Hemorrhoids or piles are swellings containing enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure on the anus.
Risk factors for developing hemorrhoids
The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unclear, but they’re associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your anus. This pressure can cause the blood vessels in the rectum and anus to become swollen and inflamed.
Factors predisposing to the development of hemorrhoids include:
- irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhoea)
- increased intra-abdominal pressure (prolonged straining)
- a low-fiber diet
- pregnancy: the increased intra-abdominal pressure and the effect of straining at delivery can predispose to the development of piles
- the absence of valves within the haemorrhoidal veins
- aging: as we grow older the body’s supporting tissues get weaker
- being overweight or obese
The pressure causes the normal anal veins and tissue to swell. This tissue can bleed, often during bowel movements.