Hemorrhoids FAQs

Below are numerous questions that are frequently asked about hemorrhoids. The information has been divided into three articles - one focused on the types and symptoms of hemorrhoids with accompanying pictures; the next on the treatments of hemorrhoids; and the third on a variety of topics associated with hemorrhoids.

What is a hemorrhoid (hemorrhoids)?

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are painful, itching masses comprised of a network of engorged blood vessels that cause anal tissue to swell. The hemorrhoids may come out of the anus due to constipation or straining. hemorrhoids are described by their “grade,” which can range from one to four with four being the most severe.

What are the types of hemorrhoids?

There are two types of hemorrhoids - internal and external. An internal hemorrhoid is located beneath the lining of the anus and may stretch until it protrudes outside of the anus, especially during a bowel movement. This type of internal hemorrhoid is known as a prolapsed hemorrhoid. It can either return back into the rectum on its own or be gently pushed back into place. Internal hemorrhoids do not usually cause pain. However, there is a tendency for them to bleed.

External hemorrhoids involve the veins that are located near the anus under the skin. They feel like hard lumps and are very sensitive to the touch. The hard lumps are a sign of blood clots. Bleeding only occurs when they crack or rupture. Itchiness and pain are also associated with external hemorrhoids.

What are hemorrhoids symptoms?

Although many people have them, not everyone experiences hemorrhoids symptoms. Both external and internal hemorrhoids exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Aching during or after a bowel movement.
  • Itchiness around the anus or rectum.
  • Rectal bleeding during bowel movements.
  • Sensitive lumps around the anus.
  • Pain.
  • Obesity
  • Protrusion of a tissue mass during a bowel movement.
  • Distended veins that cause anal tissue to swell.
  • The sensation that you have not fully completed a bowel movement.

Some painful hemorrhoids symptoms can determine one type of hemorrhoid over another. The most common internal hemorrhoids symptom is rectal bleeding during a bowel movement. Bright red blood may appear on the toilet paper you have wiped with or it may show up in the toilet bowel.

External hemorrhoids are known for painful swelling or hard lumps around the anus, resulting from blood clot formation. You may also feel like straining, rubbing or cleaning around your anus, but this only leads to further irritation, creating a vicious circle of discomfort that includes itching and bleeding. Draining mucus from the anal cavity may also add to the itchiness.

Why does hemorrhoidal tissue prolapse?

Known as prolapse, the hemorrhoidal tissue may come out of the anus because of prolonged straining due to constipation. Pregnancy is also a common cause because the baby and growth of the uterus puts pressure on that area. With age comes the fact that muscles begin to lose their elasticity and start to sag, thereby no longer being able to hold the tissue in place. Therefore, the lack of support leads to the prolapse of the hemorrhoid.

What causes hemorrhoids symptoms?

There are a number of causes related to the development of hemorrhoids symptoms. These include:

  • Age.
  • Chronic constipation caused by a poor diet consisting of fried, fatty oods in combination with too little hydrating liquids and fiber intake.
  • Chronic diarrhea.
  • Pregnancy-related pressure from the fetus and expanded uterus.
  • Poor toilet habits, including sitting on the toilet for extended periods.
  • Frequent straining during a bowel movement.
  • Overuse of laxatives.
  • Prolonged standing or sitting as well as heavy lifting.
  • Lack of exercise.
  • Other diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

How does a doctor diagnose hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids)?

A doctor must look at the areas where hemorrhoids occur. This includes examining your anus and rectum to spot any swollen blood vessels. A doctor may also perform a rectal exam by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger. While somewhat embarrassing and painful if hemorrhoids are present, you will be asked to remove your clothes from the waist down and lie on one side while the doctor probes these areas. However, it is necessary in order for the doctor to properly diagnose your condition.

Sometimes, an even closer look is required. In this case, a doctor will use an anoscope, which is a hollow, lighted tube that can provide greater detail of any internal hemorrhoids that are present. A proctoscope may be used to examine the entire rectum area. If a doctor wants to narrow the diagnosis to just hemorrhoids, either a sigmoidoscopy may be done to look at both the rectum and the lower colon or a colonoscopy to see the entire colon. Both of these procedures use a device similar to an anoscope which is inserted through the rectum.

Continue reading to get answers to commonly asked questions about hemorrhoids. More FAQ on Hemorroids Treatment with Photos.

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