What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging veins in the anus or rectum. They are called external hemorrhoids if they occur outside the anus, or internal hemorrhoids if they are located inside the anus. Hemorrhoids are extremely common, and the risk of developing hemorrhoids increases with age. They are also common in pregnant women and in women who have recently given birth. These distended veins are usually caused by straining that occurs during a bowel movement. In rare cases, hemorrhoids can be a manifestation of liver disease or malformations of the venous system.

External hemorrhoids can be painful, particularly when sitting and during a bowel movement. In addition, a blood clot called a thrombosis can occur along with external hemorrhoids. A thrombosed hemorrhoid may bleed, swell painfully, or form a hard lump. An internal hemorrhoid can protrude or prolapse from the anus. In some cases, hemorrhoids can lead to more serious complications.

Most hemorrhoids can be treated at home, usually through lifestyle and diet changes. A diet high in fiber and plenty of fluids can make bowel movements easier and less likely to produce straining. Over-the-counter creams and ointments can help reduce the swelling, itching and pain of hemorrhoids. Severe hemorrhoids can be treated surgically if they do not respond to other treatment.

Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for hemorrhoids, but your symptoms persist, recur, or cause you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Symptoms of hemorrhoids include anal itching or pain, particularly when you are seated. You may also experience pain during your bowel movements, notice blood in your stool, or have a tender, hard lump near the anus.

Common symptoms of hemorrhoids

You may experience hemorrhoid symptoms daily or just once in a while. At times, any of these hemorrhoid symptoms can be seve... Read more about hemorrhoidssymptoms

CAUSES

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are most commonly caused by straining to pass a bowel movement. They may also be the result of constipation, diarrhea, or an anal infection. People who sit for long periods of time may also experience hemorrhoids.

Pregnant women and women who have recently given birth are prone to developing hemor... Read more about hemorrhoidscauses

TREATMENTS

How are hemorrhoids treated?

A diet high in fiber along with plenty of liquids can promote softer bowel movements and prevent strain-induced hemorrhoids. Your health care provider may suggest frequent warm baths to help hemorrhoids heal.

Most hemorrhoids heal on their own. Some hemorrhoids may require a surgical intervention, a procedure known as a hemorrhoidectomy.

Self-care hemorrhoid trea... Read more about hemorrhoidstreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Infections and Contagious Diseases


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