What are Hemorrhoids or Piles?
Hemorrhoids, also called Piles, are swellings in the rectum or anal area. Hemorrhoids bother close to 90% of all Americans at some time in their lives. They can develop at any age, but the incidence increases after age 30. Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins that develop in the anal canal. This common condition may be uncomfortable at times, but it rarely poses a serious problem. Normally, tissue surrounding the inside of the anus, sometimes called “anal cushions,” fills with blood to help control bowel movements. Hemorrhoids develop when excessive pressure or other factors cause the veins within these cushions to swell and stretch.
What are the Different Types of Hemorrhoids?
Internal hemorrhoids (inside) occur up in the anal canal and out of sight. You will most likely not be aware of this type of hemorrhoid until they bleed or prolapse (protrude). That’s when the internal hemorrhoids will come through the anal opening when straining to move your bowels. When this happens, it is often difficult for the hemorrhoids to ease back into the rectum. This is usually quite painful. It’s important to be examined by a physician to determine if you have internal hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids are visible and appear outside of the anus. They are basically skin-covered veins that have ballooned and appear blue. Usually they appear without any symptoms. When inflamed, however, they become red and tender. When a blood clot forms inside an external hemorrhoid it is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. It often causes severe pain, swelling or burning. This thrombosed, external hemorrhoid can be felt as a firm, tender mass in the anal area, about the size of a pea. The external hemorrhoid may bleed if it ruptures.