What are Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins in the anus and/or lower rectum become enlarged or swollen. Enlargement of these veins generally occurs when there is increased pressure in the lower rectum or anal canal. Hemorrhoids are a common problem experienced by many of my patients in the Fort Worth, TX area, but they are usually not serious.
The location of the swollen veins dictates the classification type. There are 2 types of hemorrhoids:
• Internal Hemorrhoids – Originate in the rectum. Since there are minimal pain fibers inside the rectum, internal hemorrhoids rarely cause pain.
• External Hemorrhoids — Originate in the anus and reside underneath the skin around the anus. Pain fibers are present in this area and can result in extreme discomfort.
Should I see a Doctor for a Hemorrhoid?
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below in the next section you should be evaluated by a doctor. Since hemorrhoid related symptoms could be representative of a more serious digestive condition, you should see a doctor to rule out those possibilities.
TIP: All bleeding is abnormal. While hemorrhoids are often a common cause of rectal bleeding, you need to be evaluated by a physician to eliminate other causes and more serious medical conditions.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of hemorrhoid and it is not uncommon to have both internal and external hemorrhoids at the same time. Here is a list of common symptoms and the type of hemorrhoid associated with each:
- Bleeding from the anus (internal)
- Anal itching (internal or external)
- Anal pain (external)
- One or more protruding hard lumps near your anus (external)
- A sense of rectal fullness (internal)
- Stool leakage or soiling (internal)
- Prolapse (tissue coming in and out of the rectum) (internal)
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the lower rectum and anus. Factors causing hemorrhoids to occur include but are not limited to:
- Constipation or straining during bowel movements
- Sitting for long periods of time
- A low-fiber or low-fluid diet
The treatment recommendations for those suffering from hemorrhoids in the Fort Worth, TX area will vary depending upon the type and severity of the hemorrhoids. Your doctor will recommend the best option based on your condition.
Common treatments are:
- Eat high fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids. Doing so will help to soften the stool, which will lessen straining/pressure when evacuating the stool.
- Soak in a warm bath 10 minutes up to 3 times a day to help relieve pain and pressure.
- Use topical medications like creams and ointments to relieve itching and pain.
- Rubber band ligation (hemorrhoid banding). During this non-surgical procedure, small rubber bands are used to cut off the supply blood to the hemorrhoids so they will shrink. This is a painless procedure that is done in the office and only takes a few minutes.
- Hemorrhoid surgery or heat/laser ablation