Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins in the anus or lower rectum. They often go unnoticed and usually clear up after a few days, but can cause long-lasting discomfort, bleeding and be excruciatingly painful. Effective medical treatments are available, however.

Hemorrhoids involve the blood vessels that line the anus. Pressure on the walls of the rectum weakens the muscles that support the hemorrhoidal vessels. They then become enlarged and lose their support and result in a sac-like protrusion inside the rectal canal (called internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (called external hemorrhoids)

Hemorrhoids can occur in people of any age and sex. Occurrence of Hemorrhoids is related to a number of factors. Some of the main factors responsible for the onset of hemorrhoids include poor bowel movement habits, eating habits, abdominal disorders, workplace atmosphere (physical exertion like lifting heavy items, continuous sitting, workplace temperature) etc.

There are two types of Hemorrhoids based on their location:

External Hemorrhoids:

External hemorrhoids develop near the anal opening which is covered by sensitive skin. A patient suffering from external hemorrhoids experiences a hard, sensitive lump that bleeds on rupture.

Internal Hemorrhoids:

Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the anus or lower rectum, beneath the anal or rectal lining. Rectal bleeding is the most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids. You may notice bright red streaks of blood on toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after having a normal bowel movement. When hemorrhoids remain inside the anus they are almost never painful, but they can prolapse (protrude outside the anus) and become irritated and sore.

Symptoms

Although many people have hemorrhoids, not all experience symptoms. The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl. However, an internal hemorrhoid may protrude through the anus outside the body, becoming irritated and painful. This is known as a protruding hemorrhoid.

External hemorrhoids can cause painful symptoms. An acute thrombosis of the subcutaneous hemorrhoidal vein can occur. Acute thrombosis is usually the result of a specific event (e.g., rigorous physical activity, straining with constipation, diarrhea, or reduced fiber in the diet). Pain results when the clot and surrounding edema cause rapid swelling of skin containing a high concentration of nerve endings. This pain can last for one to two weeks, depending on the length of time it takes for the resolution of the thrombosis. At that time, the stretched anoderm remains as excess skin (often referred to as “skin tags”). External thromboses can sometimes erode the outer layer of skin, which can cause bleeding.