Hemorrhoids aren’t life-threatening, but they can cause pain and embarrassment. Over-the-counter creams and suppositories can help alleviate symptoms. Other treatments include rubber band ligation, where the doctor puts a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off blood flow, and sclerotherapy, where a chemical is injected into a blood vessel to shrink it.
Hemorrhoids occur when the blood vessels in and around your anus or rectum become swollen and irritated. They can be inside your anal canal (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). Hemorrhoids can develop when there is pressure on the veins in and around your anus and rectum, such as when you strain during a bowel movement or sit for long periods, especially on the toilet. Hemorrhoids can also form when you have diarrhea, are pregnant, recently had a baby, or are overweight.
Hemorrhoids are more common in older people, people with chronic constipation or diarrhea during pregnancy, and those who smoke or have a job that requires them to sit for long periods. Bleeding from a hemorrhoid can be painful and often bright red. That is why experts suggest clinical hemorrhoids treatment to mitigate the chances of surgery.
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels near the anus or lower rectum. They are usually not severe and go away independently, but they can cause pain and itching. They often worsen when you strain to have a bowel movement or sit for long periods. Hemorrhoids can also be a symptom of other health problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, or pregnancy.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids include rectal pain or itching and bleeding, especially after a bowel movement. If the hemorrhoids are causing symptoms and at-home treatments don’t help, your doctor may need to do an in-office exam. Usually, this involves the doctor inserting a gloved finger into your anal canal. Sometimes, your doctor will need to do a medical procedure like an anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, or colonoscopy.
Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, ointments, and suppositories ease symptoms and reduce swelling. They contain ingredients like lidocaine to numb the area, witch hazel to shrink blood vessels, and hydrocortisone to relieve itching. These medications can cause a mild burning sensation but should not be painful.
Straining during bowel movements or sitting on the toilet for long periods puts pressure on blood vessels near the anus, which can lead to hemorrhoids. As a Treatment creating better bathroom habits can help prevent hemorrhoids. Go to the bathroom when you feel the urge, and avoid straining during bowel movements.
If at-home treatments don’t relieve your symptoms, talk to your doctor. They may recommend a medical procedure, such as rubber band ligation, which places an elastic band around the base of internal hemorrhoids to cut off their blood supply, leading them to shrink or fall off. Other procedures include sclerotherapy, which uses an injection to make scar tissue in the hemorrhoids, and electrocoagulation, where doctors send low electric currents into the hemorrhoids to create the same effect.
Hemorrhoids are not preventable, but some steps can be taken to minimize them. Excess pressure on the anal area from sitting for long periods, being overweight, and straining during bowel movements can cause hemorrhoids. Pregnant women and people who work jobs requiring prolonged standing or heavy lifting are also at risk for developing them.
If symptoms are mild, they usually clear up with at-home treatment. Warm sitz baths and ice packs can ease pain, swelling, and itching. Increasing the fiber in your diet (eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, taking over-the-counter fiber supplements, or adding a fiber powder to water) can help make stools softer. Drinking enough fluids the Institute of Medicine recommends about 2.7 liters, or 91 ounces, per day can help prevent constipation, which can lead to hemorrhoids.