The last part of the gut is the anus, the 'back passage' and is responsible for maintaining continence. Vascular cushions made up of veins contribute to continence. When these veins are subject to increased pressure (such as from straining or pregnancy), they swell creating haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids are very common. Symptoms of haemorrhoids include bleeding (with bowel motions, on the toilet paper, on the stool or in the toiletbowl), itching, ache or pain or lumps near the anus.
Haemorrhoids do not need treatment in themselves - they are not dangerous. It is however essential to exclude serious problems, particularly when bleeding is present. When symptoms are bothersome, treatment can be offered. All treatment should include dietary fibre and supplements and consideration of the underlying cause of the haemorrhoids. Non-invasive remedies include topical creams. Further options include injections, rubber bands and surgery. The treatment which is right for you needs to be recommended after full assessment, which may include a recommendation for colonoscopy.
Looking after bowel health and avoiding constipation and straining are very important otherwise haemorrhoids can re-occur.