Hemorrhoidsillustration of hemorrhoids

Facts about hemorrhoids:

  • Hemorrhoids are one of the most common problems known

  • More than half the population will develop hemorrhoid problems

  • Millions of American suffer from hemorrhoid problems

  • Many suffer from hemorrhoids for a long time before seeking treatment

  • There are many treatments for hemorrhoids, not all requiring surgery

Hemorrhoids are veins that are located at the opening of the anus. These veins fill up with blood with bowels movements to help "cushion" the bowel movement. With time these veins dilate up and can begin to stick out from the anus. There are 2 different types of hemorrhoids. External (outside) hemorrhoids are covered with skin and develop blood clots. This leads to inflammation and pain. Internal (inside) hemorrhoids swell up and break, causing bleeding. Because these are located on the inside, they have no pain fibers and usually do not cause pain. Hemorrhoids do not lead to cancer.

No one knows why hemorrhoids develop in some people over others, but we do know that the development of hemorrhoids is associated with:

  • Age

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea

  • Pregnancy

  • Overuse of laxatives or enemas

  • Excessive straining with bowel movements

Symptoms of hemorrhoid problems can include:

  • Bleeding

  • Protruding mass from anus

  • Painful mass

  • Itching

There are many different treatments for hemorrhoids. Not all hemorrhoids require surgery. In fact, the majority of patients may be able to be treated with conservative (non-operative) treatment of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids problems are not life-threatening. Mild to moderate hemorrhoid problems may be treated with increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. Sitz baths (sitting in a tub of warm water for 10 – 15 minutes) may help to decrease swelling and discomfort. Topical ointments, such as Preparation-H and Tucks pads, may also help to decrease swelling and discomfort. Occasionally, surgery to remove the clot may be needed if the pain persists. Mild to moderate symptoms usually improve over a few days, but may take up to 6 weeks to completely resolve.

Severe hemorrhoid problems may require more invasive procedures. These may include rubber band ligation, injection, coagulation or complete surgical removal of the hemorrhoids. Your surgeon will be able to tell you the best options for your specific type of hemorrhoid problems.

The content on this site is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.

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