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Internal Hemorrhoids

More than 10 million people in United States suffer from hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swelling in the anal canal that may protrude through the anus on straining. They contain enlarged veins. Rectal bleeding is the most common presentation of hemorrhoids. It is important however to realize that not all bleeding is from hemorrhoids and you need to discuss with your doctor and get examined when you have rectal bleeding. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer and presents with rectal bleeding also. People with any bleeding from the rectum should consult their doctors for advice.

 Internal vs External Hemorrhoids:

Hemorrhoids can be internal or external. External hemorrhoids develop around the anus. They are felt like a lump in the area around the anus. They can cause pain and itching when irritated. Internal hemorrhoids are on the inside of the anus/rectum and are not visible from outside unless they are protruding. They are usually painless. They can cause bleeding and protrusion.

 Common Symptoms from Hemorrhoids:

 Bleeding during bowel movements, which usually is in the form of bright red streaks of blood on toilet paper or sometimes-bright red blood dripping in the toilet bowl usually after a bowel movement. Blood may be seen on the surface of the stool also.

  1. Protrusion during bowel movements
  2. Itching in the anal area
  3. Leakage of stool
  4. Pain in the ano-rectal area during bowel movements

 How do you treat hemorrhoids?

 Most hemorrhoids can be avoided by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and without using any medications. Here are some general helpful hints.

  •  Avoid prolonged standing or sitting
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Try not to strain while having a bowel movement.
  • Use wet wipes instead of toilet paper- Instead of wiping with dry toilet paper, which can be abrasive and increase inflammation of the hemorrhoid, use moist towelettes or baby wipes.
  • Sitz bath – Fill your bathtub with warm water to about 5-6 inches and sit in the tub for 15 minutes at a time. Do this several times a day, especially after you have had a bowel movement. Do not use hot water.
  • Pregnant women can take pressure of the veins in the abdomen by lying down on their left side for short periods of 20 minutes several times a day.
  • Loose weight
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Drink plenty of water

 If these simple measures fail and one continues to be symptomatic, various other treatments are available. Surgery is usually reserved for very severe cases as a last resort. Small procedures including infrared coagulation and rubber band ligation are effective procedures, which can be performed in the office and are very safe.

Posted in Colonoscopy, Hemorrhiods.

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