Conditions

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, often called piles, are swollen veins that occur in the rectum or around the anus. They 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:

  • 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. These are typically the most painful.

Treatment is varied and widely accessible due to their regularity in the medical field. Therefore, there are several routes that a doctor can take when hemorrhoids are diagnosed, depending on their location. Internal hemorrhoids are known to be treated with a procedure called infrared coagulation (IRC). This procedure is minimally invasive and uses infrared light to shrink the hemorrhoid over the next few days. IRC is a great option for eligible patients, as it involves a low risk of pain, and no sedation is required. In fact, most patients can have this procedure done during lunch and then return to work the same day.

Hemorrhoids can also be treated through rubber band ligation, which injects and shrinks the hemorrhoid. Patients can also undergo a simple surgery to remove thrombosed hemorrhoids that are causing acute or prolonged pain.

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