Hemorrhoids (US English) or haemorrhoids, are vascular structures in the anal canal which help with stool control. They become pathological or piles when swollen or inflamed. In their physiological state, they act as a cushion composed of arterio-venous channels and connective tissue that aid the passage of stool. The symptoms of pathological hemorrhoids depend on the type present. Internal hemorrhoids usually present with painless rectal bleeding while external hemorrhoids present with pain in the area of the anus. Recommended treatment consists of increasing fiber intake, oral fluids to maintain hydration, NSAID analgesics, sitz baths, and rest. Surgery is reserved for those who fail to improve following these measures. There are two types of hemorrhoids, external and internal, which are differentiated via their position with respect to the dentate line. External hemorrhoids are those that occur below the dentate line. They may actually be concealed from view however.
Contributions by Hfwd, Hawstom, and Leonard G..