How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider diagnoses hemorrhoids based on symptoms and a physical exam. You may also have:
- Digital rectal exam: Your provider inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum to feel for swollen veins.
- Anoscopy: Your provider uses an anoscope to view the lining of the anus and rectum.
- Sigmoidoscopy: Your provider uses a sigmoidoscope to view inside the lower part of the colon and rectum. Procedure types include flexible sigmoidoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy .
These tests may be uncomfortable but arent painful. They typically take place in a doctors office or outpatient center without anesthesia. You go home the same day.
Your provider may perform a colonoscopy to confirm findings from other tests or check for signs of colon cancer. This outpatient procedure requires anesthesia.
Research And Statistics: Who Gets Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women, affecting about 1 in 20 Americans. The most common time to get hemorrhoids is between ages 45 and 65. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women.
By age 50, about half of us have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms, such as itching, bleeding, and rectal pain. At any given time, about 10 million Americans roughly 4 percent of adults have hemorrhoids. Its estimated that 75 percent of Americans will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Causes Of Internal Hemorrhoids
In some cases, hemorrhoids can be an unavoidable issue associated with aging.
Hemorrhoids can develop any time there is an extra degree of pressure on the rectum. Some sources of this strain include:
- Constipation and diarrhea: These conditions both put stress on the rectal area, either by straining too much in the case of constipation or by frequent bowel movements in the case of diarrhea. These issues can often be resolved with diet and lifestyle changes but may also be associated with other conditions like IBS and IBD.
- Unhealthy diet: A diet that is high in fat and/or low in fiber can affect our bowel movements, causing constipation or diarrhea. As described above, this can put pressure on the rectum and increase time sitting on the toilet.
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Many women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy due to the increased pressure on the pelvis that a growing fetus can cause. Straining during childbirth can also result in hemorrhoids.
- Obesity: People who are obese are at a higher risk of developing both internal and external hemorrhoids because of increased pressure around the rectum and because obesity may be associated with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Long periods of sitting: Regular activity is an important aspect to prevent hemorrhoids and other anorectal health issues. Sitting for long stretches can put undue strain on your rectal area.
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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.
Get Help For Your Hemorrhoids
Five years ago, childbirth brought Loriel Adams of Tampa, FL, a bundle of joy in the form of a baby boy. But it also brought painful hemorrhoids that she’s been dealing with ever since.
“I had an epidural. I couldn’t feel anything, so I was pushing in the wrong ways. And I think that’s what flared it up,” she says.
While hemorrhoids may seem embarrassing, almost everyone deals with them at some point in their lives. Lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments can bring relief.
Luckily, hemorrhoids usually clear up on their own in a week or two. And when they don’t, your doctor can help.
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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.
Keep Your Bowels Moving
“The most important thing is to make sure you’re not constipated and having to bear down when you go to the bathroom,” Ramas says. Constipation can both lead to hemorrhoid flare-ups and make them last longer.
Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water — not alcohol and caffeine. These tend to dehydrate, which is the opposite of what you want.
“I found out that dairy was a huge culprit for me,” Adams says, “so I cut it out a little bit, and I had good results.”
Add fiber to your diet with fresh fruit, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and bran. “It’s about fueling your body appropriately and giving yourself the nutrients that your body needs to function effectively,” Ramas says. Your doctor might also want you to take psyllium husk supplements.
Exercise can help keep you regular, too.
And when you feel the need to go, don’t wait. “You want to have a bowel movement as quickly and efficiently as possible,” she says.
Adams used a foot stool that wraps around the toilet to put her in a squatting position. “It’s like an ergonomic way to poop,” Ramas says. “If that helps some people, that’s definitely OK.”
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What Are Hemorrhoids Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment And Prevention
Hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen veins around the outside of the anus or in the lower rectum. The rectum is the last part of the bowel and leads to the anus, the opening at the end of the bowel where fecal matter leaves the body.
Everyone has hemorrhoidal tissue in this area thats made up of blood vessels, connective tissue, and some muscle. These cushions dont always become enlarged or distended, but as we age, this phenomenon becomes more common causing what we call hemorrhoids, also known as piles.
Hemorrhoids can be caused in a number of ways, most commonly by straining to make a bowel movement. Lifting heavy objects, along with other activities that may cause straining, can also lead to hemorrhoids. Experiencing increased pressure during pregnancy and being overweight are other contributing factors.
Hemorrhoids may be painful and particularly bothersome if they are recurrent, but they’re not dangerous or life-threatening, and symptoms usually go away within a few days. There are plenty of effective ways to treat them, as well as options for the less common types of hemorrhoids that may be more problematic.
How To Treat Hemorrhoids
The good news: Hemorrhoids arent hard to treat. Your first line of defense is to try an over-the-counter cream, ointment, or suppository that contains the steroid hydrocortisone. This hemorrhoid treatment drug helps reduce inflammation, pain, and itching.
If your symptoms dont clear up within about a week, make an appointment with your primary care doctor, says Gina Sam, M.D., director of the Gastrointestinal Motility Center at the Mount Sinai Hospital. You may need a prescription medication that contains a combination of hydrocortisone and lidocaine to better control your swelling and pain.
Hemorrhoids still giving you pain? Ask your doctor to refer you to a gastroenterologist or proctologist. The specialists can treat severe cases of hemorrhoids or any complications, such as a blood clot, persistent bleeding, or a prolapse. In these scenarios, you may have to undergo a minimally invasive or surgical procedure to shrink your hemorrhoids.
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What Causes External Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of external hemorrhoids is repeated straining while having a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids develop when the veins of the rectum or anus become dilated or enlarged and can be either internal or external. External hemorrhoids are usually found beneath the skin that surrounds the anus.
There is a range of symptoms that can affect a person with hemorrhoids. Symptoms tend to vary depending on the severity of your hemorrhoids. Some of the symptoms that you may have include the following:
You may notice bleeding when using the bathroom. This includes seeing blood on toilet paper or in the toilet. Lumps around the anus may feel as if they are swollen.
These symptoms may also occur because of other conditions. But if you experience these symptoms, you should schedule an exam with your doctor.
Who Is At Risk For External Hemorrhoids
If your parents have had hemorrhoids, you may be more likely to have them as well. Hemorrhoids may also be caused by pregnancy.
As we age, hemorrhoids can occur due to increased pressure caused by sitting a lot. And anything that causes you to strain during bowel movements can lead to external hemorrhoids.
If youre not sure what the cause of your hemorrhoids may be, your doctor might be able to determine why.
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What Causes Hemorrhoids To Itch What Causes Hemorrhoids To Hurt What Causes Hemorrhoid Burning
First of all, do not be scared if one fine day you wake up and start feeling like your hemorrhoids hurt like no other day or it starts itching or worse, it starts to feel like burning. This is a serious situation but you definitely do need to take some precautions so that this does not happen. Above all, do not be scared!
It causes itching when any internal hemorrhoid prolapses and it brings new mucus that tends to irritate the sensitive area around the anal. This can cause an itchy feeling. The itching can increase if the mucus mixes with the stool and comes out during the bowel movement. Inflamed hemorrhoids can cause to swell up and mix with the mucus. This sensation can be defined as burning or itchy.
Hemorrhoid starts to hurt when any blood clot is formed inside the external hemorrhoid. This pain cannot be predicted, and it is severe and sudden. You may feel the lump or see the same around your anus. The blood clot dissolves, leaving a little extra skin. Internal hemorrhoids can painless, even if they start bleeding. However, in any case, it is always best to consult a doctor.
What Causes Bad Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of bad hemorrhoids is repetitive pressure and straining while having a bowel movement. This is caused due to severe cases of constipation or diarrhea. Straining while passing stool gets in the way of the blood flow in that specific area. This results in enlargement of the hemorrhoids and in certain cases, it can cause the hemorrhoids to go bad and severe. These hemorrhoids result in excessive pain- pains that are sudden. In such situations, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor and follow the medicinal procedure to cure the same.
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Worsened By Coughing Sneezing And Vomiting
Irritated hemorrhoid pockets can be caused or worsened by coughing, sneezing, and vomiting frequently. The actions of coughing, sneezing, and vomiting involves the simultaneous contraction of muscles in the chest, abdomen, and pelvic region. Rather than staying contracted for longer periods like when moving heavy furniture, these muscles contract and relax in a spasmodic manner due to the nature of coughing, sneezing, and vomiting. The spasmodic spikes in force on the muscles of the lower pelvis and perianal area can cause the pressure of blood against the walls of the blood vessels to become elevated. The blood vessel walls in the hemorrhoid pockets can become weak and flaccid as a result of the blood pressure spikes that occur in the region when the individual coughs, vomits, or sneezes. The force from simultaneous multiple muscle group contraction causes pectin band to squeeze the anal components, producing effects similar to a tourniquet around the blood vessels and hemorrhoid pockets. The tourniquet effect combined with weakened blood vessel walls causes blood to accumulate in the vessels that make up the hemorrhoid pockets. Because of repeated sphincter spasms, an individual affected by pre-existing hemorrhoid irritation from a different underlying cause can experience worsening symptoms when they cough, vomit, or sneeze.
Why You Get Hemorrhoids: You Don’t Get Enough Fiber And Water
Anything that limits your time in the bathroom and makes your stools more pliable is a good thing, says Dr. Bernstein. Fiber has been touted endlessly as a make-you-go tool, and for good reason: Fiber adds bulk to your digestive system, shortening the time it takes for waste to travel through the colon.
Water, too, speeds the process by keeping your intestines smooth and flexible.
Ideally, your poop should be soft and easy to pass, Dr. Bernstein says. Check out the Bristol Stool Chart for some insight on how you rate.
Anything that involves having to push is usually an indication that youre not as hydrated as you could be, adds Dr. Bartlett.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend on the type you have.
If you have external hemorrhoids, you may have
- anal itching
- one or more hard, tender lumps near your anus
- anal ache or pain, especially when sitting
Too much straining, rubbing, or cleaning around your anus may make your symptoms worse. For many people, the symptoms of external hemorrhoids go away within a few days.
If you have internal hemorrhoids, you may have
- bleeding from your rectumbright red blood on stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
- a hemorrhoid that has fallen through your anal opening, called prolapse
Internal hemorrhoids that are not prolapsed most often are not painful. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may cause pain and discomfort.
Although hemorrhoids are the most common cause of anal symptoms, not every anal symptom is caused by a hemorrhoid. Some hemorrhoid symptoms are similar to those of other digestive tract problems. For example, bleeding from your rectum may be a sign of bowel diseases such as Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, or cancer of the colon or rectum.
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Symptoms Of Thrombosed External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids can be felt as bulges at the anus, but they usually cause few of the symptoms that are typical of internal hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids can cause problems, however, when blood clots inside them. This is referred to as thrombosis. Thrombosis of such a hemorrhoid causes an anal lump that is
- very painful,
- tender, and
- often requires medical attention.
The thrombosed hemorrhoid may heal with scarring, and leave a tag of skin protruding in the anus. Occasionally, the tag is large, which can make anal hygiene difficult or irritate the anus. Even after such a hemorrhoid goes away, a residual skin tag may remain, and this may need to be surgically removed.
Causes Of Hemorrhoids In Pregnancy
Pregnancy is another major cause of hemorrhoids. When a woman is pregnant, the growing fetus can put more pressure on the blood vessels in the rectal area. Changes in her hormonal levels can make her blood vessels work harder, causing swelling and irritation.
Hemorrhoids after birth or because of pregnancy are usually temporary. However, its worth keeping in mind if youre planning a family.
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Types Of Hemorrhoids: Internal And External
Hemorrhoids are either internal or external.
Internal Hemorrhoids These hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum and are not usually visible to the naked eye. Internal hemorrhoids generally don’t hurt, but they often bleed painlessly.
In some cases, internal hemorrhoids may protrude through the anus and can be seen, which is known as becoming prolapsed. When this happens, they will usually shrink back inside the rectum on their own or can be pushed back in.
External Hemorrhoids These hemorrhoids develop under the skin around the outside of the anus. These are the most uncomfortable hemorrhoids and can be itchy or painful, and may feel lumpy. When a blood clot forms within an external hemorrhoid, this is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid, which can result in severe, ongoing pain. Sometimes clots dissolve on their own, but if they dont, your doctor can remove the clot, a procedure thats most effective if done within 72 hours of the clot forming.