Hemorrhoids

What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are veins, normally present in and around the anus and lower rectum, that have become swollen due to stretching under pressure.

Hemorrhoids may develop as a result of repeated straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, heredity, aging, and chronic constipation or diarrhea.

What are the symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
The following are the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids:

  • Bright red blood present on the stool, toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl
  • Irritation and pain around the anus
  • Swelling or a hard lump around the anus
  • Itching

How are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?
The presence of blood in the stool can be indicative of other digestive disorders, including colorectal cancer, so thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis is important. Diagnosing hemorrhoids may include:

  • Physical examination
  • Digital rectum examination (DRE)
  • Anoscopy
  • Proctoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Colonoscopy

How are Hemorrhoids Treated?
Medical and surgical treatments are available for hemorrhoids, depending on the individual and severity.

Medical treatment of hemorrhoids is aimed at relieving symptoms and may include the following:

  • Sitting in plain, warm water in the tub several times a day
  • Ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Application of hemorrhoidal creams or suppositories
  • Increasing fiber and fluids to soften stools

Several surgical techniques are used to remove or reduce internal and external hemorrhoids. These include the following:

  • Rubber band ligation
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Electrical or laser coagulation or infrared photocoagulation
  • Hemorrhoidectomy

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