Hemorrhoids are bulging veins that form in the lowest part of the rectum. They can be external, or internal. They form when veins inside the rectum are under pressure, and become swollen, and may, in some cases protrude from the anus. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are very painful. The veins swell, and skin may become inflamed. Hemorrhoids can be repositioned, back into the rectum by a doctor, or in cases, they may retreat without treatment. Internal hemorrhoids are not always felt, as there are fewer nerve endings higher in the rectum, but bleeding may occur.
Factors that contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids include pregnancy, weight gain, straining during bowel movements, lifting heavy objects and continuous periods of both sitting and standing, for long stretches. A build-up of pressure in the lower rectum and a decrease in blood flow will cause the veins to swell, in this area. Hemorrhoids are the main cause of rectal bleeding, and swollen hemorrhoids are commonly referred to as ‘ piles.’