- Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal.
- Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include bleeding during bowel movements, anal itching, and pain.
- Most hemorrhoids can be treated at home with over-the-counter products such as creams, ointments, and suppositories or use pads containing witch hazel.
- If hemorrhoids are severe, you may need to see a doctor for treatment.
Hemorrhoids are a common problem that many people experience but often don’t want to talk about.
They are swollen veins in the rectum or anus and can be caused by many different things, such as pregnancy, obesity, straining during bowel movements, and more.
While hemorrhoids may not be dangerous, they can be extremely painful and itchy.
The good news is that there are many different treatments available for hemorrhoids, both home remedies and medical treatments.
Today we’re going to talk about hemorrhoids, what causes them, and some of the different treatment options available.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids (or piles) are swollen veins in the rectum or anus.
They can be internal, meaning they’re inside the rectum, or external, which means they’re under the skin around the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are usually not painful but can bleed.
For instance, you might see blood on the toilet paper after having a bowel movement.
External hemorrhoids are usually more painful.
They can cause anal itching, bleeding, and discomfort when sitting.
What causes hemorrhoids?
There are several things that can cause hemorrhoids:
- Constipation: This means having hard stools that are difficult to pass.
- Straining during bowel movements: Straining puts extra pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum.
- Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester when the uterus puts extra pressure on the pelvis.
- Prolonged sitting on the toilet: This can happen if you’re constipated or have chronic diarrhea.
- Being obese: This increases the pressure on your veins.
- Eating a low-fiber diet: This can lead to constipation.
- Aging: The tissues that support the veins in your anus and rectum can weaken with age.
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
If you have symptoms of hemorrhoids, your doctor may do a physical exam to look for swollen blood vessels in your anus and rectum.
They may also do a digital rectal exam, which is when they insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your anus to feel for any abnormalities.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a hemorrhoid sigmoidoscopy, which is a procedure that allows them to look inside your rectum with a small camera.
If they suspect that you have hemorrhoids, they may also recommend a colonoscopy to rule out other causes of your symptoms, such as colorectal cancer. (3)
Home treatment options for hemorrhoids
You have a few options for treating hemorrhoids:
- Eat high-fiber foods: This can help make your stools softer and easier to pass. Examples of high-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Topical treatments: These are applied directly to the hemorrhoids. Some topical treatments include creams, ointments, or pads that contain hydrocortisone or witch hazel.
- Sitz baths: A sitz bath is a warm water bath that you can do at home to soothe hemorrhoids.
- Pain relievers: over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help relieve pain from hemorrhoids.
Keep reading: 13 Natural Remedies For Hemorrhoids
If home treatments haven’t worked, or if your hemorrhoids are large and very painful, you may need medical treatment.
Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following:
- Rubber band ligation: This is when the doctor puts a rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. (4)
- Sclerotherapy: This is when the doctor injects a chemical solution into the hemorrhoid to shrink it. (5)
- Hemorrhoidectomy: This is surgery to remove the hemorrhoids. It’s only recommended for severe cases. (6)
Hemorrhoids are a common problem that can cause pain, itching, and bleeding.
If you think you have hemorrhoids, talk to your doctor.
They can help you find the best treatment option for you.