Indy Gastro | Colonoscopy, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, endoscopy

Hemorrhoids

Definition

The normal veins present just inside the rectum and in the area of the anus are called hemorrhoidal veins. When they become irritated as the result of constipation, diarrhea, or straining, they become dilated and are called hemorrhoids.

Causes

Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids. Normally, tissue inside the anus fills with blood to help control bowel movements. If you strain to move stool, the increased pressure causes the veins in this tissue to swell and stretch. This can cause hemorrhoids.

Complications

Thrombosis and Pain

Symptoms of external hemorrhoids may include painful swelling or a hard lump around the anus that results when a blood clot forms. This condition is known as a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.

Bleeding

The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl.

Itching and irritation

Excessive straining, rubbing, or cleaning around the anus may cause irritation with bleeding and/or itching, which may produce a vicious cycle of symptoms. Draining mucus may also cause itching.

Treatment

Topical Medications/Lifestyle changes

Most hemorrhoids can be controlled with topical creams or ointments and with the addition of fiber to one's diet to prevent constipation or diarrhea and to keep the stool in a formed soft consistency. If medical treatment is unsuccessful, surgery is an option.

Surgery

Ligation: Your internal hemorrhoids are severe, you may need other treatment. The doctor may tie off the hemorrhoids with rubber bands or scar the tissue around the hemorrhoids. These treatments reduce the blood supply to the hemorrhoids so that they shrink or go away.

Prevention

Healthy habits can help you prevent hemorrhoids or keep them from getting worse. Eat foods that have lots of fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, drink plenty of water, and get plenty of exercise. Maintaining ideal body weight may also help prevent hemorrhoids.

Summary

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. This common problem can be painful, but it’s usually not serious. Symptoms include rectal bleeding usually seen on tissue with bowel movement, itching and rectal pain.

Organizations

  1. American Gastroenterological Association - www.gastro.com
  2. American College of Gastroenterology - www.acg.gi.org
  3. American Liver Foundation - www.liverfoundation.org

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