What They Are

Hemorrhoids are cushions of tissue containing swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum or around the anus, which, depending on the type and the severity, can cause itching, bleeding, and pain.

Hemorrhoids can be classified as either internal or external:

  • Internal: swollen veins inside the rectum that form above an area known as the dentate line. When internal hemorrhoids become enlarged, the tissue may protrude out through the anus. The level of protrusion dictates the degree of severity.
  • External: swollen veins that form below the dentate line and can often be seen and felt under the skin outside the anal canal. They often appear as small bulges.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can result from too much pressure in the rectum due to a variety of factors. Hemorrhoids are often linked to diet, constipation, diarrhea, obesity, pregnancy, childbirth, and even sitting for extended periods of time.