We know this is an “uncomfortable subject”, but a very common problem many of our patients deal with.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or anus. There are three types of hemorrhoids; internal, prolapsed, and external. Internal hemorrhoids involve the veins inside your rectum. Internal hemorrhoids usually don’t hurt but they may bleed painlessly. Prolapsed hemorrhoids stretch down until they bulge outside the anus. A prolapsed hemorrhoid may go back inside the rectum on its own, or can gently be pushed it back inside. Finally, external hemorrhoids involve the veins outside the anus. They can be itchy or painful and can sometimes crack and bleed.
Relieving the pain
- Take warm baths.
- Clean your anus after each bowel movement by patting gently with moist toilet paper or moistened pads such as baby wipes.
- Use ice packs to relieve swelling.
- Use acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol), ibuprofen (one brand name: Motrin) or aspirin to help relieve pain.
- Apply a cream that contains witch hazel to the area or use a numbing ointment. Creams that contain hydrocortisone can be used for itching or pain.
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the veins of the anus or rectum. One of the main causes is straining when having a bowel movement. This may happen if constipated or have diarrhea. It may also happen when on the toilet too long. Hemorrhoids can also be caused by obesity, heavy lifting, child birth, or any other activity that caused you to strain. Just about everyone has hemorrhoids at some time, but some things may make someone more likely to get them. People whose parents had hemorrhoids may be more likely to get them. Pregnant women often get hemorrhoids because of the strain from carrying the baby and from giving birth. Being very overweight, or standing or lifting too much can make hemorrhoids worse.
- Include more fiber in your diet. Fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources of fiber.
- Drink plenty of fluids (except alcohol). Eight glasses of water a day is ideal.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid laxatives, except bulk-forming laxatives such as Fiberall, Metamucil, etc. Other types of laxatives can lead to diarrhea, which can worsen hemorrhoids.
- When you feel the need to have a bowel movement, don’t wait too long to use the bathroom.
See your doctor if you notice bleeding to make sure the cause is hemorrhoids and not some other problem. Bleeding from your rectum or anus or bloody stools may be a sign of something more serious, such as cancer.
Don’t use hemorrhoid medicine without talking to your family doctor first. Painful hemorrhoids usually stop hurting on their own in 1 to 2 weeks. If yours keep causing problems, talk with your doctor. Rubber band ligation can be used to treat internal hemorrhoids. It involves placing a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid. This stops the flow of blood to the area and the hemorrhoid withers away. Internal hemorrhoids can also be destroyed by injecting them with a chemical. A hemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal of the hemorrhoid) may be needed if internal hemorrhoids are prolapsed or very large.
If you are suffering from hemorrhoids, call the office at 757-488-3333 and make an appointment today. Treatment is available!
~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed, MD