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Condition

Hemorrhoids

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus or lower part of the rectum.

What are the alternative names for Hemorrhoids?

Rectal lump; Piles; Lump in the rectum; Rectal bleeding - hemorrhoids; Blood in the stool - hemorrhoids 

What are the causes for Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are very common. They result from increased pressure on the anus. This can occur during pregnancy or childbirth, and due to constipation. The pressure causes the normal anal veins and tissue to swell. This tissue can bleed, often during bowel movements.

Hemorrhoids may be caused by:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Constipation
  • Sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet
  • Certain diseases, such as cirrhosis

Hemorrhoids may be inside or outside the body.

  • Internal hemorrhoids occur just inside the anus, at the beginning of the rectum. When they are large, they may fall outside (prolapse). The most common problem with internal hemorrhoids is bleeding during bowel movements.
  • External hemorrhoids occur outside the anus. They can result in difficulty cleaning the area after a bowel movement. If a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid, it can be very painful (thrombosed external hemorrhoid).

What are the symptoms for Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are most often not painful, but if a blood clot forms, they can be very painful.

Common symptoms include:

  • Painless bright red blood from the rectum
  • Anal itching
  • Anal ache or pain, especially while sitting
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • One or more hard tender lumps near the anus

What are the current treatments for Hemorrhoids?

Treatments for hemorrhoids include:

  • Over-the-counter corticosteroid (for example, cortisone) creams to help reduce pain and swelling
  • Hemorrhoid creams with lidocaine to help reduce pain
  • Stool softeners to help reduce straining and constipation

Things you can do to reduce itching include:

  • Apply witch hazel to the area with a cotton swab.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Avoid toilet tissue with perfumes or colors. Use baby wipes instead.
  • Try not to scratch the area.

Sitz baths can help you to feel better. Sit in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes.

If your hemorrhoids do not get better with home treatments, you may need some type of office treatment to shrink the hemorrhoids.

If office treatment is not enough, some type of surgery may be necessary, such as removal of the hemorrhoids (hemorrhoidectomy). These procedures are generally used for people with severe bleeding or prolapse who have not responded to other therapy.

What are the possible complications for Hemorrhoids?

The blood in the hemorrhoid may form clots. This can cause tissue around it to die. Surgery is sometimes needed to remove hemorrhoids with clots.

Rarely, severe bleeding may also occur. Iron deficiency anemia can result from long-term blood loss.

When should I contact a medical professional for Hemorrhoids?

Call for your provider if:

  • Hemorrhoid symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
  • You have rectal bleeding. Your provider may want to check for other, more serious causes of the bleeding.

Get medical help right away if:

  • You lose a lot of blood
  • You are bleeding and feel dizzy, lightheaded, or faint

How do I prevent Hemorrhoids?

Constipation, straining during bowel movements, and sitting on the toilet too long raise your risk for hemorrhoids. To prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, you should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Eat a high-fiber diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Consider using fiber supplements.
  • Use stool softeners to prevent straining.
Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoid

REFERENCES

Abdelnaby A, Downs JM. Diseases of the anorectum. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 129.

Blumetti J, Cintron JR. The management of hemorrhoids. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:271-277.

Zainea GG, Pfenninger JL. Office treatment of hemorrhoids. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 87.

Top Global Doctors

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Latest Research

Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Hemorrhoids
  • Journal: Arquivos brasileiros de cirurgia digestiva : ABCD = Brazilian archives of digestive surgery
  • Treatment Used: Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization with Mucopexy
  • Number of Patients: 705
  • Published —
This study tested the safety and efficacy of using a transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization with mucopexy to treat patients with hemorrhoids.
Latest Advance
Study
  • Condition: Internal Hemorrhoids
  • Journal: Khirurgiia
  • Treatment Used: Submucosal Laser Ablation
  • Number of Patients: 0
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the safety and effectiveness of submucosal laser ablation for the treatment of internal hemorrhoids.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trial
Drug
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Study Type: Drug
  • Participants: 2
  • Start Date: November 1, 2020
Comparative Study of Band Ligation and Phlebotonic Drug Versus Only Phlebotonic Drug, in Bleeding Internal Hemorrhoids.