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Home » Conditions » Hemorrhoids



Hemorrhoids are swollen veins that occur in the rectum or around the anus. Hemorrhoids, sometimes called piles, are extremely common, occur for a variety of reasons, and can be effectively treated in a number of ways. Some of those affected will never suffer from symptoms, while others will experience itching, pain, and bleeding, especially when passing stool. Veins around the anus stretch or swell when under pressure; therefore, hemorrhoids occur for many reasons. The following are a few common reasons that a patient may develop hemorrhoids:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Prolonged trips to the bathroom
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • A diet lacking in fiber

As people age, they become more susceptible to hemorrhoids as their veins become more fragile. Most patients will never know exactly why they are experiencing hemorrhoids or the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany them:

  • Bleeding, especially during bowel movements
  • Itching and irritation near the anus
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling
  • A tender lump near the anus

These symptoms will vary, depending on the location of the hemorrhoid. For example, internal hemorrhoids occur within the rectum, and typically cause no pain or swelling, but will bleed. However, an external hemorrhoid will become irritated and painful, and can even pool blood, forming what is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are typically the most painful.

Treatment for hemorrhoids is varied and widely accessible due to their regularity in the medical field. Therefore, there are several routes that our doctors can take when hemorrhoids are diagnosed, depending on their location. If your hemorrhoids produce only mild discomfort, your doctor might suggest over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories or pads. These products contain ingredients such as witch hazel, or hydrocortisone and lidocaine, which can temporarily relieve pain and itching. Do not use over-the-counter steroid cream for more than a week, unless directed by your doctor. If your hemorrhoids produce extreme pain, your doctor may refer you out to a colorectal surgeon that specializes in hemorrhoids to discuss removal the several options available for removal, i.e. rubber band ligation and laser removal.

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At Digestive Health Specialists, with our office located in Scottsdale, Arizona, the physicians are experienced in diagnosing and treating a variety of gastrointestinal issues. For expert care, call us.
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