Hemorrhoids, also called piles, happen when clusters of veins in your rectum or anus get swollen (or dilated). When these veins swell, blood pools and cause the veins to expand outward into the membranes around your rectal and anal tissue. This can become uncomfortable or painful.
Hemorrhoids aren’t always visible. But when they expand, they can look like red or discolored bumps or lumps.
Types of Piles
Piles are divided into two categories- internal piles and external piles.
As the name suggests, internal piles occur inside the anal canal, but they can also come out and hang outside your anus. This type of piles is further classified on the basis of whether they come out of the anus and if they do, how far are they out. They are classified as-
First degree– This type of piles do not come out of the anus but might bleed
Second degree– They come out during a bowel movement but then go inside later
Third-degree- They come out but will go inside if you push them
Fourth degree– They are partially out of your anus and cannot be pushed inside. They can swell and can result in immense pain if blood clotting occurs inside the lump
External piles, on the other hand, occur close to the anus below the anal canal. They too can be painful if blood clots inside the lumps.
It is not necessary for piles to readily show any noteworthy symptoms. If there are symptoms, they might include-
- A lump around or in the anus
- Bleeding during the bowel movement
- Leaking feces or slimy mucus discharge from the anus
- Feeling of constipation
- The skin around the anus feels sore or itchy
- In case of external piles, feeling of discomfort and pain after a bowel movement
What causes hemorrhoids?
Anything that puts pressure or strain on your anus or rectum can cause the veins to dilate. Some common causes and risk factors include:
- being overweight
- straining while having a bowel movement
- having diarrhea or constipation
- not having regular bowel movements
- sitting for a long time
- being pregnant or giving birth
- not eating enough fiber in your diet
- using too many laxatives
- getting older, as tissues lose strength and elasticity as you age
Internal hemorrhoids can become prolapsed hemorrhoids if you continue to do any of these things that may have caused your hemorrhoid in the first place.
External hemorrhoids are more likely to become thrombosed, although there’s no specific risk factor known to cause this to happen.
When should I see my doctor?
See your doctor if you start to notice pain and discomfort around your anus, especially when you sit or have a bowel movement.
Seek emergency medical attention if you notice any drastic worsening of your symptoms or any of these other symptoms, especially if they’re interfering with your daily activities:
- feeling extremely itchy around your anus
- burning around your anus
- noticeable lumps or swelling near your anus
- bluish discoloration of your skin near areas of swelling