Haemorrhoids: What Are They?

Haemorrhoids: What Are They?

Haemorrhoids (or piles) are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum, similar to a varicose vein.  They may result from straining during bowel movements or from the increased pressure on these veins during pregnancy. In many cases the cause is often unknown. Haemorrhoids may be located inside the rectum (internal haemorrhoids), or they may develop under the skin around the anus (external haemorrhoids).

Haemorrhoids are incredibly common with nearly 3 out of 4 adults experiencing haemorrhoids at some stage.  

Haemorrhoid symptoms usually depend on the location. These are some symptoms that are experienced: 

  • Painless bleeding during bowel movements 
  • Itching or irritation in your anal region
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling around your anus
  • A lump near your anus

Possible causes for Haemorrhoids: 

  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Low-fiber diet

Haemorrhoids are more likely with aging because the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch.

Fortunately, many effective options are available to treat haemorrhoids. Many people can get relief from symptoms with lifestyle changes and your doctor can offer qualified advice to manage symptoms or recommend an appropriate treatment.