What You Should Know About Hemorrhoids

Are you one of the millions of Americans who currently suffer from hemorrhoids?

According to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons, more than half of the U.S. population will develop hemorrhoids at some point in their life.  Since this condition affects so many people, questions about hemorrhoids are common. We compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding hemorrhoids.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Simply put, hemorrhoids are enlarged and swollen blood vessels that appear around the rectal area. They can be painful and form both internally and externally.

Why do Some Hemorrhoids Hurt and Some Don’t?

In most cases external hemorrhoids are the cause of most pain and discomfort, while internal hemorrhoids are often painless. Here are a few differences between the two:

External Hemorrhoids

This type of issue develops on the outside of the anus and is easily visible. Skin in this area is more sensitive and can become irritated and erode over time.

Internal Hemorrhoids

This issue occurs on the inside of the lower rectum and won’t be visible to the naked eye. Since the skin isn’t as sensitive, it is less likely to hurt. Bleeding can occur in some instances, but even then, it may not be painful. Pain may be present if the hemorrhoid prolapses.

How do I Get Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are caused when there is increased pressure in the veins of the anus. Usually people experience this problem if they sit for long periods of time or commonly strain during bowel movements. Other risk-factors include:

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Pregnancy
  • Aging
  • Heredity

Do They Lead to Cancer?

There is no evidence that hemorrhoids lead to cancer growth. However, symptoms of colorectal cancer are similar to those of hemorrhoids, so it is extremely important that anyone who notices bleeding in the rectal area visit a physician for testing.

How are Hemorrhoids Treated?

Mild cases can be relieved with topical treatments until the problem goes away. More severe cases may prompt a physician to perform one of the following procedures:

Ligation.Typically used for internal hemorrhoids, a rubber band will be placed around the affected area in order to cut off blood supply.

Injections. This mostly painless procedure involves an injection of a chemical solution that causes the tissue to shrink.

Coagulation. Using infrared light or heat, internal hemorrhoids will harden and shrivel. The risk for recurrence is higher with this procedure than others.

Surgical Removal. This is the most effective and complete way to treat severe and recurring hemorrhoids. While under local, spinal or general anesthetic, patients will undergo a complete removal of affected tissue.

Stapling. This option is performed by blocking blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissue and is generally less painful than surgical removal.

Hemorrhoid Treatment in Atlanta, GA

If you are having issues with new or recurring hemorrhoids, the specialists at Piedmont Colorectal Associates will find a solution that suits your needs. To schedule an appointment, please call (404) 351-7900