Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. This common problem can be painful, but its usually not serious.

Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids. Diarrhea or constipation also may lead to straining and can increase pressure on veins in the anal canal.

Normally, tissue inside the anus fills with blood to help control bowel movements. If you strain to move stool, the increased pressure causes the veins in this tissue to swell and stretch. This can cause hemorrhoids.

Pregnant women can get hemorrhoids, this is because of increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area. Straining during labor can worsen hemorrhoids symptoms.

Being overweight can also lead to hemorrhoids.

The most common symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids include:
  • Bleeding during bowel movements. You might see streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper after you strain to have a bowel movement.
  • Itching.
  • Rectal pain. It may be painful to clean the anal area.
  • Difficulty with anal hygiene. Frequent and multiple wiping.
You can have both types at the same time. The symptoms and treatment depend on which type you have.

With internal hemorrhoids, you may see bright red streaks of blood on toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after you have a normal bowel movement. You may see blood on the surface of the stool.

External hemorrhoids can get irritated and clot under the skin, causing a hard painful lump. This is called a thrombosed, or clotted, hemorrhoid.

Diet is important in the treatment for hemorrhoids. A diet rich in high-fiber foods and low in processed foods is helpful. Increasing fluid intake to six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day also is important. Many hemorrhoid sufferers find relief with dietary changes alone.

If symptoms persist, we may suggest one of the following procedures. Many can be performed in our office.
  • Banding - Prolapsed hemorrhoids are often removed using rubber-band ligation. A special tool secures a tiny rubber band around the hemorrhoid, shutting off its blood supply almost instantly. Within a week, the hemorrhoid shrivels and falls off.
  • Coagulation or cauterization - Using either an electric probe, a laser beam, or an infrared light, a tiny burn painlessly seals the end of the hemorrhoid, causing it to close off and shrink. This is most useful for bleeding hemorrhoids.
  • Surgery - For large internal hemorrhoids or extremely uncomfortable external hemorrhoids (such as thrombosed hemorrhoids), a traditional surgery, called hemorrhoidectomy, may be warranted.