Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. By the age of 50, around half of adults will have experienced the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can either be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the anus or rectum, and external hemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. External hemorrhoids are the most common and most troublesome. Hemorrhoids cause pain, severe itching, and difficulty sitting. Despite this, it is a very treatable condition.
Symptoms to Look Out For
Although hemorrhoids are painful, they aren’t life-threatening and often go away on their own without treatment. If you have them frequently, you may develop symptoms of anemia – such as weakness and pale skin due to blood loss – though this is rare.
- Extreme itching around the anus
- Irritation and pain around the anus
- Itchy or painful lump or swelling near your anus
- Fecal leakage
- Painful bowel movements
- Blood on your tissue after having a bowel movement
Experts aren’t sure what causes hemorrhoids to develop. Possible factors include:
- Straining during a bowel movement
- Complications from chronic constipation
- Sitting for a long period of time, especially on the toilet
- A family history of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be passed on genetically, so if your parents had hemorrhoids – you’re more likely to get them. Consistent heavy lifting, obesity, or other strain on the body can increase your risk of hemorrhoids. Standing too much without taking a break to sit can cause hemorrhoids to develop. Consistent anal sexual intercourse and diarrhea may also increase your risk of hemorrhoids. You are also more likely to develop hemorrhoids if you’re pregnant.
How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?
A visual examination of your anal region may be enough to diagnose hemorrhoids. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor may do a different examination to check for any abnormalities within the anus. This check is known as a digital rectal exam. During this exam, your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum. If they feel anything abnormal, they may order an additional test called a sigmoidoscopy.
A sigmoidoscopy involves your doctor using a small camera to diagnose an internal hemorrhoid. This small camera fits into a small tube and then inserts into your rectum. From this test, your doctor gets a clear view of the inside of your rectum so that they can examine the hemorrhoid up close.
Treating the Problem
Most hemorrhoids can be managed at home but if the pain or bleeding is severe, the hemorrhoids keep returning, or you are experiencing pain, bleeding and itching from the hemorrhoids after a week, consider seeing your doctor for assessment and treatment. At Triborough GI, our team of highly skilled gastroenterologists will help you get the best care and comfort possible. If you have any of these symptoms, please contact us today.
Call Triborough GI at (718) 675-3222 today to schedule an appointment or Televisit!