Hemorrhoids are a pain in the rear for millions of adults. A hemorrhoid is a clump of swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. The walls of these blood vessels can stretch so thin that the veins bulge and get irritated. Internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum so you cannot see them. They usually do not hurt, but you may have bleeding. External hemorrhoids are more painful and likely to bleed since they are under the skin around the anus, where there are many pain-sensing nerves.
While hemorrhoids are a common cause of rectal bleeding, they are rarely dangerous and tend to clear up in a few weeks. But if you do have symptoms, it's wise to see your doctor to rule out more serious conditions. It can be painful just to read about hemorrhoids, but a lot more painful to sit down if you have them. While hemorrhoids will never get a standing ovation, it is noteworthy that people who stand for long stretches of time may be at risk for developing these little nasties.
Yet so are those who sit a lot. Hemorrhoids are more likely if you are obese or pregnant. Basically, anyone can experience hemorrhoids once you hit middle age.
Complications are rare, but do include anemia, strangulated hemorrhoids and blood clots. The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to never age. But short of such a miracle, focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle. Eating a lot of plants, drinking plenty of water and exercising are good for your overall health of course, and a great way to reduce hemorrhoids. If symptoms develop, you might also take fiber supplements, sit less, and take special care if you have to cough, sneeze or strain in any way.