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What Are Hemorrhoids?

Man having butt ache
Hemorrhoids are one of the most common issues that affect the rectum and anus. Most people will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their life, even if they do not know it.

Hemorrhoids are essentially blood vessels that have become enlarged. They do not typically pose a major health issue to the people who have them, but they can significantly impact the quality of your life, especially when they are painful.

This guide will help you better understand hemorrhoids whether you have had them your entire life or have just begun to experience the symptoms.

Types

The symptoms of the two types of hemorrhoids present quite differently in many cases. Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and diagnose you with one of these two types.

Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the anus. These hemorrhoids may not hurt, but they may still cause bleeding.

External hemorrhoids occur near the outside of the internal anal sphincter, where the anus is. This part of the body is especially sensitive. Typically, these hemorrhoids do not bleed unless they rupture.

Causes

Many factors contribute to hemorrhoids and their causes. Some people are at higher risk than others.

Age is a major factor in hemorrhoids. While hemorrhoids may still occur in young adults and teenagers, they become more common as you near your 50s.

People with chronic constipation or diarrhea are also at higher risk for this condition. The same applies if you spend a lot of time straining during bowel movements. Straining puts more stress on the blood vessels.

Pregnant women commonly experience hemorrhoids. When paired with a host of other symptoms, hemorrhoids can be especially painful. Pregnant women should speak with their doctors about these symptoms.

Symptoms

Not sure if you have hemorrhoids? The symptoms might make it clearer. Pay attention to any pain you experience when you have bowel movements, as this can indicate the presence of hemorrhoids.

Swelling of the rectum and bleeding during bowel movements are the two most common symptoms associated with hemorrhoids. Some patients can actually feel something protruding from the anus when they wipe.

Hemorrhoids can also be extremely itchy. If you notice yourself struggling to find relief, a doctor's visit is likely in order.

Treatments

Several types of treatment are available to treat hemorrhoids. They range from over-the-counter medications to surgical procedures.

Medications and ointments are available over the counter to combat hemorrhoids. You may be able to take pain relievers and apply ointments to ease the pain. Some patients also swear by using witch hazel to ease hemorrhoidal swelling.

In some cases, the doctor may wish to make an incision at the site of the hemorrhoid and allow a blood clot to drain. This process is called a thrombectomy. The process is uncomfortable but not overwhelmingly painful.

Another medical procedure can remove the hemorrhoids. Rubber band ligation and other forms of removal are minimally invasive and effective. Elastics are used to tighten the hemorrhoids until they fall off, often days later.

In rare cases, a doctor may opt to perform surgery to remove hemorrhoids. This technique is typically a last case scenario for individuals who do not respond well to other techniques.

Prevention

You can also take steps to prevent hemorrhoids from occurring in the future. For instance, you can incorporate more fiber into your diet. Fiber increases the bulk of your stool while also softening it. Individuals prone to hemorrhoids should also avoid spending long periods of time sitting on the toilet.

You should always see a doctor if you think you have hemorrhoids, but especially if you notice bleeding during bowel movements.

Colon & Rectal Surgery Associates, P.A., understands the pain you are experiencing. Call today to learn more about treatment options.
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