Hemorrhoids


Hemorrhoids are a very common problem, with swollen veins in the anal canal causing pain and discomfort.

Causes

Hemorrhoids result from increased pressure in the veins of the anus. The pressure causes the veins to bulge and expand, making them painful – especially while sitting.

Risk Factors

Increased pressure leading to hemorrhoids can be caused by:
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Anal infections
  • Other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis

Symptoms

  • Anal itching
  • Anal ache/pain when sitting or during bowel movements
  • Bright red blood on toilet paper, stool or in toilet
  • One or more hard, tender lumps near anus

Diagnostic Tests

A doctor can often diagnose hemorrhoids simply by examining the rectal area. If necessary, these tests may help diagnose the problem:
  • Stool guaiac (shows the presence of blood)
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Anoscopy

Treatment

The following home treatments are helpful for reducing symptoms:
  • Over-the-counter corticosteroid creams to reduce pain/swelling
  • Hemorrhoid creams with lidocaine to reduce pain
  • Witch hazel to reduce itching
  • Stool softeners
  • Sitz baths (sit in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes)
  • Cotton undergarments
  • Toilet paper without perfumes or dyes
If these treatments prove ineffective, a doctor can apply heat treatment (infrared coagulation) to shrink internal hemorrhoids. If severe pain or bleeding persists, surgery may be necessary.

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