Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Hemorrhoids
Written by d. Donna Powell and Dr. Renee M. Marchionne Peri V Gastro MD
Hemorrhoids are varicose veins in the lower rectum and anus. There are two main types of hemorrhoids – internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids.
Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum. While painless, internal hemorrhoids tend to bleed, and people spot them when they notice small amounts of bright red blood in the toilet along with the toilet paper. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are a more serious form of internal hemorrhoids. With a prolapsed hemorrhoid, the veins push through the anus and are out of the body, often from straining while going to the bathroom.
External hemorrhoids occur under the skin around the anus and may cause pain or discomfort. Because there is swelling around the anus, it will itch or irritate. There may also be some bleeding. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are an acute form of external hemorrhoids that can be very painful. These occur when blood collects in an external hemorrhoid, forming a clot and a hard, swollen mass near the anus.
Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhoids
The main causes of hemorrhoids include straining on the toilet, excess weight, pressure on the bowels, and chronic constipation or diarrhea. You’re also more likely to develop hemorrhoids if you’re overweight, carry heavy things regularly, and eat a diet low in fiber. Therefore, changing your diet, lifestyle, and bathroom habits is vital to help prevent hemorrhoids.
If you suspect you may have hemorrhoids, it is essential to get your condition diagnosed and treated properly so that you can avoid potential complications. While complications are rare, hemorrhoids may cause infection, skin tags, anemia, or blood clots, or worsen into a strangulated hemorrhoid.
Hemorrhoids can be diagnosed based on symptoms and a physical examination, including a digital rectal exam, anoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy. Once diagnosed, your doctor will likely prescribe something for pain and inflammation. You can drink more water to relieve your symptoms, which will help you avoid straining when you use the bathroom, allowing you to pass stools more easily. Your doctor may also recommend that you take laxatives if you are constipated and increase your fiber intake. To soothe the discomfort and itching, soak in a sitz bath for 10-20 minutes daily.
When home remedies or diet changes don’t work and symptoms get so bad that they cause severe pain or interfere with daily life, your doctor may recommend treatments such as rubber band ligation, electrocoagulation, infrared coagulation, or sclerotherapy. There are also surgical hemorrhoid treatments, such as hemorrhoidectomy, which remove prolapsed hemorrhoids or large external hemorrhoids. Another surgical procedure for hemorrhoids is hemorrhoid stapling, which involves a stapling instrument that can pull a prolapsed hemorrhoid back into the anus and hold it in place or remove an internal hemorrhoid.
It is important to know that some of the symptoms that indicate hemorrhoids are similar to other conditions, such as bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer. If you suspect your symptoms are not hemorrhoids but something else, see your healthcare provider. Contact Gastro MD It is a cutting-edge clinical gastroenterology practice that sets the standards in digestive health care.