Haemorrhoids, often called piles, are areas in the anal canal where tissue containing blood vessels have become stretched or swollen.
Haemorrhoids can be internal i.e. inside the anus, or external at the anal opening. Increased pressure on the blood vessels of the lower rectum cause them to swell or stretch. The increased pressure can come from constipation, straining as you move your bowels, obesity, diarrhoea, pregnancy, heavy lifting or even prolonged coughing or sneezing.Often there is no obvious cause for the development of haemorrhoids.
The most common symptoms are bleeding, protrusion, discomfort and itching, and sometimes a mucous discharge.