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What Are Hemorrhoids?

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Hemorrhoids are painful, swollen veins in the rectum and anus. They can make it difficult to sit, and may bring on severe itching and fecal leaking, and bleeding along with the pain. By the time they are 50, almost half of all adults will have experienced hemorrhoid symptoms at least once. They can be either internal or external, with external ones seeming to cause more issues.

The cause of hemorrhoids are not clear. While some old wive’s tales may claim that sitting on cold surfaces can be the culprit, it is more likely to be caused by other factors. A family history of hemorrhoids may indicate a hereditary factor, but it might also be based on common behavior. Straining too hard during a bowel movement, sitting on the toilet for long periods could be causes. Hemorrhoids are also sometimes seen in cases of constant constipation, although the connection is unclear. Pregnancy can also aggravate hemorrhoids, as the uterus can press against the veins feeding the digestive system and cause the vein in the colon to bulge from the pressure.

Diagnosis is usually simple. Exterior hemorrhoids can often be detected with nothing more than a visual examination from Dr. Davidson. The diagnosis may be verified with a digital rectal exam to search for any bulges or lumps inside. If anything unusual is present, another test called a sigmoidoscopy may be ordered. During this test, a small camera is used to get a clear view inside the rectum and make a close examination of the hemorrhoid.

If you have a hemorrhoid, treatment is often available at home. Increasing your fiber intake can often help clear up many of the most common gastrointestinal complaints. It helps to soften the stool and bulk up the intestines, making it easier to pass a bowel movement. A warm bath or even a water bottle can help relieve the pain. If it is too severe, an over-the-counter cream, ointment, or suppository may be helpful.

In some cases, a medical intervention might be needed. Rubber band litigation can cut off circulation from the hemorrhoid, forcing it to shrink. Sclerotherapy can also be used, injecting a chemical to shrink down the veins.

Hemorrhoids are a common complaint, and most people see improvement with simple treatment. If you suspect you are suffering from a hemorrhoid, make an appointment to see Dr. Davidson as soon as possible.

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