What Are Hemorrhoids and Who Gets Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids bother almost 90% of all Americans at some time in their lives. Hemorrhoids are enlarged veins that develop in the anal canal. This common condition may be uncomfortable at times, but it rarely poses a serious problem.


What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Normally, tissue surrounding the inside of the anus, sometimes called “anal cushions,” fills with blood to help control bowel movements. Hemorrhoids develop when excessive pressure or other factors cause the veins within these cushions to swell and stretch.

Pregnancy has a lot to do with developing hemorrhoids. Read Charlotte’s story to find out when her problems with rectal pain started. As many people do, Charlotte suffered in silence for years after her son was born.  She found out that her pain was due to hemorrhoids. After receiving treatment, Charlotte is now pain free.

Who Gets Hemorrhoids and How Common are Hemorrhoids?

Nearly everyone has hemorrhoids at some time. We have patients from high school age to people in their 90’s.  They can develop at any age, but the incidence increases after age 30. About 50% of people over age 50 have had hemorrhoids at some time in their lives.

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Types of Hemorrhoids

There are two types of hemorrhoids, internal and external.

Internal hemorrhoids occur higher up in the anal canal, out of sight. Bleeding is the most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids, and often the only one in mild cases.

External hemorrhoids are visible-occurring outside the anus. External hemorrhoids are basically skin-covered veins that have ballooned and appear blue. Usually they appear without any symptoms. When inflamed, however, they become red and tender.

Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids will come through the anal opening when straining to move your bowels. This is called a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid; it is often difficult to ease back into the rectum, and is usually quite painful.

When a blood clot forms inside an external hemorrhoid, it often causes Severe pain. This thrombosed hemorrhoid can be felt as a firm, tender mass in the anal area, about the size of a pea.

At our Colon and Rectal Health Center we specialize in the treatment of hemorrhoids and have provided relief for thousands of patients. For more specific information on hemorrhoids and their treatment, please visit our website dedicated to answering all of your hemorrhoid questions: http://hemorrhoidstlouis.com.


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Dr. Abbadessa is board certified by the AOA and is a member of the Missouri Association Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons
| St. Louis Metropolitan
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