Hemorrhoids are inflamed and irritated veins inside the lower rectum. Although nobody mentions hemorrhoids at parties, about half of Americans experience hemorrhoids at least once in their lifetime.
They often appear in women who are pregnant, and they’re more likely to appear with age or in people who suffer from chronic constipation.
If you suspect you have them, read on. Below, we asked our experts at Carolina Digestive Health Associates to explain when hemorrhoids need medical attention.
Depending on where a hemorrhoid is located, either in the body or outside of the body, you may experience symptoms such as painful bowel movements, blood in the stool, itchiness, and swelling around the anus.
External hemorrhoids are more likely to cause itchiness, especially when the sufferer is sitting down. Internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding and blood in the stool.
However, keep in mind that pain and bleeding can also be indicative of other problems, such as anal fissures or even anal cancer. Therefore, it’s worth seeing a specialist if you’re experiencing pain and seeing blood in your stool. Anal cancer is rare, but when it’s found early, it’s often treatable.
Small hemorrhoids can go away on their own. For example, in pregnant women, hemorrhoids often disappear after birth.
Homecare treatments for smaller hemorrhoids include having regular bowel movements to avoid straining while on the toilet, using over-the-counter ointments, and soaking in warm water to relieve inflammation.
Larger hemorrhoids that cause pain and inflammation may require treatment, especially if pain and bleeding are involved. Left untreated, hemorrhoids can cause anemia due to blood loss or blood clots.
Our experts will look at your medical records and ask you a few questions about your habits and lifestyle to see if any of your current activities or conditions could be contributing to your hemorrhoids. For example, if you suffer from chronic constipation, treating your constipation will likely result in the disappearance of your hemorrhoids as well.
For large hemorrhoids that are bothersome, we have a simple yet effective solution: hemorrhoid banding. Our experts use a band to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoids, causing them to die off. The procedure isn’t painful, nor does it involve any downtime.
If you suffer from hemorrhoids and are experiencing symptoms such as pain and bleeding, contact us to schedule an appointment and get quick relief.