The enlargement of the veins in the anus or rectal region-varicose veins-causes the disorder known as hemorrhoids, more commonly known as piles.
The veins comprise the main channels of the venous system, these blood vessels are the conduits responsible for the return deoxygenated blood towards the heart, in some cases and in old age laws of gravity can induce a slowing down of this transportation process along the lower half of the body.
This situation leads to a state where a lot of the blood pools in the veins, the accumulated blood now begins stretching and weakening the veins due to the pressure.
The most vulnerable veins are the ones that lie in the rectum and the anal region of the individual. Unlike the other veins in the body, these veins do not possess the valves that act in the prevention of the backward flow of blood and they also lie in the lower part of the body-these two factors contribute to the chances of varicosity developing in these vessels.
On the other hand, varicose veins as a condition, affect the legs the most. Here, the faulty functioning and weakened valves in the legs contribute to the development of varicose veins.
Piles or hemorrhoids can be classified into two distinct types or conditions. Internal piles are those that develop in the inner area of the rectum-they lie inside the body, since there are no nervous pain sensors in this region, these piles do not cause a great deal of discomfort.
However, they can sometimes bring about bleeding during and following the movement of the bowels movement-besides the bleeding, there are almost no symptoms. The piles that occur around the anal opening are known as external hemorrhoids. These external piles are very fragile and can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain to the patient as they bleed very easily especially following the movement of the bowels. This is very evident especially when the area is wiped using toilet tissue papers.
The primary cause of bleeding during hemorrhoids is excessive straining during bowel movement, the veins in the anus and the rectum are under pressure when the person strains excessively and this results ruptures along the vein.
The final result is mild to excessive bleeding from the vein. The veins in the region are also weakened if the person is overweight and pregnant women also tend to have weakened veins, because of the excess weight they carry in the form of the baby and the fattening they undergo during the pregnancy.
The direct causation of hemorrhoids attributed by some to the development of constipation is still a disputed point among experts, at the same time it is general experience that constipated individuals often strain excessively in order to defecate-the presence of this problem, at the very least seems to make hemorrhoids worse or more uncomfortable to undergo.
The likelihood of hemorrhoids is also increased by frequent bouts of diarrhea-this fact has been suggested by studies done on individuals with piles who were also affected by diarrhea at the same time.
The development of hemorrhoids can also be attributed to some lifestyles, for example, long periods spent standing or in a seated position may possibly lead to the eventual development of hemorrhoids in the individual.
Hemorrhoids are much more common in older individuals, this is not surprising as most of the muscles which aid in the propulsion of blood through the venous system lose their tone as a person ages.
Hereditary factors also play a role in the development of hemorrhoids as the disorder is known to run in families and the likelihood of an individual developing the problem increases if his or her parents were affected by the condition.
Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids usually depend on the type of hemorrhoid.
These are under the skin around your anus. Signs and symptoms might include:
- Itching or irritation in your anal region
- Pain or discomfort
- Swelling around your anus
Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum. You usually can’t see or feel them, and they rarely cause discomfort. But straining or irritation when passing stool can cause:
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements. You might notice small amounts of bright red blood on your toilet tissue or in the toilet.
- A hemorrhoid to push through the anal opening (prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoid), resulting in pain and irritation.
If blood pools in an external hemorrhoid and forms a clot (thrombus), it can result in:
- Severe pain
- A hard lump near your anus
Causes Of Hemorrhoids
The veins around your anus tend to stretch under pressure and may bulge or swell. Hemorrhoids can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum due to:
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
- Having chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Being obese
- Being pregnant
- Having anal intercourse
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- Regular heavy lifting
Complications Of Hemorrhoids
Complications of hemorrhoids are rare but include:
- Rarely, chronic blood loss from hemorrhoids may cause anemia, in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your cells.
- Strangulated hemorrhoid. If the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is cut off, the hemorrhoid may be “strangulated,” which can cause extreme pain.
- Blood clot. Occasionally, a clot can form in a hemorrhoid (thrombosed hemorrhoid). Although not dangerous, it can be extremely painful and sometimes needs to be lanced and drained.
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