Hemorrhoid Banding FAQ


What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins and blood vessels in the anus and lower rectum. Classified as internal or external, hemorrhoids have numerous causes, including constipation, straining, pregnancy, etc. When untreated, hemorrhoids can be very painful.

What happens if you have a bowel movement with a hemorrhoid?

To help avoid straining and prevent additional pain, we recommend the following: stool softeners, hemorrhoid wipes and over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams. Consult your GI specialist if hemorrhoids persist, or to learn more tips for defecating with a hemorrhoid.

What is the difference between internal hemorrhoids vs external hemorrhoids?

Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum and cannot typically be seen or felt. External hemorrhoids, however, occur under the skin surrounding the anus and often cause pain and discomfort.

Is it safe for me to push my hemorrhoid back inside?

Prolapsed hemorrhoids may stretch down until they are visibly bulging outside of the anus. If it does not go back inside on its own, you may be able to gently push it back inside. It is best to check with your GI specialist first.

What are some home treatments to quickly shrink a hemorrhoid?

These home remedies may provide relief:

  • Topical treatments
    Over-the-counter creams or suppositories containing hydrocortisone may help. You can also try a wipe/pad with witch hazel or another numbing agent.
  • A high-fiber diet
    Consuming more fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help to soften the stool and allow it to pass more easily. This will help prevent the uncomfortable straining that can worsen symptoms. Be sure to increase fiber slowly to prevent excessive gas.
  • Warm bath or sitz bath
    Soak your anal area in plain warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times a day if possible. A sitz bath fits over the toilet and can be helpful in reducing symptoms.
  • Oral pain relievers
    Acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and aspirin can provide temporary relief.

Does exercise make a hemorrhoid worse?

While activities like walking, swimming and yoga can help improve circulation and stimulate regular bowel movements, other exercises may worsen hemorrhoid symptoms. Weightlifting, strength training work-outs and other exercises that require you to push while exhaling are not recommended. 

Can my hemorrhoids be completely removed?

Hemorrhoid banding is an effective way to remove hemorrhoids, and the procedure is much less invasive than surgery. In fact, very few patients require hemorrhoidectomies, the surgical removal of a hemorrhoid. This procedure is not only more painful, but requires a longer recovery time.

Which is more effective: hemorrhoid banding or surgical hemorrhoid removal?

Hemorrhoid banding is a non-surgical procedure that results in relatively little pain. It is a permanent solution and is typically tried first as an alternative to surgery.

Surgical hemorrhoid removal is only recommended for more extreme cases. Patients will experience some pain and discomfort, often requiring a longer recovery period than those undergoing hemorrhoid banding.

What is a sitz bath?

A sitz bath may be prescribed as an at-home remedy to relieve pain. A sitz bath uses a special basin, similar to a bedpan, that fits over your toilet, allowing you to soak the rectal area in a few inches of warm water. 

Is it normal for my hemorrhoid to bleed?

Yes, a small amount of blood is normal, but significant bleeding should be reported to your GI specialist immediately. Keep in mind that bleeding may increase with bowel movements, or in the first 48 to 72 hours following your surgical hemorrhoid removal. Also, passing blood clots should be reported to your doctor.

Can I return to normal activity like work and exercise after my hemorrhoid banding?

As long as your job does not involve heavy lifting, most patients can return to work after the procedure. If you experience any pain or discomfort, try a pain reliever like acetaminophen. 

What should I be eating if I’m trying to naturally remove my hemorrhoid?

A high-fiber diet and proper hydration can help soften stool and encourage regular bowel movements. Try to incorporate foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains – and drink at least 8 cups of water a day.

What should you eat after hemorrhoid banding?

After your hemorrhoid banding procedure, your GI specialist may suggest that you stick to clear liquids for the first day – such as broth, juice and clear soda. In the days that follow, add fiber-rich foods. Avoid foods that commonly cause constipation, like processed foods, dairy and red meat.

When can you drive after a hemorrhoid banding procedure?

Arrange for someone to drive you home from your hemorrhoid banding procedure. If you experience pain in the following days, or are taking medication, it is best to avoid getting behind the wheel.

When should you get a hemorrhoid banding procedure?

Your Charleston GI specialist may suggest hemorrhoid banding for patients with large hemorrhoids that are not responding to non-surgical treatment. Lifestyle and diet changes are often suggested first, but if they are ineffective, banding is an effective solution.

Are hemorrhoids permanent?

Hemorrhoids are not typically permanent, but they may persist or occur often. Your GI specialist can help provide much-needed relief.

Will my internal hemorrhoid disappear on its own?

Small, minor hemorrhoids may go away on their own or require nothing more than at-home remedies. More severe hemorrhoids, though, may require medical treatment.

How long do hemorrhoids take to shrink?

With home remedies, most hemorrhoids shrink within a week or so. If your hemorrhoids persist or worsen, contact your GI specialist to prevent any complications.

Can hemorrhoids be a sign of cancer?

Hemorrhoids can cause rectal bleeding, a symptom that can also be associated with certain kinds of cancer. If you experience rectal bleeding, schedule an appointment with your GI specialist to rule out a more serious condition.

What happens if a hemorrhoid bursts?

You may experience relief if a hemorrhoid bursts on its own. It is normal for some bleeding to occur. Be sure to clean the area to prevent infection and promote healing.

What foods trigger hemorrhoids?

Low-fiber foods may cause constipation and increase your risk for hemorrhoids. Avoid the following:

  • Dairy (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.)
  • Red meat
  • Processed foods (pizza, frozen meals, fast food, etc.)

Should I try to pop a hemorrhoid?

No, trying to pop a hemorrhoid yourself can worsen your condition or result in infection. Consult your GI specialist to learn more about at-home remedies. 

Do hemorrhoid pillows help ease the pain?

Hemorrhoid pillows (donut pillows) may provide temporary relief for minor hemorrhoids, but they may actually make hemorrhoids worse. Prolonged sitting is not recommended, especially if you are suffering from prolapsed or inflamed hemorrhoids.

What is a thrombosed hemorrhoid vs a hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum. A thrombosed hernia occurs when a blood clot forms within the hemorrhoid. While not dangerous, thrombosed hernias are often painful.

What causes thrombosed hemorrhoids?

Increased pressure on the veins of the anus and rectum may cause thrombosed hemorrhoids. Types of pressure include:

  • Straining when having a bowel movement
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Pregnancy and/or labor
  • Prolonged sitting (plane rides, long trips, etc)

Who can get a hemorrhoid?

Anyone can develop a hemorrhoid. In fact, about three out of four people will experience hemorrhoids in their lifetime – but only 4% will require a visit to the doctor. Hemorrhoids most frequently affect men and women between the ages of 45 and 65.

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