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Haemorrhoids (or piles) are swollen blood vessels around the bottom, they can be internal (inside the anal canal) or external (around the opening of the anus). Haemorrhoids can be present for years but are not usually detected until they bleed. They are very common and affect up to 8 million people in the UK.
Haemorrhoids arise from recurring pressure in the veins of the rectum and anus. They may also be caused by constipation and straining to empty bowels. Diarrhoea also causes stress on the bowels and may lead to haemorrhoids. Other factors that may cause haemorrhoids are sitting for long periods, obesity, losing muscle tone due to age, anal intercourse, anal infection, rectal surgery and inflammatory bowel disease.
Should I be concerned about bleeding from Haemorrhoids?
Bleeding from Haemorrhoids is not of a serious nature, however all anal bleeding should be checked out by your doctor as it may indicate something more serious.
How can I prevent Haemorrhoids?
You can reduce the risk of getting haemorrhoids by increasing fluid intake, increasing dietary fibre intake, using fibre supplements, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight. You should also only go to the toilet when you need to and avoid forceful wiping after a bowel movement.