Swollen veins near the rectum and anus are called hemorrhoids. The walls of the blood vessels have been stretched so thin that the veins start to bulge, become swollen, and cause irritation. This uncomfortable feeling is especially prevalent when you have a bowel movement. This can cause rectal bleeding. In most cases, hemorrhoids do go away on their own.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids: A person is not able to see them or feel them because they are very far inside the rectum. They are also hard to feel because there are few pain sensing nerves in that area. Bleeding could be the only indication they exist.
- External hemorrhoids: These are found under the skin near the anus. These tend to hurt and bleed because there are more pain sensitive nerves. They might appear as moist bumps that have a pink color. When hemorrhoids prolapse, they become bigger and bulge in appearance. A blood clot can also form on an external hemorrhoid, which is called thrombosis. These can turn purple or blue and feel very painful.
Hemorrhoids may be genetically related. Persons who are overweight or pregnant are more prone to have hemorrhoids due to the buildup of pressure in the lower rectum affecting blood flow. Other causes include straining when picking or lifting something heavy or pushing too hard during bowel movements. They are likely to come during times of constipation or diarrhea. When a person is sick and coughing, vomiting, or sneezing, chances also increase of having a hemorrhoid.
It is important to use the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. Drinking plenty of water and consuming adequate amounts of fiber help keep stools regular and avoid constipation. Exercise is another good way to increase blood flow and keep hemorrhoids away.
There are home remedies to help with hemorrhoid relief. Taking a warm bath can help. Witch hazel can sooth the pain and has no side effects. Ice can be used. The area should be treated gently and wearing loose fitting under garments is recommended until fully healed. Scratching the itchy area will only make the problem worse. Sitting on a pillow is recommended too during this time of pain. Bowel movements are a normal part of living but are not meant to be painful. Always be aware of your body and any indications that something needs extra attention for optimal health.