ooh. yucks. hemorrhoids (haemorrhoids to the British spelling folks).
Unpleasant as they are, there are four grades of hemorrhoids:
First degree haemorrhoids are merely visible vessels, second degree lesions prolapse with defecation but return spontaneously, third degree lesions prolapse and require manual replacement, and fourth degree lesions remain prolapsed out of the anal canal despite attempts to reduce them.
I observed a hemorroidectomy today (July 5th, 2000). This lady had these three bulging areas of skin in her anal canal. They were excised and removed by cautery. The consultant who performed the operation said that he eschews rubber band treatment for hemorroids because it often does not work properly and it causes quite a bit of anal pain.
Haemorrhoids are common. Constipation and any other source of increased intra-abdominal pressure increases the risk of developing haemorrhoids. It has been surmised that the incidence of haemorrhoids is lower in Asian countries because of the higher fibre content of the food there, as a high fibre diet leads to less problems with constipation.