If you have hemorrhoids, the term, "Pain in the Butt" takes on a completely new meaning. Not pleasant to have, and not easily discussed, hemorrhoids are characterized by swelling and/or inflammation of the veins in the rectum and anus. In case you were wondering, the rectum is part of your insides; the anus is that little opening at the end of the line -- it is where what you eat comes out.

Let us look deeper. There are two kinds of hemorrhoids; external and internal. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum. Internal hemorrhoids can and do bleed if irritated. If there is good news about the internal kind, it is these points: first, you cannot see them because they are inside. Most people who have internal hemorrhoids do not even know they have them. Second, they do not hurt because there are no pain receptors in the spot they occur.

However, wait, there's more. If severe and left untreated, internal hemorrhoids can become prolapsed or strangulated. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are those that become so enlarged that they are actually pushed outside the body. It gets worse. Should the anus, or anal sphincter, go into a spasm, the prolapsed hemorrhoid can become caught and literally strangled outside the body, cutting off the blood supply. In non-medical terms, this is "not good."

External hemorrhoids are, by definition, outside the body. You will not be showing them off at cocktail parties but you will know they are there. External hemorrhoids can be painful. They can swell and become irritated. Sufferers can experience intense itching. Is there a bright side to hemorrhoids? Well, at least they are not dangerous or life threatening. In addition, if you do get them the severe symptoms usually last only a few days. You may not experience noticeable symptoms at all. This is both good and bad: good because you are not inconvenienced; bad because you cannot deal with what you do not know about.

So how do you know if you have hemorrhoids? The first sign is usually bright red blood within or covering the feces -- that's poop to you. On the other hand, you may find blood on your toilet paper or even in the toilet bowl. Sometimes a hemorrhoid may poke its ugly little head outside, especially if it is irritated. That is an open invitation to more irritation.

Let us get down to causes. If you are constipated, or have to push hard to move your bowels, you risk getting hemorrhoids. Do you sit for extended periods? This can contribute to hemorrhoids. Are you obese? Obesity can increase the blood pressure in veins in your "sit down" and contribute to hemorrhoids. Pregnant? Hemorrhoids are a common complaint among mothers-to-be. The upside is the cure is no more than nine months away.

Enough problems; let us get to the solution. The first line of defense against this nasty little problem is consuming fiber-rich foods and drinking lots of water. Eat the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and wash it all down with fruit juices or water. A good diet is a smooth move and you will enjoy "smooth movements" as a result.