Hemorrhoids 101: Causes, Treatment, & Prevention
December 3, 2023
Hemorrhoids can cause itching, bleeding, and pain. And about half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50. While it can be uncomfortable to talk about, you aren’t alone.
Everybody has hemorrhoidal tissue made up of blood vessels, connective tissue, and muscle, and as we age, the cushions can enlarge or distend, resulting in hemorrhoids. Some hemorrhoids heal on their own, but others may need treatment.
In this blog, learn more about hemorrhoid causes, treatment, and prevention from the experts at Alabama Colon & Rectal Center.
The veins around the anus can stretch under various types of pressure we may experience as a result of certain lifestyle factors or medical conditions, causing them to swell. These enlarged and swollen veins are called hemorrhoids. There are several reasons you may experience hemorrhoids, including:
- Straining during bowel movements
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- Being pregnant
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
In many cases, hemorrhoids aren’t dangerous. But, if left untreated for too long, they can cause blood clots, anemia, and skin tags. If a doctor can see external or internal hemorrhoids, there are a number of beneficial treatments to try depending on your condition including:
These would include oral pain relievers such as aspirin, Tylenol, or ibuprofen and topical treatments such as an over-the-counter cream or suppository containing hydrocortisone. Many people find pain relief from regular soaking in a warm or sitz bath.
Some clinical procedures may be recommended if you experience persistent pain, including:
- Rubber band ligation: A rubber band is used to cut off the blood flow to the hemorrhoid.
- Sclerotherapy: An injection treatment that shrinks blood vessels in the affected area.
- Coagulation laser techniques: A laser generates infrared light that causes scar tissue, which cuts off blood supply to the hemorrhoid.
These procedures aren’t surgical and can effectively treat hemorrhoids.
Surgical treatment may be beneficial if your hemorrhoids are large or other treatment options haven’t been successful. Some standard surgical procedures for hemorrhoids include:
- Hemorrhoidectomy: For extensive or severe hemorrhoids, the hemorrhoid is removed surgically.
- Hemorrhoid stapling: Also known as stapled hemorrhoidopexy, this procedure blocks the blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissue and is usually conducted on internal hemorrhoids.
- External hemorrhoid thrombectomy: During this procedure, the hemorrhoid is removed, and only occurs if a painful blood clot is formed on an external hemorrhoid.
Each of these procedures can reduce the size of hemorrhoids and can alleviate any symptoms you may experience.
While diagnosing the cause of hemorrhoids can be challenging, you can prevent them by keeping your stool soft. That way, if you develop hemorrhoids, they should heal on their own and resolve in a few days.
We recommend eating food high in fiber, consuming lots of fluids like water, and going to the bathroom as soon as you feel an urge. Exercise helps keep bowel movements regular, so practicing daily activity can prevent hemorrhoids. Similarly, we advise avoiding long sitting periods that could pressure veins.
Alleviate Pain at Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute
We recommend seeking medical attention if you are experiencing any symptoms of hemorrhoids or noticed any bleeding during your bowel movements. While discussing your symptoms with a medical professional may feel uncomfortable, you can find relief from any pain, bleeding, or itching with their help.
The experts at the Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute can help treat hemorrhoids and any other colorectal concerns. We are dedicated to providing private and confidential care to ensure your satisfaction and safety. Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about your colon and rectal health or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms.
Colon & Rectal Health Specialists in Birmingham, AL
At Alabama Colon & Rectal Institute, we are experts in all things colon & rectal health. We provide a variety of treatments for colon polyps, Crohn’s disease, hemorrhoids, frequent diarrhea, and more. We are dedicated to providing a stress-free, comfortable environment while providing you with quality treatment. Call us at 205-651-5613 or contact us online today!