Haemorrhoids are small blood vessels that are present in the anal canal and help ease the excretory function. While these blood vessels constantly stretch and contract during excretion, under certain conditions they might get swollen and inflamed, resulting in a hemorrhoidal disease or piles. The symptoms of a hemorrhoidal disease are rectal bleeding, pain and swelling of the area near the anus. Despite this being a serious disorder with several complications, there are several facts about this annoying disease that you might find engaging. Let’s have a look at some of these interesting facts.
1. Haemorrhoids Have Existed For Centuries
While most modern theorists link this disease to current dietary habits, this disease has existed since the ancient times. The Babylonian code of Hammurabi also makes a mention of this ailment and described its symptoms back in 1754 BC. Several manuscripts from ancient Egypt also contain the description about this disease and its treatment using acacia leaves. The most famous description of this disease however comes from the King James Bible, where the disease was mentioned as a punishment from God. This is hard evidence that the disease isn’t a modern one. The word ‘Haemorrhoids’ itself has a Greek origin and has also been mentioned by Hippocrates in his writings.
2. Around 75% People Around The World Have Suffered From Haemorrhoids
With almost 1 million cases each year in the US alone, haemorrhoids are one of the most commonest diseases in the world. According to studies by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 50 percent of Americans suffer from haemorrhoids, and around 20 percent of them require surgical treatment. The studies also show a shocking fact that caucasians are more likely to suffer from this disorder compared to other people across the globe. This might be related to the high amount of low fibre foods that are a part of the average American diet. Nevertheless, there are comparatively fewer cases of haemorrhoids in African-Americans than in caucasians.
3. Haemorrhoids Also Have a Patron Saint
Diseases and disorders have often been linked with religion, and the most famous example of this is in Christianity. Known to be the patron saint of medicine and gardening, Saint Fiacre of Breuil was also known as the patron saint of haemorrhoids and other venereal diseases. Born during the 7th century in Ireland, St. Fiacre had an exceptional skill in medicine and a knowledge of herbs, which made him renowned among his various disciples. An incident with a suspicious woman and St. Faro led to his aversion with women and he became the patron Saint for all the venereal diseases. He is venerated as a saint in both Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
4. Even Famous People Have Suffered From Haemorrhoids
People often tend to think that the rich and famous are hardly ailed by nefarious diseases such as haemorrhoids. However, it might come as a big surprise that even the most famous celebrities and cultural icons have been troubled by this disease. The most popular one of them being the American presidents, Franklin D Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter, both of whom suffered from haemorrhoids. Roosevelt also suffered from anemia as a result of this disorder. Even Hollywood heartthrobs like Marilyn Monroe and George Clooney have suffered from this venereal disorder. Despite being known for her glamorous lifestyle, Marilyn Monroe had a bad case of haemorrhoids and struggled to hide this from the news. Even the Roman Emperor, Galen was said to have a bad case of haemorrhoids. Although the fact doesn’t have any hard evidence, the Emperor was said to have been prescribed ointments and special herbs meant specifically for haemorrhoid treatment.
While the internal hemorrhoidal disease is usually painless, but if thrombosed, the swollen vessels can cause pain and bleeding. The major causes of haemorrhoids are listed below.
- Frequent straining during defecation can increase the intra-abdominal pressure resulting in the haemorrhoids being swollen.
- Irregular bowel movement such as constipation is also known to be a major cause for piles.
- Poor or Low fibre diet can also disrupt the digestion system making it harder to pass stool. This results in the buildup of intra-abdominal pressure, leading eventually to piles.
- Excessive consumption of coffee and sweetened beverages has also shown to cause haemorrhoids.
- Lifting heavy weights also leads to an increase in intra-abdominal pressure, which can lead to haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids can be both internal and external and while they aren’t a major health hazard, they can make life extremely cumbersome and frustrating. Although piles are not what one could describe as interesting, the abovementioned facts can certainly help arouse the people’s interest and awareness regarding this disorder.