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Hemorrhoids or piles are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure on the anus.
Risk factors for developing hemorrhoids
The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unclear, but they're associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your anus. This pressure can cause the blood vessels in the rectum and anus to become swollen and inflamed.
Factors predisposing to the development of hemorrhoids include:
1. Irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea)
2. Increased intra-abdominal pressure (prolonged straining)
3. A low-fiber diet
4. Pregnancy: the increased intra-abdominal pressure and the effect of straining at delivery can predispose to the development of piles
5. The absence of valves within the haemorrhoidal veins
6. Aging: as we grow older the body's supporting tissues get weaker
7. Being overweight or obese
8. The pressure causes the normal anal veins and tissue to swell. This tissue can bleed, often during bowel movements.
You may notice the following symptoms:
1. Blood in stools
2. Pain while defecating
3. Painful hard lump in the anus
4. Mucus discharge while defecating
5. Itching sensation around the anus
6. Feeling of fullness in the bowels even after passing a stool
7. The severity of symptoms vary in patients and depends upon the grading of the piles and the type of piles:
Internal Hemorrhoids usually present with painless rectal bleeding. If they are large they may emerge outside the anus (prolapse). Most prolapsed hemorrhoids shrink back inside the rectum on their own. Severely prolapsed hemorrhoids may protrude permanently and require treatment.
External hemorrhoids present with pain in the area of the anus. If a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid, it can be very painful (thrombosed external hemorrhoid)


Lifestyle changes to reduce the strain on the blood vessels in and around your anus is recommended to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids developing or recurring:
1. Increase the amount of fibre in your diet through foods like fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, pulses and beans, nuts and oats 2. Drink plenty of fluid especially water
3. Do not delay going to the toilet as this may make your stools harder and drier, which can lead to straining when you do go to the toilet.
4. Avoid medication that causes constipation – such as painkillers that contain codeine
5. Lose weight if overweight
6. Exercise regularly –it can help prevent constipation and help you lose weight.