Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed vein sacs at the anal opening that cause pain and bleeding. There are some that sit right outside of the anus (External Hemorrhoids) and there are some just inside the anus (Internal Hemorrhoids). They both can cause pain but usually the internal ones bleed. The internal ones also can prolapse out and cause more pain and difficulty cleaning.
Causes & Risk Factors
Patients of all ages can develop symptoms from hemorrhoids that can lead to decrease quality of life. Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the rectum, by straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy or childbirth, obesity, heavy lifting, sitting for prolong periods of time, and a low-fiber diet are all considered possible causes of hemorrhoids.
The three cardinal symptoms of hemorrhoids are rectal pain, itching, and bleeding. Not in that order and in-fact it maybe one or more than one symptom. There is also the fourth symptom that some people may get that is seepage and difficulty cleaning the perianal area.
There are three different approaches of treating hemorrhoids. The least invasive is topical treatment, over the counter or prescription medicine. Although this does not get rid of the hemorrhoids, it does temporarily shrink hemorrhoids and relieves symptoms.
Second approach is slightly invasive but well tolerated. This involves office procedure that the surgeon visualized the hemorrhoids and ties the base of it off with a special rubber band and this causes the hemorrhoid to auto-amputate in 4-5 days. It is well tolerated with minimal post-procedure symptoms.
Third option is surgical excision of hemorrhoids which is the most invasive approach. It does involve outpatient operative room procedure. It involves significant post-operative pain that usually improves in 7-10 days. It is a good procedure for patients with significant hemorrhoid disease that are large and not amenable to any another type of treatment.
At West Valley Colon and Rectal Surgeons, we believe in treating patient with the least invasive approach if possible, and we will review all your options and discuss the pros and cons of every procedure and make sure that you have all the information to make informative decision.
If someone thinks they have hemorrhoids, what should they do? Can they be treated with over the counter treatment?
The most important thing about hemorrhoids is to make sure it is hemorrhoids and not something more serious. It is important to see one of the surgeons at West Valley Colon and Rectal Surgery Center to fully evaluate you with office exam and possible colonoscopy to make sure there is nothing more serious.
If it is only hemorrhoids then you may try over the counter hemorrhoidal topical treatments or suppositories to get relief, If you still continue to have symptoms we can help you to tailor the best treatment remedy that suits your expectations.