What causes hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins around the anus or lower rectum become inflamed, swollen, and irritated. This can be caused by straining during bowel movements, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, pregnancy, obesity, and chronic constipation or diarrhea. Poor diet and lack of exercise may also contribute to developing hemorrhoids.
The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is painless bleeding during bowel movements. Other symptoms may include itching, swelling, or a lump near or around the anus that causes discomfort. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention.
Treatment for hemorrhoids depends on the severity of your symptoms. Treatment is designed to alleviate discomfort associated with hemorrhoids and to reduce their size.
Mild cases may be managed with lifestyle changes such as increasing fiber intake by taking a fiber supplement, or taking a stool softener daily, drinking more fluids, and exercising regularly.
- Over the counter topical medications such as hemorrhoid creams and hydrocortisone creams and ointments, and medicated pads. These treatments help reduce swelling, itching and pain associated with hemorrhoids.
- Another standard treatment that is very effective is hemorrhoid suppositories over the counter and by prescription. They work to shrink inflamed veins and lubricate the area. Read the package because some ingredients shrink blood vessels, some numb the area and treat discomfort and pain, and some protect and calm irritated tissues. Prescription suppositories usually contain hydrocortisone and anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and itching.
- Applying an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area will help to numb the area and reduce swelling.
- Another home remedy for treating hemorrhoids is to soak in warm water for about 15 minutes several times a day. The warm water helps relax the anal muscles and reduce inflammation. For added relief, some people also add Epsom salts to the warm water.
- Witch Hazel applied topically is a natural anti-inflammatory that treats itching.
- Coconut oil can help relieve symptoms too.
Don’t use OTC hemorrhoid remedies for long periods. Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to schedule a consultation to learn more.
In severe cases of hemorrhoids, a procedure known as rubber band ligation may be recommended. This involves having a gastroenterologist placing tight bands around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation and force it to shrink. Some patients may require repeat treatments.
Surgery may also be recommended for severe cases of hemorrhoids. This involves removing the swollen veins or tissue that is causing the hemorrhoid. Surgery can be used to treat both internal and external hemorrhoids, however it is only reserved for the most extreme cases.
In this case, your specialist at Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn will refer you to one of our expert colorectal surgeons or proctologists.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids, it’s important to seek medical advice from a gastroenterologist. They can help determine the best treatment option for your needs and provide relief from discomfort associated with hemorrhoids. With the right treatment plan, many people are able to find relief and reduce or eliminate their hemorrhoids.
Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to schedule a consultation to learn about all your treatment options.