Hemorrhoids, no one likes to talk about them and yet they are a common problem. Hemorrhoids, my grandmother referred to them as piles, are swollen veins and tissue in the lower rectum and anus. The anus is at the end of the rectum and is the opening through which bowel movements pass from your body. Hemorrhoids may be around the anus or inside the rectum. Hemorrhoids around the anus can be seen or felt easily around the anal opening. When the swollen veins are scratched or broken by straining, rubbing, or wiping, they sometimes bleed. Hemorrhoids in the rectum are often painless but they sometimes cause a lot of bleeding and may fall through the anus to the outside of the body. Irritated hemorrhoids inside the rectum and outside the anus can be painful and cause bleeding.
Veins in the rectum and around the anus tend to swell under pressure. Hemorrhoids can result from too much pressure on these veins. You may put pressure on these veins by:
· Straining to have a bowel movement
· Sitting for a long time on the toilet
· Anal intercourse
· Some liver diseases
*Pregnant women should try to avoid becoming constipated because they are more likely to have hemorrhoids during pregnancy. In the last trimester of pregnancy, the enlarged uterus may press on blood vessels and cause hemorrhoids. In addition, the strain of childbirth sometimes causes hemorrhoids after the birth.
· mild burning
· bleeding around the anus
· swelling and tenderness around the anus
· pain with bowel movements
· painful lumps around the anus
· High-fiber diet
· Stool Softners (psyllium, Metamucil or Citrucel, mineral oil, Dulcolax, Colace)
· Fluids – Drink plenty of water.
· Sitz baths and cold packs
If you think you may have hemorrhoids, see your health care provider. Severe hemorrhoids may require procedures and surgeries. Always tell your healthcare provider when you have rectal bleeding. Serious illnesses, such as colon cancer, can also cause rectal bleeding.