Hemorrhoids: What they are and their causes

In laymen’s terms, hemorrhoids are enlarged blood vessels in the anus and lower rectum. The rectum is the last portion of the large intestine before it ends. The anus is the portion where the stools or feces exits out of our body.
A common term for hemorrhoids is piles; they are classified as internal and external hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids are ones that are present inside the rectum and cannot be felt unless they become really enlarged. External hemorrhoids are present in the region around the anus. They may cause itching and pain when they swell or even bleeding while passing stools.

The term hemorrhoids is commonly misconstrued as a disease. These are actually blood vessels we all have; they play a crucial role in controlling the bowel movements. The movement of food is controlled from the mouth through the digestive system. It is considered a disease only when there is excessive swelling or bleeding of the anal blood vessels. Hemorrhoids affect men and women equally, in the age group of 45 to 65 years.

What is the cause of this medical condition?
The reason behind this condition is a low fiber diet. A low-fiber diet and processed foods increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids. A low-fiber diet causes constipation, and this, in turn, increases chances of developing hemorrhoids. Also, low fiber foods cause hardening of stools. This irritates the swollen veins while passing stools, causing them to bleed.

Let’s take a look at common causes of hemorrhoids.

Obesity
Overweight and obesity increases blood pressure to anus region due to increase in body weight. Thus it develops swollen veins due to the high blood pressure.

Spending a long time on the toilet
This increases chances of irritation and swelling in the anal region leading to hemorrhoids.

Chronic diarrhea or constipation
Both diarrhea and constipation increase irritation in the anal region. This causes swelling of the anal blood vessels.

Anal intercourse
The skin around the anus is very sensitive and will get ruptured during anal intercourse. This will cause the anal blood vessels to swell leading to hemorrhoids.

Pregnancy
Constipation is a major problem during pregnancy that can lead to hemorrhoids. Also, the increase in body weight during pregnancy causes an increase in blood flow and pressure in the anal region.

Physical exertion

Holding the breath while straining to do physical labor like lifting something heavy, standing or sitting long hours and pushing during passing stools can lead to hemorrhoids. This is due to the increase in blood pressure in the anal region.

Genetic causes
Many people develop hemorrhoids if their parents had the problem.

Spinal cord injuries
This will cause a lack of erect posture which might lead to hemorrhoids.

Colon cancer
This condition can occur due to the onset of hemorrhoids.

Previous rectal surgery
Improper care and diet after the surgery, it may lead to this condition.