Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that are located in and around the anus, the anal canal and the rectum. These veins are engorged with blood They can be located internally along the wall of the anus and the lower portion of the intestines. These types of hemorrhoids are called internal hemorrhoids.
They can also protrude from inside through the opening of the anus and rectum. These types of hemorrhoids are called external hemorrhoids. It is possible for a person to have either one of both types of hemorrhoids at the same time.
What causes hemorrhoids? There are several different reasons that people get hemorrhoids. This is a very common occurrence with pregnant women. They usually get hemorrhoids during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy due to the added pressure on the pelvic area. This is due to the baby growing and added weight gain during the pregnancy. Another cause of hemorrhoids in women is straining to push during childbirth. This can cause hemorrhoids to form in the anal canal and rectum.
Other causes for hemorrhoids include people who live a sedentary lifestyle. People who sit for prolonged periods of time are more prone to developing hemorrhoids. Chronic constipation can cause the formation of hemorrhoids. Straining to have bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids as well. People who are overweight are also more prone to having hemorrhoids than those who are at a healthy weight.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include pain and itching around the rectal area and the anus. Other symptoms include pain in and around the rectal area including painful bowel movements. Bright red bleeding that can either be noticed in the toilet after having a bowel movement is another problem that can be associated with hemorrhoids. There can be blood on the tissue paper when wiping after a bowel movement when hemorrhoids are present.
Some of the complications that can be involved with hemorrhoids include the fact that blood clots can form in the veins that have become hemorrhoids. If this happens the tissue around the hemorrhoid can die due to lack of blood circulation. Other complications can include anemia due to blood loss if the blood loss is significant in nature. Rectal bleeding can be a sign of other serious illness such as colon cancer. If this occurs, this issue needs to be evaluated by a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis of hemorrhoids can be made by a physician by doing a rectal exam. A physician may want to do further testing to rule out more serious disease such as colon cancer by doing either a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Laboratory testing may be done to evaluate the amount of blood loss and to rule out anemia. The physician can then offer treatment options that are appropriate for the severity of the patient’s condition.
Treatment for this condition depends on the severity of the hemorrhoids themselves. If the hemorrhoids are mild in nature and there has not been severe blood loss, conservative treatment is usually successful. This includes adding foods to the diet that are high in fiber such as fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains such as wheat and oats. It is also important to increase the water intake to help soften the stool content. Fiber supplements can also be utilized for this purpose. Laxatives and stool softeners can be used to help relieve the need to strain during bowel movements and constipation if needed as well as soften the stool content.
Other treatment for hemorrhoids includes using over the counter topical steroid creams to reduce the amount of inflammation and size of the veins that have caused the hemorrhoids. The cream can also reduce the amount of pain and itching that is involved with hemorrhoids as well. If these conservative treatments are not successful or hemorrhoids are more severe, a physician can offer other treatment such as surgical procedures that can help remove them.
There are two surgical procedures that are widely accepted practices to remove hemorrhoids. These procedures are the rubber banding technique and the hemorrhoidectomy. In the rubber banding technique, the surgeon places rubber bands around the hemorrhoids which cuts off the blood supply to them. They then shrink until they no longer exist. A hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes the hemorrhoids. The physician also evaluates and removes or stops any cause of bleeding during the procedure as well.
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