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Updated: March 2, 2008

This hemorrhoid picture was derived from the Gastrointestinal Atlas (www.gastrointestinalatlas.com)

Picture of a Hemorrhoid

Donna Myers

Everybody knows that hemorrhoids are something you don't want to have. But what exactly are they? Basically, hemorrhoids are swollen veins that can result from many different things. Examples include straining when defecating, pregnancy, anal intercourse, or chronic constipation.

Types of Hemorrhoids

Swollen veins under the skin around the anus are considered external hemorrhoids, while swollen veins inside the anus are considered internal hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

A common symptom of hemorrhoids is bright red blood on the toilet paper or even on the stool itself. Warm baths tend to help reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids and Colon Cancer

Hemorrhoids don't give you colon cancer. They aren't even a sign of colon cancer. But, colon cancer symptoms can lead to hemorrhoids. For example, the presence of a tumor can block the flow of stool and lead to constipation. Straining to defecate while constipated can lead to hemorrhoids.

Colorectal cancer symptoms can also be masked by hemorrhoids. Bright red blood in or on your poop may be caused by the presence of a rectal tumor. Someone who's accustomed to bleeding hemorrhoids may overlook the warning sign. If you have hemorrhoids, please be sure and talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening.

For more information about hemorrhoids, please watch About's video: Causes and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids.


Hemorrhoids. Mayo Clinic. 15 Dec. 2004. 30 Aug. 2006 [http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hemorrhoids/DS00096].

Hemorrhoids. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. 30 Aug. 2006 [http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hemorrhoids/index.htm].

Also Known As: Piles
Common Misspellings: hemmoroids, hemroids, hemmroids, hemmorhoids, hemmoroids

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