Hemorrhoids occur when the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated. Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. About half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
You may get hemorrhoids if you:
- Often strain during bowel movements
- Have a family history of hemorrhoids
- Are older
- Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea
Many women get hemorrhoids during pregnancy and childbirth. The pressure of carrying a baby in your belly puts extra stress on the blood vessels in your pelvic area. Straining to push the baby out when giving birth also puts extra pressure on these blood vessels.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Bright red blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in your toilet bowl
- Pain and irritation around your anus
- Swelling or a hard lump around your anus
Hemorrhoid symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
The main goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms. This may be done by:
- Sitting in plain, warm water in a bathtub several times a day
- Using ice packs to reduce swelling
- Using hemorrhoid creams or medicines inserted into your rectum (suppositories)
- Taking stool softeners or fiber supplements
Your healthcare provider may also suggest that you take stool softeners or fiber supplements and add more fiber and fluids to your diet to help soften your stools. Having softer stools means you don’t have to strain during bowel movements. This reduces the pressure on your hemorrhoids.
In some cases, surgery is needed. There are several types of surgeries used to remove or reduce internal and external hemorrhoids.
Crozer Health offers hemorrhoid banding for when conservative treatments, such as rest, elevation and medicated creams and ointments, do not provide effective relief. Hemorrhoid banding using the patented CRH O’Regan System® offers a non-surgical, generally painless and highly effective treatment that can be performed in the office without the need for preparation, fasting or sedation.
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Gastroenterologists at Crozer Health are trained in some of the latest technologies and procedures to diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and digestive conditions.