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Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swellings that contain enlarged blood vessels that are found inside or around the bottom (the rectum and anus).

Most haemorrhoids are mild and sometimes don't even cause symptoms. When there are symptoms, these usually include: 

  • bleeding after passing a stool (the blood will be bright red)
  • itchy bottom
  • a lump hanging down outside of the anus, which may need to be pushed back in after passing a stool


The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unclear, although they are associated with increased pressure in the blood vessels in and around your anus.

Most cases are thought to be caused by excessive straining on the toilet, due to prolonged constipation often resulting from a lack of fibre in your diet.

Things that can increase your risk of haemorrhoids include:

  • being overweight
  • being over the age of 45
  • being pregnant
  • having a family history of haemorrhoids
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