Hemorrhoids are blood vessels that are swollen inside the rectum and anus. They can be both internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids form inside the rectum and are usually painless. However, sometimes they can protrude out of the anus and become painful until they go back inside. External hemorrhoids are usually under the skin of the anus and are quite painful. These can also protrude from the body where they can be seen and felt.
Additional symptoms of hemorrhoids include bleeding during bowel movements, itching or swelling of the anus, and a noticeable lump near the anus.
There is no single cause of hemorrhoids, though many doctors believe that they occur because of weakened veins. Typically, age plays a major role, as around half of adults over 50 suffer from hemorrhoids. Additionally, many doctors believe that abdominal pressure plays a large role in irritating the veins. This kind of pressure can result from pregnancy, obesity, standing or sitting too long, straining too hard while moving the bowels, or heavy fits of coughing, sneezing, and vomiting.
To prevent hemorrhoids from forming in the first place, it is important to eat plenty of fiber as well as stay hydrated to avoid constipation and straining during bowel movements.
Unfortunately, hemorrhoids typically never go away completely unless patients have a procedure to remove them. However, there are some ways to control symptoms and minimize pain, including medicated creams, suppositories, or ointments.
However, if symptoms are more severe or patients have large hemorrhoid, doctors may perform several different procedures, including rubber band ligation, injections, or coagulation. To completely remove the hemorrhoids, doctors can perform a hemorrhoidectomy to cut away excessive tissue that is causing bleeding. Another option is hemorrhoid stapling, which stops blood flow the to hemorrhoid.
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