What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen and twisted veins in the lower rectum and anus. They may be internal or external. Hemorrhoids may be caused by factors such as straining during bowel movements, prolonged sitting, chronic diarrhea or constipation, being overweight or obese, pregnancy, or adopting a diet that lacks fiber.
Symptoms usually occur when the hemorrhoids become enlarged or inflamed, and can include:
- Bleeding during bowel movements (bright red blood without pain)
- Itching or irritation in the anal area
- Pain or discomfort
- Swelling around the anus
- Appearance of sensitive or painful lumps
- Black or tarry stools
- Bloody stools
In some cases, an adjustment of lifestyle habits may be sufficient to help alleviate symptoms, while for others, medical intervention may be required. Doctors may recommend the following treatment options depending on the patient's condition:
This includes local medications such as suppositories or creams, as well as increasing intake of dietary fiber and fluids, and taking part in bowel retraining. These treatment methods may help alleviate symptoms of mild hemorrhoids.
This includes procedures such as ligation, excision surgery, and stapled hemorrhoidopexy. Excision surgery and stapled hemorrhoidopexy are typically recommended for patients with more severe conditions, or for those who do not see improvement with conservative treatment.