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Hemorrhoids are common problems that can be very painful. They are especially common in pregnant women and after delivering a child. They can affect men as well. Among individuals of both genders, the most common cause is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids occur as the result of increased blood pressure in the veins in the rectum or anus. This pressure causes painful swelling.Though the most common causes of hemorrhoids are straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, and childbirth, there are numerous potential causes. Other possible causes include severe or chronic constipation, infections of the anal region, diseases like cirrhosis of the liver, or sitting for long periods of time. They may occur inside or outside of the body. External hemorrhoids develop at the anal opening while internal hemorrhoids are located just inside the anus. 

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Pain in the anal region is the most common symptom of hemorrhoids.Other symptoms include itching, brightly colored blood in the stool, toilet bowel, or toilet tissue after a bowel movement, painful bowel movements, or hard lumps near the anus that are tender or painful.Doctors can usually detect hemorrhoids during an examination of the rectal region. Other tests may be performed to detect the presence of blood in the stool or to examine the internal parts of the anus and rectum. In many cases, hemorrhoids can be treated and managed with over-the-counter creams formulated to reduce painful swelling. In more severe cases, patients may require prescription creams with lidocaine to relieve pain. Stool softeners may also be recommended to reduce constipation and prevent straining during bowel movements. 

Treating Hemorrhoids

Heat treatments may be recommended to shrink hemorrhoids that do not improve. In many cases, these treatments are very effective and eliminate the need for further treatment. When hemorrhoids do not respond to traditional treatments or they are especially severe, they may need to be removed surgically. This usually is only needed when pain or bleeding is significant. The majority of hemorrhoids are minor, and they usually do not pose any serious risk. In limited cases, however, blood clots may develop in hemorrhoids and cause the death of the surrounding tissue. Some individuals also experience major rectal bleeding from hemorrhoids. When bleeding is severe, patients may develop complications as the result of extensive blood loss. Severe rectal bleeding may be caused by an underlying condition aside from hemorrhoids, so it is important to see a doctor for severe bleeding.