Hemorrhoids are cushions of tissue containing swollen blood vessels in the lower rectum or around the anus, which, depending on the type and the severity, can cause itching, bleeding, and pain.
Hemorrhoids can be classified as either internal or external:
- Internal: swollen veins inside the rectum that form above an area known as the dentate line. When internal hemorrhoids become enlarged, the tissue may protrude out through the anus. The level of protrusion dictates the degree of severity.
- External: swollen veins that form below the dentate line and can often be seen and felt under the skin outside the anal canal. They often appear as small bulges.
Common signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Prolapse: If an internal hemorrhoid causes the swollen tissue to push through the anal opening, it is considered a prolapsing hemorrhoid. This prolapsed tissue (which actually causes many other symptoms associated with hemorrhoids) can sometimes reduce on its own, while other times it may need to be pushed back inside the anus manually.
- Bleeding: Only internal hemorrhoids cause bleeding. If you have an internal hemorrhoid, you may notice a small amount of bright red blood on the toilet paper, covering the stool, or inside the toilet bowl.
- Itching: Itching around the rectum is one of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids. If you experience ongoing itching, it’s best to seek treatment, as scratching or continuous wiping of the area can lead to the worsening of symptoms.
What causes hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can result from too much pressure in the rectum due to a variety of factors. Hemorrhoids are often linked to diet, constipation, diarrhea, obesity, pregnancy, childbirth, and even sitting for extended periods of time.
When to treat hemorrhoids:
If left untreated, hemorrhoids can worsen over time, to the point that they may require surgery. If treatment is sought early, hemorrhoids can often be treated painlessly in a matter of seconds, and the chance of recurrence is reduced. Don’t wait – learn about hemorrhoid treatment now.
Anal fissures, though different in nature, share many signs, symptoms, and even causes with hemorrhoids. Additionally, many patients suffering from hemorrhoids also suffer from fissures. The best way to know for sure is to come in for a consultation. If you’re experiencing any hemorrhoid symptoms, make an appointment to see Dr. Gandhi today for diagnosis and treatment.