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All About Hemorrhoids

Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment

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Updated July 10, 2014

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As a child, I remembering being curious about all of those mysterious ads for hemorrhoid treatment. What were they, exactly? But the subject of hemorrhoids, including symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment, is not something that has ever been openly discussed by adults. I learned the hard way what hemorrhoids are all about after I gave birth to my first child. This comprehensive guide to hemorrhoids takes away the mystery of hemorrhoids.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins found on the anus and within the rectum. Hemorrhoids are a common occurrence as it is estimated that half of all Americans will have hemorrhoids by the age of 50. Hemorrhoids are described as internal or external depending on whether they appear inside the rectum or out on the anus. Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include feeling a lump on your rectum or on your anus, rectal pain and discomfort, rectal itching, leakage of stool, and the appearance of a small amount of blood on your stool or toilet paper.

Should I See a Doctor?

In most cases, hemorrhoids do not require a trip to your doctor. However, if your hemorrhoids are severe and recurring or if you see any sign of blood in your stools, you should request an appointment. Your doctor is likely to do a visual exam of your anus, followed by inserting their gloved and lubricated finger inside your rectum to feel for hemorrhoids. In some cases, your doctor might choose to use an anoscope or a sigmoidoscope to look further into the rectum.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can be caused by a variety of factors including certain medical conditions and lifestyle activities. Knowing what causes hemorrhoids can help you to prevent problems.

Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented?

Yes, and as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are some simple self-care steps that you can follow to help take care of your rectum and prevent hemorrhoid problems.

What Should I Do For My Hemorrhoids?

Most of the time, hemorrhoids can be successfully treated with some simple home remedies and good self-care and hygiene.

What About Hemorrhoid Surgery?

Surgical procedures become a treatment option when hemorrhoids do not respond to home treatment or are frequently re-occurring.

Sources:

Bledley, R. "Patient information: Hemorrhoids" UpToDate Accessed Januray 2010.

Greenwald, D. "Common Disorders of the Anus and Rectum: Hemorrhoids and Fissures" American College of Gastroenterology Accessed November 23, 2009.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems that you may be experiencing.

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