A hemorrhoid, in its strictest, anatomical definition, refers to the sections of tissue around the rectum and the anus.
However, a hemorrhoid, in colloquial usage, refers to venous abnormalities of that tissue. Inflamed, swollen veins around the anal area and inside the rectum are commonly called hemorrhoids, emerods and piles.
There Are Two Types Of Hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids: external and internal. External hemorrhoids are inflammations of the veins that drain from the inferior rectal arteries. They occur outside of the rectum, on the anus.
Frequently patients experience itching and pain.
A major risk of external hemorrhoids is thrombosis—formation of a blood clot inside the blood vessel. The external inflamed veins are prone to irritation and consequently tissue damage.
The blood vessel could burst. Thrombosis occurs because of such damage to the blood vessel. The inflamed vein become a darkened, hard lump.
Internal hemorrhoids are completely hidden inside the rectum. They are inflamed veins that drain from the superior rectal arteries. They can only be seen through sigmoidoscopy—a camera is inserted into the rectum. Since much of the rectal tissue lack nerve endings, generally internal hemorrhoids do not cause the patient to feel pain.
Consequently, the patient may not even be aware of the hemorrhoids’ existence!
Internal hemorrhoids may often be discovered because of rectal bleeding. As feces passes through the rectum, it irritates the internal hemorrhoids, causing them to burst and bleed. The blood is usually seen as a bright red, slick layer covering the feces, or a scarlet stain on toilet paper.
It is extremely important that you see your doctor if such bleeding occurs. Follow this link to cure your hemorrhoids in 24 hours.
A possible consequence of internal hemorrhoids is hemorrhoid prolapse. This is when the excessively veined tissue inside the rectum slips outside of the orifice. Four degrees of prolapsed are recognized: no prolapse whatsoever, prolapse upon excretion but the tissue slips back inside, prolapse upon excretion but the tissue must be pushed back inside, and permanent prolapse, in which the tissue cannot be forced back inside.
Patients with internal hemorrhoids may also experience strangulated hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoid prolapses. However, instead of returning inside the body, the prolapsed tissue is trapped outside by the anal sphincter. As the sphincter is tightly clenched, blood flow ceases to the hemorrhoid.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Any activity or lifestyle that places stress on the inferior and superior rectal arteries may lead to hemorrhoid formation. For instance, lack of dietary fiber results in hard stools, that damage the rectal walls, resulting in hemorrhoids. Sitting or standing for extended periods of time also places stress on the arteries.
Other causes of hemorrhoids include diarrhea, obesity, poor musculature, pregnancy, and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Some physicians believe that the use of a sitting toilet contributes to hemorrhoid formation. Hemorrhoid rates in undeveloped or developing countries, in which people use squatting toilets, are much lower than that of the Western world.
In 1987, Dr. Berko Sikirov conducted a study with 20 hemorrhoid prone patients. After switching to squatting toilets, 18 of the patients found their hemorrhoids gone. Thus, patients prone to hemorrhoids should consider switching to squatting toilets.
Hemorrhoids affect nearly 40 percent of the population at some stage during their adult life.