Hemorrhoids are fleshy masses of inflamed tissue and blood vessels in or near the rectum that become inflamed and often protrude into the anus. Hemorrhoids occur when pressure builds up in the rectum and anus, often as a result of chronic constipation or straining during bowel movements, from prolonged periods of standing, or from obesity or weight gain during pregnancy. They occur most commonly in men and women who are 50 years of age and older, but they often occur in younger people as well.
Hemorrhoids can cause different symptoms, and symptoms can vary from very mild to severe. The mot common symptoms include:
pain around the anus
itching around the anus
mild rectal bleeding, especially during bowel movements
discomfort when sitting
stool leakage, especially when hemorrhoids prolapse, or extend beyond the anus
Not necessarily; while some hemorrhoids do cause rectal bleeding, bleeding can occur for other reasons as well, including hard stools, constipation and rectal or colon cancer. If you have rectal bleeding or blood in your stools, you should schedule an evaluation right away.
Some hemorrhoids can be treated with lifestyle changes like losing weight, and those that develop during pregnancy often resolve in the weeks and months after giving birth. Topical medications may help relieve symptoms in those cases. But when hemorrhoids cause symptoms like severe pain or discomfort when sitting or walking, they may need more aggressive treatment. One of the most common procedures involves placing a band around the hemorrhoids, restricting blood flow and causing the hemorrhoids to drop off. Scar tissue that forms in the area can help prevent them from recurring.
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