What are the hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are one of the most frequent diseases in western societies. It affects both genders, and approximately 50 to 70% of the population presents symptoms of this disease at a certain point in their lives. Hemorrhoids are venous dilatations, that is, inflamed veins located in or around the anus and/or rectum. They can cause discomfort, pain or bleeding. Depending on their location, they can be classified in two types:
They appear in the internal part of the rectum and near the anal channel (they are not visible unless they are prolapsed, in which case the can go down and out of the anus), and they usually don’t cause pain, although they can painlessly bleed. Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids come out of the orifice creating a prolapse.This can happen during defecation, although the prolapsed vein usually returns to its place. However, sometimes one or several prolapsed veins can remain in the external part of the anus and cause thrombosis or vessel obstruction, which happens when the little blood vessels break under the skin, on the margin of the anal channel, which causes blood to coagulate inside the deformed veins.
In turn, internal hemorrhoids can be sub-classified in 4 grades, depending on the degree of prolapse:
They never go below the dentate line.
They stick out the anal cannel while defecating and dissapear afterwards.
They prolapse during defecation and the patient must reintroduce them manually.
Hemorrhoids are irreducible and always prolapsed.
They appear on the external part of the anal channel and tend to be very painful, especially when they grow bigger since they are covered by a very sensitive layer of skin. They can also lead to clots (a complication known as hemorrhoid thrombosis) inside an external hemorrhoid, which causes a very intense pain. They can also cause itching and a burning sensation and sometimes, if scratched, they can bleed.
At times, especially after drinking alcohol or eating spicy food, external hemorrhoids can lead to bleeding and eventually cause even more serious complications.