Hemorrhoids and anal fissures are two common yet painful or uncomfortable concerns that many people experience throughout their lives. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus that are under pressure and stretched from their regular position in the skin. An anal fissure, on the other hand, is like a small “paper cut” injury on the inside of the anus.
Both hemorrhoids and fissures share their most common cause, straining in the anal area. This straining is most commonly felt during bowel movements and can be exacerbated by constipation or a low-fiber diet. Other risk factors for hemorrhoids can include obesity, sitting for a large portion of the day or pregnancy, due to increased pressure in the region.
For most people, lifestyle changes are effective to prevent hemorrhoids and fissures. These changes can include raising the amount of fiber in the diet to help to avoid constipation. For people with chronic hemorrhoids, however, surgery or other treatments may be necessary.