Haemorrhoids occur when veins found in the lower end of the bowel (the anus) become dilated (swollen) and inflamed. They are similar to varicose veins but are found in the region of the anus.
There are 3 types of haemorrhoids:
* External haemorrhoids-small hard lumps that are found under the skin around
- Internal haemorrhoids-found inside the back passage and are usually painless
but may bleed.
* Prolapsed haemorrhoids-push through the anus and hang outside the body.
They are usually a more severe and painful form of internal haemorrhoids.
Activities that can weaken the tissue that supports the blood vessels in the anus and the back passage and can lead to haemorrhoids are:
- Increasing age
- Prolonged straining e.g. long periods on the toilet and heavy manual labour.
- Bleeding (Usually bright red blood on toilet paper).
- Pain or discomfort
- Soiling of underwear
- Burning sensation
- Internal haemorrhoids may give a feeling that a bowel movement was incomplete.
If pain is severe take painkillers such as paracetamol. Avoid those containing codeine which can cause constipation.
Use mild soap and water after each bowel movement then pat dry.