Hemorrhoids are common, and about three out of four adults experience them occasionally. Often the cause of hemorrhoids is unknown. However, medical and home treatments, together with lifestyle changes, are effective in treating hemorrhoids.
Board-certified gastroenterologist, Robert Narvaez, MD, MBA, is your go-to specialist if you seek treatment for San Antonio hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are also known as piles. They are irritated and swollen veins in your anal canal and lower rectum. They are similar to varicose veins. Hemorrhoids are prevalent and require medical care, as they can cause uncomfortable or painful symptoms.
Causes of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins around your anus stretch due to pressure, resulting in bulging or swelling. Increased pressure in the lower rectum can be due to:
- Pregnancy as the baby puts weight on the anus
- Anal intercourse
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods
- Chronic constipation and diarrhea
- Being obese
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- Not drinking enough water
- Regular heavy lifting
Types of Hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Those that occur externally- Develop under the skin around the anus
- Those that occur internally- Develop inside the rectum
- External hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids are swollen veins under the skin around your anal opening. The swelling can feel like little bumps. Signs and symptoms of external hemorrhoids can include:
- Itchiness or irritation around your anal opening
- Anal pain and discomfort
External hemorrhoids that are incredibly swollen can be uncomfortable, making movements like walking, sitting, or wearing certain underwear itchy and painful.
- Internal hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids cannot be seen or felt because they exist inside your rectum. They do not usually cause discomfort the way external hemorrhoids do. As they grow larger, internal hemorrhoids can cause difficulty in passing stool. Straining during bowel movements can cause:
- Painless bleeding
- Some hemorrhoids to swell significantly and protrude from your anus, leading to pain and irritation
When to See a Doctor
Bleeding during bowel movements and hemorrhoids that persist for a week even after trying home treatment indicates your need to see a doctor.
Remember, rectal bleeding does not always mean that you have hemorrhoids; it could be a symptom of another serious underlying condition. Large amounts of rectal bleeding accompanied by dizziness should be addressed immediately by your healthcare provider.
Treatment of Hemorrhoids
At Digestive & Liver Disease Center, Dr. Narvaez will first conduct a physical exam to evaluate the type of hemorrhoids you have. Depending on the type, he will develop the most suitable medical approach for your hemorrhoids.
He usually first recommends options like taking warm bath soaks or using topical creams or suppositories. If these do not work, Dr. Narvaez may prescribe a more powerful suppository or steroid cream.
Severe symptoms like repeated bleeding usually require in-office procedures like rubber band ligation, infrared treatment, and sclerotherapy. Rubber band ligation involves placing tiny bands around hemorrhoids, restricting their blood supply, and causing them to fall off. Severe and highly dilated hemorrhoids will require surgical procedures to remove them.
To learn more about hemorrhoids, call Digestive & Liver Disease Center to schedule your appointment.