and it can be quite embarrassing admitting to a problem in your behind. Hemorrhoids can be painful, uncomfortable and quite annoying, but it is better to know how to recognize the symptoms so that they don’t become a severe problem should you be unlucky enough to get them.

Hemorrhoids can either be external or internal. External ones appear at the end of the anus. These types of hemorrhoids tend to bleed when the rectum is wiped or cleaned and can also be seen easily using a hand held mirror since they are on the outside of your body. Itching can be a problem with external hemorrhoids and the lump or swelling associated with them can be felt around the anus.

Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless and are on the inside of your body. They are caused by excessive pressure on the tissue surrounding the anus when trying to pass a hard stool. This pressure will cause tissues to stretch and swell and when passing hard stool, the irritated tissue is ripped, causing bleeding.

There are various degrees of severity with internal hemorrhoids. The least severe degree is when the hemorrhoid does not show outside of the anus. The most severe degree is when the hemorrhoids are constantly protruding regardless of any intent to push them back in.

Causes of hemorrhoids can be attributed to trouble with passing stool (constipation or hard stool), diarrhea that doesn’t go away, rushing to finish a bowel movement or staying on the toilet for longer than necessary, sedentary lifestyle, sitting most of the time, and even being pregnant or giving birth. People who overuse laxatives are also prone to hemorrhoids as well as those who are older and/or overweight.

Women are more likely than men to have hemorrhoids (mostly because of pregnancy) as well as Caucasians and people who are older than thirty. Babies and young children can also develop hemorrhoids, but it is not as common as with older people.

Bluish, purplish, and/or reddish in color, hemorrhoids are not a pretty sight. Luckily, they are mostly out of sight! They look similar to a small grape as they protrude from the anus. Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening but they are easier to treat if they are taken care of right from the beginning. Sometimes they may even go away by themselves. If you suspect you have a hemorrhoid, see