What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located in the anus and lower rectum. They can form inside of the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin surrounding the anus (external hemorrhoids).
The symptoms associated with hemorrhoids differ depending on the type of hemorrhoid. External hemorrhoids may cause pain, discomfort or itching around the anus, as well as swelling or bleeding. Blood can also pool in an external hemorrhoid forming a clot, or thrombosed hemorrhoids. These can cause severe pain, swelling, inflammation or a hard bump near the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are located inside of the rectum, so you cannot see or feel them. However, when you strain to pass stool, it can cause bleeding. An internal hemorrhoid that pushes through the anal opening (prolapse) may cause pain or irritation.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Straining can put pressure on the veins in the anus or rectum, resulting in hemorrhoids. Common situations that may cause straining include pelvic pressure from weight gain or pregnancy, constipation which causes straining during bowel movements or lifting heavy objects. Individuals who sit or stand for long periods of time also have a greater risk for developing hemorrhoids.
How are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?
During your appointment, your doctor will speak with you regarding your symptoms as well as perform a physical examination. External hemorrhoids will be visible during an exam, however, internal hemorrhoids will not. Your doctor may perform a digital examination to feel for internal hemorrhoids or unusual growths.
If you are exhibiting signs of a digestive disease or are at a higher risk for colon cancer, your doctor may wish to examine your colon through a colonoscopy, a sigmoidoscopy or an anoscopy.
Treatment Options for Hemorrhoids
While some hemorrhoids will go away on their own, others may be stubborn and long-lasting. Depending on the specific type of hemorrhoid, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:
Mild symptoms can often be remedied within a week by eating high-fiber foods, using over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams, taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and soaking regularly in warm baths.
Over-the-counter creams, ointments, pads or suppositories can be helpful in treating mild discomfort. These products are made with witch hazel, lidocaine or hydrocortisone to temporarily relieve itching and pain.
For stubborn or painful hemorrhoids, there are minimally-invasive procedures that may be performed to remove or shrink the hemorrhoids. These may include rubber band ligation to cut off the hemorrhoid’s circulation, sclerotherapy to shrink the hemorrhoid tissue or coagulation to shrivel small internal hemorrhoids.
If other treatment options have not been effective or if you have large hemorrhoids, surgery may be an option. Hemorrhoidectomy is the most effective option and completely removes the hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid stapling is another option in which the blood flow to internal hemorrhoids is cut off, and prolapsed hemorrhoids are moved back into place.
How long does it take for hemorrhoids to go away?
Hemorrhoids will usually go away by themselves within 2-7 days, depending on the size of the hemorrhoid. Large external hemorrhoids often take longer to heal. You may need to visit a South Denver GI provider for treatment if it does not heal itself within a few days.
Can hemorrhoids be cured?
Hemorrhoids often go away on their own but may need medical treatment (creams, suppositories, banding). However, this is not a cure and there is the possibility that more hemorrhoids will return.
When should I worry about hemorrhoids?
If you are in constant pain or notice bleeding before, during or after a bowel movement, you should visit a gastroenterologist since these can be signs of a more serious issue. You should also be concerned if you have changes to the color of your stool or notice an anal lump growth.
Can a hemorrhoid pop?
If a blood clot forms inside the hemorrhoid or too much blood builds up in a hemorrhoid, it can burst. However, this should not cause any damage and can usually be treated at home by soaking the area in a warm bath.
How long after hemorrhoid banding do you feel better?
After your procedure, you may experience a dull ache but you should feel better within two days after hemorrhoidal banding. The band may make you feel you need to have a bowel movement, which is a normal sensation.
How do you prepare for a hemorrhoid banding?
Tell your South Denver GI provider about any current medications you are taking.
Is hemorrhoid banding worth it?
Hemorrhoidal banding is a safe and effective non-surgical approach for removing hemorrhoids so it can be worth having if your hemorrhoid is large or painful. When deciding whether to have hemorrhoidal banding, its important to research qualified providers who will effectively and safely remove your hemorrhoid. At South Denver GI, our providers have expertise in hemorrhoidal banding using the CRH O’Regan System® - a simple treatment that can be performed in just minutes with little to no discomfort and no sedation needed.
How long does it take to recover from hemorrhoid banding?
Your hemorrhoids should shrink 1-2 weeks after hemorrhoidal banding. Avoid heavy lifting and strenous activity for two days after the procedure and try to avoid straining during your bowel movements since this can cause more hemorrhoids.
Is hemorrhoidal banding painful?
During the first day or two after your procedure, you may experience moderate pain that can be alleviated with Tylenol or acetaminophen. After this time, the pain should be minimal but you may feel some discomfort for 1-2 weeks after hemorrhoidal banding.
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