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A hemorrhoid is a mass of swollen and inflamed tissue and blood vessels located near the anus and protruding into the anus. Hemorrhoids typically form as a result if increased pressure on the rectum and anus, which can be caused by:
being overweight or obese
standing or sitting for long periods of time
straining during bowel movements
chronic constipation or hard stools
Hemorrhoids can occur at any age, but they tend to be more common among people 50 years of age and older.
Hemorrhoids can cause different symptoms depending on their size and other factors, including:
Some hemorrhoids can bleed even without causing any pain or itching. Without treatment, hemorrhoids may prolapse or extend beyond the anus, causing mild incontinence and unintentional expulsion of gas as well as pain. Any type of rectal bleeding should always be evaluated by a doctor to determine the cause and also to determine if additional medical tests are necessary to check for serious issues that can also cause bleeding, like colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.
A thrombosed hemorrhoid is one which bleeds underneath the skin, and which break or rupture when touched, especially when wiping following a bowel movement.
Some hemorrhoids can be successfully managed with topical medications to help reduce pain and inflammation, but hemorrhoids that cause symptoms on an ongoing basis may need more aggressive treatment, including a simple procedure to block blood flow to the hemorrhoid, eventually causing the hemorrhoid to fall off. Once the hemorrhoid falls off, scar tissue forms that can help prevent recurrence of a hemorrhoid in that spot. Other techniques focus on shrinking the tissue without removing it.
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