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Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids, also called “piles”, are swollen blood vessels in around the anus and lower rectum that stretch under pressure. They are common in both men and women.  They are common in pregnant women. Hemorrhoids can be internal (inside your anal canal) and may also protrude outside the anal canal or external, which is felt like extra skin or lump around the anus.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

•           Many people have hemorrhoids and don’t have any symptoms. 

•           The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is bright red blood covering your stool or on the toilet paper.

•           Itching

•           Pain

•           Mucous or stool soiling on your underwear 

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

Anytime there is bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool that lasts more than a few days a doctor should evaluate you.  The doctor will examine the anus and rectum and do a rectal exam.  The doctor may want to do a colonoscopy to make sure the bleeding is not caused by another condition like polyps, colitis or cancer.

What is the treatment?

•            Sit in a tub of warm water several times a day for about 10 minutes.

•            Ice packs to help reduce swelling

•            Application of a hemorrhoidal cream or suppository for a limited time.

•            Increase fiber and fluid in the diet

•            Try to stop straining when having a bowel movement

•            In some cases, hemorrhoids must be treated surgically

Can you prevent them?

•            Keep stools soft

•            Empty bowels as soon as possible after the urge occurs

•            Don’t sit on the toilet for a long period of time trying to have a bowel movement

•            Exercise, including walking 

•            Increase fiber and non-alcoholic fluids in your diet