What are hemorrhoids: What causes hemorrhoids?

What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are small blood vessels in the anal canal located between the anus and the rectum that help to control bowel movements.  Hemorrhoids are a natural part of the human anatomy.  When healthy, hemorrhoids act as a cushion that lines the anal sphincter and helps the passage of stool.  When hemorrhoids are unhealthy, itching, bleeding and rectal pains occur.  Inflamed internal hemorrhoids cause blood in the stool, called hematochezia.  Hematochezia is usually painless and disappears in several days.  External hemorrhoids, however, are painful and cause inflammation around the anus. [Read more...]