Hemorrhoids suck. I know this firsthand, and if you are one of the 75% of Americans who suffers from them, you probably do, too. That's right—three out of four of us are plagued by hemorrhoids. That's three quarters of One Direction, people (they're basically honorary Americans).
Given how prevalent hemorrhoids are, we should clearly be talking about them more! But I suppose Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” might not have been the Grammy-nominated gold banger that it was if it was called “Let’s Talk About Ass Grapes.”
Still, it's never too late. For those of you who suspect you might have a hemorrhoid and are feeling scared and alone and have no idea what’s going on, I’m here for you. So let’s explore what’s going on. What the f**k are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids happen when small veins that are located very close to the surface of the skin near your rectum become swollen—like varicose veins, but in your butt.
Hemorrhoids are painful. They can be itchy. Oh, and they bleed a little, adding to the anxiety and general discomfort they create. I mean, is anyone ever pleased to see blood coming from their butt hole?
There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are hidden in your rectum, and they're usually painless—although they do bleed, which you might pick up on when you wipe.
External hemorrhoids occur around your anus, and given that they present a greater risk of chafing, they tend to be more painful.
Hemorrhoids can be caused by abdominal pressure and/or any behavior that inhibits blood flow to and from those butt veins—from prolonged sitting to pregnancy to straining when you poop.
While the best way to deal with them is to avoid them altogether, you can generally fend them off by staying hydrated and active and getting plenty of fiber.
And in the statistically significant chance that you do get hemorrhoids—topical creams, sitting in a warm bath, and even exercising can help. And don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about them! Those people have seen some shit, so hemorrhoids are like a walk in the park for them.