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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Hemorrhoids


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that are found in and around the anus and lower rectum. They can be internal, which means inside the anus. Or, they may be external, which means they are found outside the anus.

What is going on in the body?

The blood vessels around the anus swell and may bleed or cause other symptoms. The exact cause of hemorrhoids is not always clear.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Hemorrhoids are related to dilated blood vessels, but the exact cause is not always clear. Some types of hemorrhoids run in families. Other factors that increase your risk for hemorrhoids include:

  • alcoholism
  • anal intercourse
  • chronic diarrhea
  • cancer of the rectum or colon
  • a diet that lacks fiber
  • frequent coughing and sneezing
  • liver disease, such as cirrhosis
  • loss of muscle tone in the rectum due to aging and rectal surgery
  • obesity
  • jobs that require standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • pregnancy
  • straining due to constipation


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    Hemorrhoids: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Reviewer: Adam Brochert, MD
    Date Reviewed: 09/26/01

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