Hemorrhoids, also called piles, is a medical condition of swollen/enlarged veins in anus and lower rectum. It is one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding. They are extremely painful leading to itching, discomfort and bleeding.
The likelihood of developing hemorrhoids increases with ageing. Pregnant women are more likely to develop the condition. Other factors that may cause new hemorrhoids or worsen the existing ones include, diarrhea, chronic constipation, heavy lifting, anal intercourse, obesity, or the condition be inherited in few cases. Generally, internal hemorrhoids do not show any symptoms. Symptoms can be seen when internal hemorrhoids prolapse, i.e. when it swells or extends from its location. Signs and symptoms in such condition include:
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements
- Itching or irritation in anal area
- Discomfort, pain or soreness in affected area
- Leaking feces
- Lumps and swelling in anal region
- Sensation that the bowel is not empty
- Mucus discharge
Diagnosis of hemorrhoids depends on the situation, medical history, medications that the patient is already administered. It usually involves physical examination by healthcare professionals. Examining an internal hemorrhoid includes inspection of anus, digital rectal examination and sigmoidoscopy. Sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy involves using a small camera fitted to a tube and is used to diagnose an internal hemorrhoid. On the contrary, external hemorrhoids may be diagnosed by observing appearance of a bump and/or dark area surrounding the anus.