Hemorrhoids


Pelvis | Gastroenterology | Hemorrhoids (Disease)


Description

A person tha has hemorrhoids has swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus.

Hemorrhoids are vascular structures in the anal canal which help with stool control. They become pathological or piles when swollen or inflamed. In their physiological state, they act as a cushion composed of arterio-venous channels and connective tissue that aid the passage of stool. The symptoms of pathological hemorrhoids depend on the type present. Internal hemorrhoids usually present with painless rectal bleeding while external hemorrhoids present with pain in the area of the anus.

Although most people think hemorrhoids are abnormal, they are present in everyone. It is only when the hemorrhoidal cushions enlarge that hemorrhoids can cause problems and be considered abnormal or a disease.

If the hemorrhoid originates at the top (rectal side) of the anal canal, it is referred to as an internal hemorrhoid. If it originates at the lower end of the anal canal near the anus, it is referred to as an external hemorrhoid. Technically, the differentiation between internal and external hemorrhoids is made on the basis of whether the hemorrhoid originates above or below the dentate line (internal and external, respectively).

Causes and Risk factors

It is not known why hemorrhoids enlarge. There are several theories about the cause, including inadequate intake of fiber, chronic straining to have a bowel movement (constipation), and prolonged sitting on the toilet. None of these theories has strong experimental support. Tumors in the pelvis also cause enlargement of hemorrhoids by pressing on veins draining upwards from the anal canal. Pregnancy is a clear cause of enlarged hemorrhoids though, again, the reason is not clear.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment for hemorrhoids may include a high fiber diet, fiber supplements, stool softeners, and hydrocortisone cream, sometimes surgery. ...