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Haemorrhoids are protruding swollen veins around the anus and rectum. Much like varicose veins, these veins lose elasticity and form saclike protrusions in the anus. External haemorrhoids develop in the anal cavity and form a lump, and when it swells the tissue in the area can be painful and change colour to blue/ purple. Internal haemorrhoids are inside the rectum and are painless, but have a tendency to bleed. Prolapsed haemorrhoids are internal and then collapse and protrude.

Cause: sitting or standing for a long period of time, lifting heavy objects, violent coughing and straining during bowel movements.

Contributing factors: obesity, liver damage and sedentary lifestyle.

Symptoms: itching, burning, pain, swelling, bleeding and irritation. Prolapsed haemorrhoids are associated with mucosal discharge and heavy bleeding.

Who to consult: Dietician, gastroenterologist, GP, homoeopath, naturopath, pharmacist, physical therapist, proctologist, yoga practitioner.