Hemorrhoids occur when the veins around the anus and/or rectum dilate. There are two types of hemorrhoids:

  • External hemorrhoids are dilated veins covered by the skin near the anal opening. They may be felt as bumps or lumps near the outside of the anus, and become painful when they are swollen with blood.
  • Internal hemorrhoids are dilated veins that form inside the rectum and above the anal opening, and are therefore “internal”. However, in some situations they may enlarge and protrude (prolapse) out of the anus.

While external hemorrhoids can be concerning, patients shouldn’t worry. The condition is common and easily treatable.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can develop for any of the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Anal intercourse
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of hemorrhoids are the same.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

As previously stated, symptoms are usually associated with external hemorrhoids only. The most common symptoms are itching and bleeding. Other symptoms may include:

  • Anal pain
  • Anal discomfort
  • Anal lumps
  • Anal swelling
  • Leaky, watery stool

When any of these symptoms are chronic, we recommend a consultation with a physician.

Hemorrhoid Treatments and Care

Over-the-counter (OTC) creams, ointments, and suppositories can be given to relieve symptoms. Most of these medications contain hydrocortisone, which stops itching and decreases pain.

In cases where a blood clot has formed, a physician might make a small incision over or around the hemorrhoid to let the blood out.

In cases where hemorrhoids are abnormally large, surgery might be needed to remove the hemorrhoid. A procedure known as a hemorrhoidectomy removes the hemorrhoid and takes surgical steps to ensure the hemorrhoid doesn’t return.

Hemorrhoid Prevention

Eating a proper diet is the best way to prevent hemorrhoids. By consuming adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, patients ensure that their stool remains soft and their veins don’t dilate or fill with blood.

Hemorrhoid Doctor

If you have signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids, make an appointment to see of Digestive Healthcare of Georgia’s seven office locations. We offer a large variety of techniques for the treatment of hemorrhoids.