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Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen and inflamed veins around your anus or in your lower rectum. External hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type of hemorrhoid. External hemorrhoid symptoms include anal itching. Internal hemorrhoid symptoms include rectal bleeding. Certain toilet habits, constipation, a low-fiber diet, and aging may cause hemorrhoids.
Your doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids based on your medical history and a physical exam. Your doctor will check the area around your anus, perform a digital rectal exam, and may use procedures to look inside your anus and rectum.
You can treat your hemorrhoids at home by changing your diet and toilet habits. You can use medicines to relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching. Doctors treat hemorrhoids with procedures during an office visit or in an outpatient center or a hospital.
Eating high-fiber foods can make your stools softer and easier to pass and can help treat and prevent hemorrhoids. Drinking water and other liquids, such as fruit juices and clear soups, can help the fiber in your diet work better.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract-also called the digestive tract-and the liver, pancreas, and the gallbladder. The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus.
See more about digestive diseases research at NIDDK.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.