Haemorrhoids are also known as piles, and are swellings found inside the rectum and anus. The swellings contain enlarged blood vessels and can be internal or external. Anyone can experience haemorrhoids and they’re actually very common, affecting around 50% of people at some time in their life. Elderly people and pregnant women are particularly prone to developing them.
It’s thought that haemorrhoids are mainly caused by extreme abdominal pressure, which causes veins within the anus to swell and become irritated. This pressure can occur as a result of obesity, pregnancy, straining to go to the toilet or holding your breath while doing physical labour. Often, they will clear up by themselves, and can be avoided by maintaining a high fibre diet. If necessary, there are creams, ointments and suppositories which can help treat haemorrhoids.