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Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins at the very end of the large intestine.

This common problem is almost never serious, but it can be painful. Hemorrhoids may form either internally or externally, or it is possible to have both types at the same time.

Causes

Hemorrhoids are caused by too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area, causing tissues in the lower colon to swell, stretch and bulge.

  • Straining to have bowel movements
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Obesity

Internal hemorrhoids are usually small, swollen veins, but they can be large enough to bulge out externally. If the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off by muscle pressure, they can be quite painful and may bleed during bowel movements.

External hemorrhoids are bulges which cause hard painful lumps and may also bleed during bowel movements.

Diagnosis

Your doctor can tell if you have hemorrhoids by asking you questions and doing an examination. You may not need further tests, especially if you are younger than 50 and your doctor can confirm that your bleeding is caused by hemorrhoids.