Hemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in the rectum or anus, leading to discomfort and bleeding, often caused by factors like straining during bowel movements, obesity, and pregnancy. 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.
They can cause a variety of symptoms, and the severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the type and degree of hemorrhoids. Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
Hemorrhoids develop when there is increased pressure on the veins in the rectal and anal area. The most common causes and risk factors associated with the development of hemorrhoids include:
Diagnosing hemorrhoids typically involves a medical evaluation by a healthcare professional. If you suspect you have hemorrhoids or are experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding, pain, or discomfort, here's how the diagnosis process generally works:
It's important to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have hemorrhoids, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding. While hemorrhoids are often manageable with conservative measures, a healthcare provider can guide the most appropriate treatment and help rule out other more serious conditions with similar symptoms.
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.
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 in Concord, NC 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, and takes less than a minute, and 99 percent of patients can avoid surgery using this technology.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 for those aged 45 and older, to screen for colorectal cancer or to detect the cause of unexplained rectal bleeding.
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 several factors including the size.