Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus. They result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to swell, making them painful, particularly when you are sitting.
The most common cause is straining during bowel movements. Hemorrhoids may also be caused by constipation, sitting for long periods of time, anal infections, and diseases like liver cirrhosis.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
A doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids simply by examining the rectal area. If necessary, tests that may help diagnose the problem include:
Stool Guaiac Test - detects the presence of blood in feces
Sigmoidoscopy - a fexible tube with a small camera attached at the end is placed through the anus to examine the rectum
Anoscopy - once a digital rectum exam is done, a lubricated instrument (anoscope) with a light on the end is place a few inches into the rectum to help the doctor see the netire anal canal
Treatments for hemorrhoids include:
You should try to wear cotton undergarments and avoid toilet tissue with perfumes or colors. Try baby wipes instead. Avoid scratching the area. Sitting in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes might also help.
If your hemorrhoids do not get better with home treatments, you may need a type of heat treatment to shrink the hemorrhoids. This is called infrared coagulation. This may help avoid surgery.
Surgery that may be done to treat hemorrhoids includes rubber band ligation or surgical hemorrhoidectomy. These procedures are generally used for patients with severe pain or bleeding who have not responded to other therapy.
The blood in the swollen vein may form clots, and the surrounding tissue can die. Surgery is often needed to remove hemorrhoids with clots. Severe bleeding may also occur. Iron deficiency anemia can result from long-term blood loss. Significant bleeding from hemorrhoids is unusual, however.
Constipation and straining during bowel movements raise your risk for hemorrhoids. To prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, you should: