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The rectum, the last 6 - 8 inches long passageway of the large intestine is commonly used to get rid of solid waste. The anus is the rectal opening through which the fecal matter is disposed off the body. The anal canal is the final one inch part of the rectum that connects to the anus. Hemorrhoids is a condition in which the veins in the anal canal appear swollen. The inflammation of the veins in the anal cavity narrows the passage of the lower rectum, in turn limiting movement of stools. The stools may also damage the enlarged veins while moving through anal canal. As a result, the veins may bleed causing painful bowel movement. Frequent itchy sensation in the anal area followed by blood in stools are some of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Excessive strain in the rectal area may not go too well with the veins situated in the anal cavity. When these veins are exposed to too much pressure, the outcome is hemorrhoids. The veins inside the lower rectal area are delicate and hence are not equipped to handle extra pressure. The excess strain restricts blood circulation from the veins to the heart. This reduces blood flow to the heart, cuts down oxygen supply to the veins, leading to swelling. The swollen veins in the anus have often been associated with irregular bowel movement. It is discussed below:
Constipation
It is a known fact that constipation typically causes lot of discomfort during bowel movement. The reason being the stools have become very hard and so it becomes very difficult to remove them from the rectum. The constipated person has to really put a lot of pressure on the lower part of intestine in order to push fecal matter out of the body. This straining during bowel movement is bound to cause the veins to swell. Of course, feeling constipated just once or twice doesn't immediately cause hemorrhoids. The inflammation of the veins in the anus is usually the result of chronic constipation. Once hemorrhoids develop especially in the inside region of the anus, one experiences pain in the affected area ever time the person goes to the toilet for bowel evacuation.
Obesity
Too much fat in the body that makes a person overweight can also lead to the development of hemorrhoids. Usually, obese people show excess fat buildup that is more concentrated in the abdominal area. This puts extra pressure on the pelvic and the rectal area. This can increase the strain on the veins running through the rectum and the pelvis, eventually causing hemorrhoids. If obesity and weight are not brought under control, the veins may continue to swell and inflate in size. Once these veins are stretched beyond a certain extent, it is unlikely that they will come back to their original size.
Spending Too Much Time in Sitting
Sitting in the toilet for a considerable amount of time can also cause hemorrhoids. The sitting position during bowel evacuation is stressful to the veins in the anal canal. Unnecessarily sitting on the toilet bowl even when there is no sign of bowel movement is strenuous to the veins in the lower rectal area. This habit of sitting on the toilet for substantial amount of time paves way for hemorrhoid formation. Also, in today's corporate world, employees tend to sit on their desk for long periods of time. In other words, people in jobs that require long sitting hours may also fall prey to hemorrhoids.
Pregnancy
The protruding belly that increases in size with each passing day during pregnancy puts too much pressure in the lower part of the body. Along with legs, especially knees, the lower part of the rectum faces the brunt of abnormally high strain. Besides knee pain, pregnant women may also complain about pain in the anal canal during bowel movement, which is due to formation of the hemorrhoids.
Chronic Diarrhea
Chronic diarrhea is yet another reason why one can get hemorrhoids. It is a know fact that every time we go to the toilet for bowel evacuation, the veins in the anal cavity do experience some amount of strain. So frequent visits to the toilet in a day is bound to increase the pressure in the rectal area. This happening over a period of time due to chronic diarrhea may cause hemorrhoids.
Excessive Abdominal Pressure
Although excessive abdominal strain that cause hemorrhoids has been attributed mainly to pregnancy and obesity, they are not the only factors. Even carrying heavy objects is said to be quite stressful to the abdominal part of the body. The strain does not remain confined to the abdomen but is also passed to the pelvic and rectal area. Coughing that is common in lung infections can also be responsible for straining the veins in the anal canal and thereby increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
Treatment aims at reducing the strain in the lower rectal area, crucial to heal hemorrhoids. If constipation in the culprit, then treating it is not difficult as it mainly involves drinking plenty of water and following a high fiber diet. Obese people have no option but to reduce their weight by discarding sedentary lifestyle and giving more priority to exercise. Hemorrhoids arising from pregnancy is a temporary issue and goes away on its own after delivery. The doctor is likely to prescribe creams containing hydrocortisone to get relief from hemorrhoids itching. If nothing works doctors may resort to surgery to remove hemorrhoids.
Although healing hemorrhoids is not an issue, preventing it would be a wiser option. It is not at all difficult as one has to stay away from factors that increase pressure in the lower rectum. In most cases constipation being the primary cause, ensuring smooth bowel movement can go a long way in keeping hemorrhoids at bay.