- When to See the Doctor
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids develop around the anus or in the walls of the lower rectum. The rectum is the last part of the digestive tract. It’s 6 to 8 inches long and holds solid waste before it leaves the body. The anus is the opening of the rectum.
Hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable, but there are treatments available. To determine what kind of treatment you need, a doctor will look at what kind of hemorrhoids you have and what your symptoms are.
Types of hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. External hemorrhoids are completely visible on the outside of the body. They develop near the opening of the anus and can become painful when they swell.
Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the anus or rectum. Most of the time, you can’t see these from outside the body. Internal hemorrhoids may prolapse, which means that part of the hemorrhoid grows outside of the anal opening. Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids may be painful.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
Internal and external hemorrhoids cause slightly different symptoms .
External hemorrhoid symptoms
External hemorrhoids can cause:
If you strain while moving your bowels or rub too much around your anus, you may make the symptoms of external hemorrhoids worse. Symptoms usually get better within a few days.
Internal hemorrhoid symptoms
Internal hemorrhoids may cause:
- Bleeding that is visible on your stool, in the toilet bowl, or on the toilet paper after you move your bowels
- Painful tissue around the anus
Causes of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids develop when the blood vessels in the rectum and anus swell or bulge. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
When to see the doctor for hemorrhoids
You should see your doctor if you experience either of the following:
- Bleeding from the rectum, which may be a sign of a more serious medical condition
- Severe or recurrent pain
Diagnosis for hemorrhoids
If you have external hemorrhoids only, your doctor may be able to diagnose them by looking at them and touching them with gloved fingers.
To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, the doctor will need to feel and look at the inside of the anus and rectum. They’ll feel for growths using a lubricated, gloved finger. They’ll also use a special instrument to see inside the rectum.
If the doctor suspects that hemorrhoids may not be the cause of your discomfort, they may order a procedure called a colonoscopy. This involves a small viewing tube that lets the doctor see your intestine.
Treatments for hemorrhoids
Treatments for hemorrhoids range from at-home therapies to outpatient surgeries.
- Some people choose to treat hemorrhoids at home by:
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Taking stool softeners or fiber supplements
- Staying hydrated
- Avoiding sitting on the toilet for long periods
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen
- Sitting in warm water to relieve pain
If your hemorrhoids don’t respond to at-home treatments, your doctor might suggest treating them during an office visit or at a local medical center.
- Sclerotherapy, which uses an injected solution
- Infrared photocoagulation, which uses infrared light that generates heat
- Electrocoagulation, which uses an electric current
Another option is the rubber band ligation. During this procedure, a doctor cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid using a special rubber band tied around the hemorrhoid’s base.
The outside of the hemorrhoid then shrivels and falls off. Scar tissue forms in the remaining part of the hemorrhoid and shrinks it.
Outpatient or hospital treatments
Rarely, hemorrhoids will need surgery to remove. This usually happens if less invasive procedures haven’t been successful. There are two basic types of hemorrhoid surgeries.
A hemorrhoidectomy involves a doctor cutting away external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids that have fallen out of the anus. Doctors perform this procedure under anesthesia.
Hemorrhoid stapling uses a special surgical tool to block blood flow to internal hemorrhoids. It has a shorter recovery time than hemorrhoidectomy, but hemorrhoids are more likely to come back.
Latest Digestion News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids."
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Symptoms & Causes of Hemorrhoids."
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Treatment of Hemorrhoids."
Top When Should You Go to the Doctor for Hemorrhoids Related Articles
Do I Have Hemorrhoids or Rectal Prolapse?Learn more about the major differences between hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse and the kinds of treatment available.
Does Pushing a Hemorrhoid Back in Help?Hemorrhoids are very common and appear when the veins under the lining of the rectum and anus become swollen and bulge. Yes, you can push a hemorrhoid back in.
How Do You Know if You Have Hemorrhoid Symptoms or Something More Serious?Hemorrhoids are a painful inflammation of the skin and tissue surrounding the anus and rectum. Some symptoms of hemorrhoids are similar to symptoms of more serious conditions, like colon cancer. Learn what the symptoms are, how to treat them, and when to see a doctor.
Hemorrhoids (piles) are swollen veins in the rectum and anus. Causes include pregnancy, obesity, diarrhea, low-fiber diet, and prolonged sitting on the toilet. Treatment varies depending upon the severity of the hemorrhoids. Some treatment options include over-the-counter creams and suppositories, stool softeners, warm sitz baths, and hemorrhoidectomies.
How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids: Types, Causes, and TreatmentsLearn how to get rid of hemorrhoids, the difference between internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids, what causes hemorrhoids, how long hemorrhoids last, and hemorrhoids treatment.
Hemorrhoids QuizDoes everyone have hemorrhoids? Test your knowledge of this and many other facts about Hemorrhoids.
High-Fiber FoodsLearn about high-fiber foods. From fresh fruits to whole grains, these fiber-rich foods can lower cholesterol, prevent constipation, and improve digestion.
How Do Hemorrhoids Go Away?Hemorrhoid symptoms may go away with diet and lifestyle modifications. You must, however, seek immediate medical care if your symptoms do not go away in a week or you experience symptoms.
How Do You Treat a Bleeding Hemorrhoid?Learn what medical treatments can ease your bleeding hemorrhoid symptoms and help you manage this condition.
How Long Does it Take Hemorrhoids to Heal?If you've ever had hemorrhoids, you know that they can be very painful and irritating. Learn what hemorrhoids are, how doctors treat them, and what you can do to speed up their healing.
How Should You Sleep With Hemorrhoids?Hemorrhoids happen when pressure causes veins in your rectum and anus to stretch, swell, and bulge. Sleep with hemorrhoids by pushing them back in, taking a sitz bath before bed, using topical creams and using other strategies.
What Happens If You Leave a Hemorrhoid Untreated?If you have mild hemorrhoids, leaving them alone can be fine. The swelling and discomfort will usually go away within a few days. Occasionally, though, there may be complications related to hemorrhoids.
What Should You Not Do if You Have Hemorrhoids?Swollen veins located in or around the anal canal are known as hemorrhoids. If you have hemorrhoids avoid foods that are fatty or low in fiber; don't pick at hemorrhoids; avoid lifting heavy objects; avoid stress and anxiety; and avoid overusing laxatives.