Swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus that may be internal or external.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus that may be internal (located inside the lower rectum) or external (under the skin around the anus).
What causes hemorrhoids?
- Straining to move your bowels
- Sitting too long on the toilet
- Pregnancy and childbirth
What are the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids?
- Painless bleeding
- Itching or pain in the anal region
- Protrusion of internal hemorrhoid through the anus
Treatment options and prevention
In many cases treating hemorrhoids involves steps you can take on your own.
- More Fiber: Eat more fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals and drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. Your doctor may also recommend a fiber supplement.
- Good Hygiene: Cleanse the anal area gently after each bowel movement. Avoid excessive wiping
- Comfort measures: Consider cold packs, tub baths or warm soaks (warm sitz bath)
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting
- Avoid straining
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge
In cases where internal hemorrhoids have fallen outside of the anus (prolapsed) or bleed excessively, your doctor may recommend procedural treatments such as:
- Band ligation
- Increased medical therapy
When to seek medical advice?
See your doctor if your hemorrhoids don't improve with self care, cause pain or bleed frequently or bleed excessively.
American Gastroenterological Association