5 Things You Need to Know About Hemorrhoids
If you’re reading this article, it may be because you or someone you know is suffering from hemorrhoids. The best way to treat and relieve your symptoms now and prevent possible complications in the future starts right here where you may educate yourself about hemorrhoids as a medical condition. Our brief introduction covers these five key questions:
- What are hemorrhoids and how are they formed?
- How do I diagnose hemorrhoids?
- How do I treat for hemorrhoids now?
- When should I get a doctor involved?
- What can I do to keep hemorrhoids under control in the future?
What are Hemorrhoids anyway?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes Hemorrhoids as “swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum.” This means that hemorrhoids are caused by pressure and agitation of these veins. And according to the Encyclopedia of medicine, 75% of individuals will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Adults between the ages of 45 to 65 as well as pregnant women are most susceptible to hemorrhoids.
What are the types of Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are commonly classified as either external or internal depending on their location on the body. External hemorrhoids refer to those under the skin around the anus while internal hemorrhoids develop in the lower rectum, inside the body. Internal hemorrhoids may protrude or prolapsed through the anus, however, most of the time they shrink back inside the rectum on their own.
How Do I Describe Hemorrhoids to my Doctor?
Internal and external hemorrhoids have different types of symptoms, so describing them correctly is important in you receiving help and treating your condition. If you see bright red blood on stool, toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement, you may have internal hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids, which are internal hemorrhoids protruding through the rectum are painful, itchy and overall uncomfortable.
Blood clotting in the veins, also called thrombosis, is a characteristic of external hemorrhoids. You may feel painful swelling or a hard lump around the anus. Skin around the affected area can become irritated and itchy. You may experience bleeding and itchiness for days, but in most cases, these symptoms go away within a week.
How Will the Doctor Help me with my Hemorrhoids?
Our Los Angeles doctors are experts in hemorrhoid conditions and are truly passionate about helping their patients receive the appropriate attention and advice that will provide medical benefits immediately in into the long-term. To begin your examination, the doctor will look at the anus and rectum to determine whether you may have hemorrhoids or other conditions commonly associated with similar symptoms, fissures, abscesses, warts, or polyps. In addition to the physical exam, the doctor may perform a digital rectal exam with a gloved, lubricated finger and an anoscope. The anoscope, a hollow, light tube, gives doctors the chance to take a thorough look at the affected area. At any point in which you or someone you know notices bleeding, it is extremely important to have a thorough evaluation in case bleeding may be a symptom of other digestive diseases, including colorectal cancer.
How are Hemorrhoids Treated?
Diet and lifestyle changes will often reduce swelling and relieve hemorrhoid symptoms. Fiber helps your digestive system stay clean, making stools softer and easier to pass, reducing pressure on the anal veins. The American Dietetic Association recommends 25 grams of fiber daily for women and nearly 40 grams of fiber daily for men. Some other easy lifestyle changes include drinking between 50-100 ounces of water daily, taking a warm bath during the day, doing light exercise, and taking your time during bowel movements.
Sometimes, medical intervention may be necessary. We provide articles on our blog about the common outpatient treatments we offer in our Beverly Hills office or in a Los Angeles hospital: Rubber band ligation, Sclerotherapy. There are also several new surgical techniques that have been developed which have made considerable advances in the recovery from hemorrhoid surgery. It is best to discuss the different options, as well as the risks and benefits of each to decide what is the best treatment for your particular condition. Consider booking an appointment with your Los Angeles colorectal specialist today to ensure your physical health now and into the future.