Although a frequently neglected area of health care, more than half of the population is afflicted with hemorrhoids. While the signs and symptoms may come and go, it is best to treat the underlying source to prevent the condition from worsening.
Causes and Symptoms
Hemorrhoids are cushions of swollen tissue and blood vessels in the lower rectal area. Problems occur when, over time, they loosen and push into the anal canal cause itching, pain, swelling and bleeding. Hemorrhoids can occur for a number of reasons, including constipation, straining, low fiber diet and pregnancy, and can be unpleasant if left untreated.
There aren’t many good home remedy options for the treatment of hemorrhoid symptoms because the relief they provide is only temporary and they don’t eliminate the root issue causing the pain, itching, burning and discomfort.
An effective treatment for internal hemorrhoids, hemorrhoid banding offers patients a permanent and painless solution to the discomfort and recovery time associated with other hemorrhoid removal options.
Our board-certified gastroenterologists offer a permanent solution to the problems associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures through a process called hemorrhoid ligation (or banding) with the CRH O’Regan System. This disposable hemorrhoid removal procedure is safe, painless, takes less than a minute and 99 percent of patients are able to avoid surgery using this technology.
Tips to Reduce Discomfort
- Avoid constipation by increasing the amount of fiber and liquids in your diet. Stool softeners may also be helpful to avoid constipation.
- Avoid sitting on the commode for more than two minutes to prevent excessive straining. If you can’t have a bowel movement in that time, come back later.
- Take a 15-minute sitz bath (a warm bath with a tablespoon of table salt added) three times per day and after each bowel movement if possible. Gently dry your bottom.
- Avoid prolonged sitting or other activities that will increase the pressure on your bottom. If you work at a desk all day, get up and take breaks whenever you can.
- There are many creams or suppositories for hemorrhoids, but they have limited benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are among the most common medical conditions diagnosed by medical professionals. Hemorrhoids affect approximately 1 in every 20 people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and do not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or race.
Who is at risk of developing hemorrhoids?
Any person, both young and old, can develop hemorrhoids at any stage of life. There are, however, certain risk factors associated with an increased risk of developing hemorrhoids, such as pregnancy, extreme obesity, consuming a low fiber diet, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, lifting heavy objects too frequently, and straining excessively while having a bowel movement.
Are there different types of hemorrhoids?
There are three commonly reported types of hemorrhoids including:
- External hemorrhoids: External hemorrhoids are the result of swollen veins beneath the skin outside of the anus. These can lead to extreme pain, itching, swelling, and even bleeding.
- Internal hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids affect the veins inside the rectum, which is the area that connects your colon to your anus. Internal hemorrhoids are not usually painful, however, they may cause some bleeding.
- Prolapsed hemorrhoids: A prolapsed hemorrhoid occurs when a hemorrhoid, whether internal or external, bulges or is stretched outside of the anus resulting in severe pain and bleeding.
Can I treat hemorrhoids at home?
Yes! Hemorrhoids are more often than not treated at home by using over-the-counter creams to help with pain and itching. In addition, many people have found comfort from consuming a high-fiber diet, regularly using a stool softener, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying well hydrated throughout the day, as well as avoiding sitting on the toilet for too long or straining while attempting a bowel movement.
When should I see a doctor for hemorrhoids?
It is recommended to consult a physician if you experience hemorrhoid symptoms for more than one week following at-home treatment. Bleeding is commonly a result of internal, external, and prolapsed hemorrhoids. However, bleeding can also occur from a wide variety of other conditions, which is why a physician may need to run some testing to determine the direct cause of bleeding.
Do hemorrhoids lead to cancer?
Hemorrhoids are not the direct cause of cancer, nor do they increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Physicians recommend having a routine colonoscopy, especially those aged 45 and older, to screen for colorectal cancer or to detect the cause of unexplained rectal bleeding.
Is surgery ever done for hemorrhoids?
Yes, one of the surgeries performed to remove hemorrhoids is called hemorrhoidectomy, whereby the surgeon slices the hemorrhoids away by making small cuts around the anus to slice them away. Hemorrhoidopexy, or stapling, is another type of hemorrhoid surgery involving anesthesia.
Other surgical procedures to remove hemorrhoids include banding, sclerotherapy, Coagulation therapy, and hemorrhoidal artery ligation (HAL).
The type of surgical procedure you and your doctor decide on involves a number of factors including the size, grade, and type of hemorrhoid you have, along with the discomfort you are having with your hemorrhoid.