Hemorrhoids are abnormally dilated veins in the lower rectum and anus. They are among the most common causes of anal pathology and are subsequently blamed for virtually any anorectal complaint by patients and medical professionals alike. Incidence increases with age (> 40 y), with a slight female preponderance. Although the true prevalence of pathologic hemorrhoids is not known, 50% of the general population is estimated to experience symptomatic hemorrhoid disease at some point of their lives.
Risk factors for hemorrhoids include constipation, straining or diarrhea, and pregnancy. Symptoms can range from mildly bothersome, such as pruritus, to quite concerning, such as rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding, and bleeding is the most common presenting sign of hemorrhoids. Besides bleeding, other complications include thrombosis and prolapse. Ruling out more serious conditions, such as other causes of gastrointestinal bleeding, is important. Even though hemorrhoids are a common condition diagnosed in clinical practice, many patients are too embarrassed to ever seek treatment.
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Cite this: Fast Five Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hemorrhoids? - Medscape - Sep 15, 2017.