Hemorrhoids: a common disagreement
are a common condition among people over 50 and pregnant
women, characterized by swelling and inflammation of the
veins around the anus or low rectum. Hemorrhoids can be
either internal, when they remain inside the anus, or
external (or protruding), when they protrude through the
anus outside the body, often becoming painful and
The main cause of hemorrhoids (swollen veins) is
an increased pressure in the lower rectum, due to
straining to move stool, chronic constipation or
diarrhea, obesity and pregnancy. Aging is an important
predisposing factor. In fact, with aging, the tissue
supporting the veins in the anus and rectum weakens and
becomes less able to resist pressure and stretching.
Symptoms usually vary depending on whether
hemorrhoids are internal or external. Internal
hemorrhoids generally donít cause discomfort and the
most common sign is a painless, mild bleeding during
bowel movements. On the contrary external hemorrhoids,
which are visible externally, can cause symptoms of pain
and discomfort in the anal area, often accompanied by
itching, burning or bleeding.
It is important to note that anal bleeding can
result from many other more serious conditions, besides
hemorrhoids, including colorectal and anal cancer.
Thatís why people who experience blood in their stool or
on the toilet tissue should always consult a doctor
before assuming this is due to hemorrhoids.
How to prevent Hemorrhoids?
Fortunately hemorrhoids are not a serious
condition and are always preventable, treatable and
curable. When hemorrhoids cause no or minimal
discomfort, certain home remedies and lifestyle
modifications can be enough to relieve the symptoms and
prevent their recurrence.
These include the application
of hemorrhoid creams, gels or suppositories to relieve
inflammation, swelling and pain, as well as soaking
several times a day in warm water for about 10 minutes.
In addition, adopting a high-fiber diet, drinking plenty
of fluids, getting enough exercise and, when necessary,
using fiber supplements are all lifestyle habits that
can help prevent the recurrence of hemorrhoids, by
keeping stool soft and easy to pass.
In some cases, when hemorrhoid symptoms are more
severe or hemorrhoids are particularly large, surgery or
other procedures specifically designed to remove or
reduce the size of hemorrhoids may be necessary. The
least invasive procedure, which is often effective for
many people, is called rubber band ligation. In this
procedure the doctor places a rubber band around the
base of an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its blood
supply and cause it to fall off spontaneously within a
few days. However, when minimally invasive procedures
are not enough, the surgical removal of hemorrhoids may
The cost of medical or surgical treatment of
hemorrhoids can be covered by an appropriate
international health insurance plan.