When Do Hemorrhoids Require Medical Intervention
Your hemorrhoids can be an embarrassing topic to discuss with anyone, even your doctor. But hemorrhoids are common and affect 5% of adults in the United States every year, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Its estimated, in fact, that as many as three in four adults will experience problems with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Though you can find many treatments for hemorrhoids at your local pharmacy, home remedies dont help everyone. At Rivas Digestive Center, located in Hollywood, Florida, our expert gastroenterologist, Dr. John Rivas, wants you to know when its time to get medical help for your hemorrhoids.
Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented
You can help prevent hemorrhoids by:
- Eating foods that are high in fiber
- Taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement
- Drinking enough fluids every day
- Not straining during bowel movements
- Not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Personal Stories About Treating Hemorrhoids
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I have had hemorrhoids for many years, but they have never bothered me much. Once in a while they hurt or bleed, and I know that it’s time to pay more attention to my diet and drink some extra water. My new doctor and I talked about them during my last visit. She asked if I had ever considered having them treated, and we talked about the pros and cons of my options. I decided that since they don’t bother me very much, and because I know what to do if they flare up, I will just keep managing them as I have been. I can always have treatment later if they get worse.
John, age 40
Because I sit all day at work, my hemorrhoids can be a big inconvenience. I get plenty of fibre and water in my diet, but they are still bothering me. My doctor and I agreed that it would be reasonable for me to try the rubber band treatment. I will still have to watch what I eat and drink to keep my stools soft, but I hope that the treatment will take care of most of the pain so I can be more comfortable at work.
Genevieve, age 50
Ricardo, age 38
Barbara, age 47
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Hemorrhoids: Dangers Treatments And Prevention
Hemorrhoids, or “piles,” are swollen, inflamed anal tissue
To help prevent them, drink lots of water and increase your fiber intake
Hemorrhoids have plagued mankinds derrieres for centuries.
Its said that French leader Napoleon Bonapartes rectal protrusion caused him such pain during the Battle of Waterloo that it affected his ability to lead, ultimately costing him victory.
Hippocrates pioneered many of the surgical techniques used today to address hemorrhoids, or more accurately piles, which is the name for a swollen, inflamed hemorrhoid. The word hemorrhoid actually refers to cushions of tissue that line the anal canal. We all have them, as they are responsible for bolstering and tightening the anal canal and sphincter muscle that keep us from leaking unmentionables when we cough or sneeze.
But those tissues break down, and by the time we are 50, over half of us will have suffered at least one episode of this itchy, burning, often excruciating life event. Despite that, the subject of hemorrhoids is not one that we often speak about, even away from the dinner table.
Just what causes these pains in our buttocks? Are they dangerous? What treatments are available? And if youve ever had one, youll quickly agree this is the most important question: How do you prevent hemorrhoids from happening?
Herbal And Home Remedies
In addition to OTC and prescription medicated suppositories, you can make and use alternative suppositories. These are designed to provide comfort and relief, but they dont have active ingredients to reduce swelling, irritation, and pain.
Coconut oil suppositories can be used with hemorrhoids. These are formed by freezing coconut oil in small cylinders. When youre ready to insert the suppository, you can remove one and quickly insert it into the rectum.
The cooled oil provides instant relief. Coconut oil may also provide prolonged relief due to potential anti-inflammatory properties.
You can also make your own laxative suppositories. Combine mineral oil and a solid oil, such as coconut oil or cocoa butter. Freeze into cylinders, and remove one when youre ready to insert.
Mineral oil is absorbed by the body and can help ease stool through your intestines.
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Severe Cases Of Infected Hemorrhoids
For severe and rare cases, the tissue around the anus can die . It is important to not allow the infection to become this dangerous.
If you have extreme, unmanageable pain and overly excessive bleeding in your rectal area, let your doctor know immediately.
When complications of hemorrhoids are concerned, its crucial to be aware of what is normal and what is not normal for this fairly common condition.
The more informed you are about hemorrhoids, the less risk of having complications that can lead to worse issues.
What Causes Internal And External Hemorrhoids And Simple Ways To Treat Them
Hemorrhoids are usually caused by increased pressure due to pregnancy, being overweight, or straining during bowel movements. By midlife, hemorrhoids often become an ongoing complaint. By age 50, about half the population has experienced one or more of the classic symptoms, which include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse . Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a recurrent and painful intrusion. Fortunately, there’s a lot we can do about hemorrhoids.
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What Causes External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids are when one or more tender bumps form beneath the skin surrounding your anus. These are dilated blood vessels that have become so enlarged that they protrude.
Blood may clot, or thrombose, inside the protruding blood vessel. This can form a hard lump and cause considerable pain in some cases.
External and internal hemorrhoids are caused by many of the same factors. These include:
- Straining while pooping. The most common cause of external hemorrhoids is repeated straining while having a bowel movement. This is often caused by severe cases of constipation or diarrhea. Straining makes blood pool in the area.
- Sitting on the toilet for a long time. This can also put pressure on the tissues around your rectum and anus.
- Weakened support tissues. As you age, the tissues tend to weaken around the anus and rectum.
- Pregnancy.Pregnant people may also be at an increased risk of hemorrhoids because of the increased pressure of the abdomen on these veins.
- Obesity. Having excess weight has been associated with having hemorrhoids.
- Heavy lifting. You may have a higher risk of hemorrhoids if you frequently lift heavy objects.
- Not eating enough fiber. A low fiber diet may lead to constipation, which can cause hemorrhoids.
A range of symptoms can affect a person with external hemorrhoids. Symptoms vary depending on the severity. Some of the symptoms that you may have include:
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids may go away after a few days, according to the
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If you cant manage to eat that much fiber, consider a fiber supplement. Several popular choices come in powder form that you add to 8 ounces of water but be sure to drink another eight glasses of water or other fluids each day. Sorry, alcohol doesnt count!
Other than water and fiber, what else can you do? Avoid sitting too long studies show that it can be as bad for you as cigarettes, as well as bad for your bowels. Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. And while doing your business, never strain or push!
Finally, exercise. Its key to keeping your digestive system flowing and helps to lose weight that might be putting pressure on your veins.
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What Are The Types Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can happen inside or outside the rectum. The type depends on where the swollen vein develops. Types include:
- External: Swollen veins form underneath the skin around the anus. Your anus is the canal where poop comes out. External hemorrhoids can be itchy and painful. Occasionally, they bleed. Sometimes they fill with blood that can clot. This is not dangerous, but can result in pain and swelling.
- Internal: Swollen veins form inside the rectum. Your rectum is the part of the digestive system that connects the colon to the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may bleed, but they usually arent painful.
- Prolapsed: Both internal and external hemorrhoids can prolapse, meaning they stretch and bulge outside of the anus. These hemorrhoids may bleed or cause pain.
Increasing Your Fibre Intake
You can gradually increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating foods including:
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
Commercial fibre supplements are also available and can be useful if you think you are not getting enough of the above foods in your diet.
Make sure you increase your fibre gradually so your digestive system has time to adapt.
Its also important to increase your fluid intake at the same time. This is because fibre in the stools acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture from the body. Try to drink lots of water. Cutting down on sugary drinks will also help you to cut down on calories that cause weight gain.
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General Concepts Of Hemorrhoidal Ligation
In the 1950s, Blaisdell described a new technique for the ligation of bleeding internal hemorrhoids which can be performed in the office without the need for hospitalization. This new concept was based on the fact that internal hemorrhoids are easily accessible, practically devoid of pain and thus, suitable for outpatient treatment. In addition, during this period, injection therapy was an alternative to surgery, but without any controlled destruction of hemorrhoidal tissue. The technique of office ligation of internal hemorrhoids was later modified and simplified using rubber bands by Barron in the 1960s. Since then, rubber band ligation was established as one of the most important, cost-effective and commonly used treatments for first- to third-degree internal hemorrhoids, causing fibrosis, retraction, and fixation of the hemorrhoidal cushions.
When compared to other non-surgical methods, like sclerotherapy and infrared coagulation, RBL has better long-term efficacy, requiring fewer sessions for treatment, although with a higher rate of post-treatment pain. Hemorrhoidectomy showed better response rates, but it was associated with more complications, time off work and pain than RBL. RBL should be considered as a first-line therapy for first- to third-degree internal hemorrhoids commonly indicated for bleeding and/or prolapsing. Surgical therapy can be considered in the presence of an important external component, thrombosis or recurrence after repeated banding.
Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Hemorrhoid Creams
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Hemorrhoid Treatment In A Doctors Office With Or Without Surgery
Medical procedures may be needed for hemorrhoids that dont go away with home treatments.
Painful external hemorrhoids can be excised during an office visit following a shot of local anesthetic to numb the area.
For internal hemorrhoids, a few office procedures may be considered. In rubber band ligation, the most common hemorrhoid procedure performed in the United States, the doctor places a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off the hemorrhoid’s blood supply. The hemorrhoid typically shrinks and falls off within about a week, though several quick follow-up visits may be required to completely get rid of the hemorrhoid.
Other procedures include sclerotherapy, in which a chemical injected into the hemorrhoid causes scar tissue to form, shrinking the hemorrhoid and infrared coagulation, in which an intense beam of infrared light causes the scar tissue to form, cutting off the blood supply and shrinking the hemorrhoid.
If you have a large external hemorrhoid, both internal and external hemorrhoids, or an internal hemorrhoid thats prolapsed , a surgical operation called a hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary, though few patients require this procedure.
Another option that aims to reduce postoperative pain is a stapled hemorrhoidopexy, in which a device pulls the hemorrhoidal tissue upward and to its normal position, stapling it in place.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Hemorrhoids
You may be more likely to get hemorrhoids if other family members, like your parents, had them.
Pressure building up in your lower rectum can affect blood flow and make the veins there swell. That may happen from:
- Pushing during bowel movements
- Anal sex
People who stand or sit for long stretches of time are at greater risk, too.
Complications Of Internal Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids are located on the inside of the rectum, beneath the mucous membrane.
They are veins that aid in the control and release of stools, transportation of blood vessels, and are essential in the functionality of the lower rectum and bowel movements.
The good news is if you suffer from internal hemorrhoids, the only indication of their inflammation and presence is the painless bleeding that occurs after a bowel movement.
A hard stool can tear and disrupt the inner lining of the rectum, causing a tear, and this can result in the hemorrhoids reacting through inflammation.
There are, however, some complications that can arise from internal hemorrhoids. Sometimes, your internal hemorrhoid can become prolapsed or prolonged.
This means that your hemorrhoid will fall through the anal opening. This prolapsed hemorrhoid can cause complications, one of which is the collection of bacteria from stool particles that further induces itching, making the condition much worse.
If you have a prolapsed hemorrhoid, consult your doctor right away.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids rarely cause pain unless they prolapse. Many people with internal hemorrhoids dont know they have them because they dont have symptoms.
If you have symptoms of internal hemorrhoids, you might see blood on toilet paper, in stool or the toilet bowl. These are signs of rectal bleeding.
Signs of external hemorrhoids include:
- Itchy anus.
- Hard lumps near the anus that feel sore or tender.
- Pain or ache in the anus, especially when you sit.
- Rectal bleeding.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable. You may be able to feel them bulging outside the anus and gently push them back inside.
What Are Some Other Side Effects Of This Drug
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
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How Long Do Hemorrhoid Symptoms Last
If your hemorrhoids are small, your symptoms may clear up in a few days without treatment. You may also need to make simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Some internal hemorrhoids become so enlarged that they stick out of the anus. These are called prolapsed hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can take longer to heal and may require treatment from a doctor.
Some women will develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This is because the increased pressure in your abdomen, especially in the third trimester, may make the veins in your rectum and anus larger.
Pregnancy hormones may also make it more likely for your veins to swell. If you develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, your symptoms may last until you give birth.
Essential Orgs For Hemorrhoid Information
This site provides a comprehensive review of what hemorrhoids are, what causes them, and how to treat them. In cases when pain is severe and hemorrhoids aren’t healing with at-home treatment, in-office treatment by a healthcare provider is necessary. This can involve surgical and nonsurgical options.
The Mayo Clinic offers trusted guidance on symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hemorrhoids. You can also find answers to specific questions about home remedies and hemorrhoid treatment during pregnancy.
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Medical Treatment For Your Hemorrhoids
Dr. Rivas develops personalized hemorrhoid treatment plans after completing a thorough examination. The treatments we recommend may depend on the type of hemorrhoids, as well as your symptoms. Initially, we may suggest lifestyle changes to ease your pain, such as increasing your intake of fiber and water to improve bowel movements and sitz baths to alleviate pain and discomfort.
However, when at-home treatments fail, Dr. Rivas may suggest a procedure to destroy or remove your hemorrhoids, such as:
- Rubber band ligation
- Infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation