Hemorrhoids

Definition
Hemorrhoids occur when tissues and veins within the anus become swollen or inflamed. This condition can either happen inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or around the anus (external hemorrhoids). People often get them if they strain too hard to pass bowel movements. As a result, they may end up with hemorrhoids and uncomfortable symptoms such as bleeding or itching. Fortunately, hemorrhoids are a very common condition that can be treated with various conservative methods and minimally invasive procedures.

Causes
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the rectum. Straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy or childbirth, anal intercourse, obesity, and a low-fiber diet are all considered possible causes of hemorrhoids.

Risk Factors
With age, hemorrhoidal tissue becomes weak and has difficulty supporting veins within the anus and rectum. As a result, patients over the age of 50 have a much higher risk of developing hemorrhoids than younger individuals. However, even though they are more common in pregnant women and people over the age of 50, hemmorhoids can happen to anyone. Other risk factors may include alcoholism, anal intercourse, lack of physical activity, a diet high in fat and low in fiber, and loss of pelvic floor muscle strength due to pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, and more.

Symptoms
Patients with internal and external hemorrhoids experience different symptoms, so depending on the location of the hemorrhoids, patients may experience:

  • Pain or discomfort before, during, or after bowel movements
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Blood in stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl
  • A mass around the anus that is sensitive or painful to the touch
  • Stool leakage/unexpectedly releasing stool

Treatments
Our physicians believe in using a comprehensive approach to treating hemorrhoids. This means that we don't just isolate the problems and treat the symptoms. Instead, we use a number of different approaches to treat the condition and make sure patients don’t have recurring hemorrhoids. 

Our team may recommend a combination of conservative therapies, lifestyle modifications, medications, or minimally invasive procedures. In regard to lifestyle and home remedies, patients may find relief when using over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, soaking in warm baths frequently, avoiding dry toilet paper, or applying a cold compress to the anus.

Other treatment options administered by a physician include rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation, hemorrhoidectomy (hemorrhoid removal), and hemorrhoid stapling. It is important to note that, while home remedies may provide temporary relief, it is likely that symptoms will recur until hemorrhoids are removed.

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