Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Hemorrhoids

Health & Medical Blog

Do you have itching, burning, or pain in your lower rectal area? If you do, you may be suffering from hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal that can cause uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing symptoms. Fortunately, there are effective treatments available to help you manage this condition. Here's what you need to know about who is at risk for developing hemorrhoids and what treatment options are available. 

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum or anus that can cause discomfort and itching. They occur when veins become inflamed due to increased pressure from straining during bowel movements or sitting too long on the toilet. Hemorrhoids can be a minor nuisance, but they can be problematic when they swell and cause pain or itching.

Who Gets Hemorrhoids and Why?

Anyone can get hemorrhoids. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports that three out of four adults will develop them at some point. However, some people are more likely than others to develop them, including people who have chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, a family history of hemorrhoids, anal intercourse, or anal fissures from passing hard stool.

Additionally, pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids due to the increased pressure on their rectal veins from the growing uterus, the weight of the fetus, and the forceful nature of a vaginal delivery.

What Are Hemorrhoid Treatment Options?

There are a variety of treatments available for managing hemorrhoid symptoms, including:

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can make a difference for hemorrhoid sufferers. Because obese people are more prone to hemorrhoids, losing weight can help. Additionally, eating high-fiber foods and regular exercise can also help by making stools softer—reducing straining and time spent seated on the toilet.

External Hemorrhoid Care

External hemorrhoid treatment options include over-the-counter solutions that you try yourself or that are recommended by your doctor, including:

  • Stool softeners to reduce strain
  • Topical creams to reduce swelling, pain, and itching
  • Ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Hot sitz baths to relieve itching

Additionally, some people find sitting on an inflatable "donut" can bring temporary relief while the hemorrhoids heal.

Internal Hemorrhoid Treatment Options

Internal hemorrhoid treatment options require a consultation with your doctor and further medical intervention. They are used when a hemorrhoid is too swollen or painful to be relieved with at-home care. Internal hemorrhoid treatment options are both surgical and non-surgical and can include:

  • Rubber band ligation. Your doctor will place a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation, causing it to shrink.
  • Sclerotherapy. This treatment involves injecting a substance into the vein to shrink it, similar to how doctors can shrink swollen and painful varicose veins in your legs.
  • Infrared coagulation. Another internal hemorrhoid treatment is infrared coagulation which uses heat energy to seal off blood vessels leading to the hemorrhoid so that it shrinks over time.
  • Cryotherapy. Instead of heat, cryotherapy uses cold temperatures to freeze and destroy the hemorrhoid tissue.
  • Surgery. For severe hemorrhoid cases, surgery is also an option, but this should only be done if other treatments have not been successful.

Understanding what causes hemorrhoids and what treatment options are available is key to managing their symptoms. From lifestyle changes to internal hemorrhoid treatment, understanding your hemorrhoid treatment options will help you be better equipped to deal with your symptoms.

Contact a local hemorrhoid clinical care service to learn more. 


20 March 2023