There are maladies... and there are really bloody embarrassing maladies! And there are few maladies more embarrassing than the painful humiliation of hemorrhoids. You can't even say the word without snickering, can you? And if you're old and decrepit like I am, you remember George Brett's battle with 'rhoids back in the early 80's - surely the most humiliating reason imaginable for sitting... er, standing... out a World Series? But when you get past the humiliation factor, hemorrhoids are really a most unpleasant malady, and one that is frequently misunderstood.

Hemorrhoids are abnormally swollen veins in the rectum and anus. They are much like varicose veins you might see on a person's legs. When bulging hemorrhoidal veins are irritated, they cause surrounding membranes to swell, burn, itch, become very painful, and bleed. Hemorrhoids are caused by too much pressure in the rectum, forcing blood to stretch and bulge the walls of the veins, sometimes rupturing them. The most frequent causes of hemorrhoids are:

Constant sitting
Straining with bowel movements (from constipation or hard stools)
Sitting on the toilet for a long time
Severe coughing
Heavy Lifting


There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids usually don't hurt or itch; you can't feel them because they are deep inside the rectum. Internal hemorrhoids are pretty harmless. But since their bleeding could mask blood from a dangerous source like colorectal cancer, they should be treated. External hemorrhoids cause most of the symptoms we commonly hear about --- pain, burning, and itching. (They also provide the gruesome images accompanying this page.) If an external hemorrhoid becomes strangulated (cut off from blood supply), a clot can form in it and become an excruciatingly painful thrombosed hemoroid. Because of these unpleasant symptoms, external hemorrhoids get the most treatment attention.

Treatment for minor hemorrhoids consists of sitz baths (soaking the rectal area in hot water for 15-20 minutes), topical medications, and the use of fiber supplements to reduce voiding strain. Severe hemorrhoids may require surgical removal, rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy (injecting a chemical solution around the blood vessel - see the Pakar Buasir website for graphic images of this type of treatment), or electical/laser heat to burn hemorrhoidal tissue.

So there you have it. Hemorrhoids — Bloody Hell!

The information above was mercilessly swiped from Quickcare.Com.

The absolutely hideous images were culled from Pakar Buasir-Piles,Hemorrhoids specialist
and Tom Comegys' Medical and Forensic Images website.

Special thanks to KSHOhio for the suggestion and the Buasir link!

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