Hemorrhoids l Hemorrhoid
Surgery l Painless
Techniques l Laser
Treatment l Rectal
and Information l
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bother about 89% of all Americans at some time in their lives. Hemorrhoids
are enlarged veins that develop in the anal canal. This common condition
may be uncomfortable at times, but it rarely pose a serious problem.
tissue surrounding the inside of the anus, sometimes called "anal
cushions," fills with blood to help control bowel movements.
Hemorrhoids develop when excessive pressure or other factors cause
the veins within these cushions to swell and stretch.
everyone has hemorrhoids at some time. They can develop at any age,
but the incidence increases after age 30. About 50% of people over
age 50 have had hemorrhoids at some time in their life; the condition
is more common in white than in black people. 1
Hemorrhoids and Anal Fissures
hemorrhoids occur higher up in the anal canal, out of sight.
Bleeding is the most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids, and
often the only one in mild cases. View hemorrhoid gallery
for detailed photos.
hemorrhoids are visible-occurring out side
the anus. They are basically skin-covered veins that have ballooned
and appear blue. Usually they appear without any symptoms. When
inflamed, however, they become red and tender. View hemorrhoid gallery
for detailed photos.
internal hemorrhoids will come through the anal opening when straining
to move your bowels. This is called a prolapsed
internal hemorrhoid ; it is often difficult to ease back
into the rectum, and is usually quite painful. View hemorrhoid gallery
for detailed photos.
blood clot forms inside an external hemorrhoid, it often causes
Severe pain. This thrombosed external hemorrhoid
can be felt as a firm, tender mass in the anal area, about the size
of a pea. View hemorrhoid gallery
for detailed photos.
fissure . A thin slit-like tear in the anal tissue, an anal
fissure is likely to cause itching, pain, and bleeding during a
bowel movement. For more detailed information, view our page on
are the types of hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can develop
inside the anal canal (internal hemorrhoids) or near the anal opening
(external hemorrhoids). Both types can occur at the same time. The
symptoms, progression, and treatment differ depending on where hemorrhoids
hemorrhoids have four stages of severity. Bleeding may occur with
any of these.
degree: The hemorrhoid does not protrude from the anus.
Second degree: The hemorrhoid protrudes from the anus during a bowel
movement but spontaneously returns to the anal canal afterward.
Third degree: The hemorrhoid protrudes from the anus during a bowel
movement, but you can push it inside the anus with your finger.
Fourth degree: The hemorrhoid is always outside the anus and cannot
be pushed into the anal canal.
What causes hemorrhoids?
pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids.
As pressure increases, blood pools in veins and causes them to swell,
stretching the surrounding tissue and forming hemorrhoids.
women frequently develop hemorrhoids during the last 6 months of
pregnancy because of pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic
area. Being overweight also can contribute to developing hemorrhoids.
or persistent diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids if it causes too
much straining during bowel movements.
are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
hemorrhoids: External hemorrhoids can cause itching, burning, irritation,
or difficulty cleaning the anal area. You also might notice streaks
of bright red blood on toilet paper after straining to have a bowel
movement. If a vein inside an external hemorrhoid breaks because
of a sudden increase in pressure, blood may pool under the skin
and form a hard, painful lump. This is called a thrombosed, or clotted,
Internal hemorrhoids: Rectal bleeding is the most common symptom
of internal hemorrhoids. You may notice bright red streaks of blood
on toilet paper or bright red blood in the toilet bowl after having
a normal bowel movement. You may see blood on the surface of the
stool. Internal hemorrhoids can range from small, swollen veins
in the wall of the anal canal to large, sagging veins and tissue
that bulge out of the anus all the time. Internal hemorrhoids can
be painful if they protrude all the time and are squeezed by the
anal muscles, or if they are thrombosed, or clotted. You also may
see mucus on stool or toilet tissue from hemorrhoids that protrude.
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
of hemorrhoids is based on a medical history and physical exam,
which help a doctor identify the type of hemorrhoid-external or
internal-and determine the appropriate treatment.
If a doctor
thinks that hemorrhoids are the obvious cause of rectal bleeding
in a person younger than age 50, an examination with a gloved finger
(digital rectal exam) or a short lighted scope (anoscopy) are the
only tests needed for an initial evaluation.
are older than age 50, or if anoscopy does not provide a clear diagnosis,
a doctor may use a flexible sigmoidoscope to look at the lower third
of the colon or a colonoscope to examine the entire colon.
will evaluate symptoms of hemorrhoids to rule out other, more serious
are hemorrhoids treated?
hemorrhoids: Home treatment is recommended for most external hemorrhoids.
Treatment includes sitting in a warm bath (sitz bath) several times
daily, increasing fiber and water in the diet, and taking stool
softeners or laxatives. In rare cases, a hemorrhoid may burst and
a hard, painful lump forms under the skin. This is called a thrombosed
hemorrhoid. A doctor may remove the contents of the lump (incision)
or the entire lump (excision) to lessen the pain and speed recovery.
If the lump is not removed, the pain will gradually lessen after
about 3 days, even though the lump is still present.
Internal hemorrhoids: Most first-degree hemorrhoids can be treated
at home with the same measures used for external hemorrhoids. Generally,
second-degree hemorrhoids can be treated with nonsurgical procedures
such as tying off hemorrhoids with rubber bands (rubber band ligation);
scarring the tissue around them (coagulation therapy); or injecting
them with chemicals (injection sclerotherapy). Most third- and fourth-degree
hemorrhoids are removed surgically (hemorrhoidectomy).
Can you prevent hemorrhoids?
Are Hemorrhoids Prevented?
The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep stools soft so they
pass easily, thus decreasing pressure, and to empty bowels without
undue straining as soon as possible after the urge occurs. Exercise,
including walking, and eating a high fiber diet
, help reduce constipation and straining by producing stools
that are softer and easier to pass.
This web site is not intended to provide medical advice or to be a substitute for a visit to your own doctor. Registration for this web site does not create a doctor-patient relationship.