What Are Hemorrhoids?

Most people have heard of the pain and agony that hemorrhoids can cause but many people are still not sure of exactly what they are.   So what are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are the veins within and around the rectum that have become swollen and stretched usually due to Hemorrhoidsexcessive pressure or straining.

Hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally.

Internal hemorrhoids are located inside of the rectum whereas external hemorrhoids usually appear as small painful lumps outside of the rectum.

In most cases, external hemorrhoids tend to be more irritating and painful than internal hemorrhoids.

However, once internal hemorrhoids start to progress beyond stage one they can become very problematic and painful.

Even though not a common topic of conversation hemorrhoids are a pretty common medical condition that will afflict fifty percent or more of adults in the U.S. at some point in their lifetime.

But most cases of hemorrhoids are not severe and can be managed with simple home remedies.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

Hemorrhoid symptoms vary depending on whether they are internal or external.

Internal hemorrhoids can be present for years without showing any symptoms at all.

When internal hemorrhoids are discovered, it is usually from blood being left behind with a bowel movement or on the toilet paper after wiping.

As internal hemorrhoids progress, they do become painful and in later stages can cause leakage of stool or begin to prolapse from the anus. It is at this time that medical intervention is necessary.

For external hemorrhoids, some of the most common symptoms are small painful lumps or swelling around the anus, itching in the hemorrhoid area, pain and discomfort and blood in stool or on tissue after wiping.

Hemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain and discomfort but are usually not life threatening.

Causes Of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can be caused from many different things. Some of the more common causes of hemorrhoids include the following:


When constipated, it causes the need to strain to have a bowel movement.   This puts excessive pressure on the veins in the lower rectum and anus and can lead to hemorrhoids.

Straining to have a bowel movement due to constipation is one of the primary causes of hemorrhoids. 

Not Enough Fiber

Fiber is essential in helping to bulk up the stool and moving it through the body faster and more efficiently.

Not eating enough fiber can lead to constipation, which in turn can contribute to hemorrhoids.


Hemorrhoids are very common during pregnancy because of the excess weight and pressure that the baby is putting on the lower body.

However, most cases of hemorrhoids that occur during pregnancy go away after the birth of the baby.

Being Overweight

Any extra weight we carry on our bodies causes all organs in our body to work harder to support the load.

This extra weight also affects the arteries and veins in our lower bodies.

The more overweight we are the more likely we are to develop hemorrhoids.

Sitting For Extended Periods Of Time

When sitting for long periods of time daily, there is a lot of pressure being put on the lower body, including the anus and rectum.

This can damage the veins in that area and cause them to become irritated and swell, leading to hemorrhoids.


As we get older the veins in our bodies lose strength and elasticity, making it easier for hemorrhoids to appear.

Hemorrhoid Treatment Options

How hemorrhoids are treated depends on whether they are internal or external and how severe they are.

Most cases can be treated with simple home remedies for hemorrhoids such as warm sitz baths, over the counter creams, ointments and suppositories, witch hazel, high fiber diet, drinking plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, over the counter pain relievers such as Tylenol, and Aloe Vera.

Overall, the best treatment for hemorrhoids is prevention. To reduce your chances of getting hemorrhoids you should strive to live a healthier lifestyle, consisting of eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise and staying in a healthy weight range for your body size and type.

These are just a few of the many hemorrhoid treatment options available. If you’re hemorrhoids are not getting better with these home hemorrhoid remedies, or if you are having severe pain or bleeding you should contact your doctor immediately.

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