Hemorrhoids refer to a condition where the veins in the lower rectum and around the anus are swollen, dilated and inflamed (similar to varicose veins in legs). This can result in pain, itching, irritation, burning and sometimes bleeding – these symptoms indicate a flare-up. About 75% of all Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids occur in the lower rectum and external hemorrhoids develop under the skin around the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are typically painless, even when they produce bleeding. Internal hemorrhoids can become painful when straining pushes them out through the anus (also called a “prolapsed hemorrhoid). When this happens, it may cause irritation and itching.
External hemorrhoids are more uncomfortable than internal hemorrhoids because the overlying skin becomes irritated. If a blood clot forms inside an external hemorrhoid, the pain can be sudden and severe.
Hemorrhoids are a chronic condition, meaning once they form they do not go away. Flare-ups, on the other hand, come and go. You can get relief from flare-up symptoms with Preparation H® products. To reduce the risk of flare-ups and prevent new hemorrhoids, you can make lifestyle changes like exercising and reducing constipation with a balanced, high-fiber diet. These treatments may not provide a total cure for hemorrhoids, but they can help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
“I’ve had internal and external hemorrhoids for about 20 years now. They flare up about once a month. When I have a flare-up, I’m afraid to go out. It’s very painful and sometimes there’s blood. I’d just rather stay home. I feel alone—like I can’t tell anyone.” Read about Peter’s Personal Relief Plan
Did You Know?
Q: What’s the difference between hemorrhoids and piles?
Hemorrhoids are the veins lining the lowest part of the rectum or anus. When there is increased pressure and these veins become swollen or inflamed, they’re called hemorrhoids. In the UK, they are often called “piles.”