Want to know about hemorrhoids and how to prevent them?
We asked the National Institutes of Health for some answers.
We know: All about Hemorrhoids
What are hemorrhoids?
The term hemorrhoids refers to a condition in which the veins around the anus or lower rectum are swollen and inflamed. Hemorrhoids usually are not dangerous or life threatening. In most cases, hemorrhoidal symptoms will go away within a few days.
What causes hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids may result from straining to move stool. Other contributing factors include pregnancy, aging, chronic constipation or diarrhea, and anal intercourse. Hemorrhoids are either inside the anus (internal) or under the skin around the anus (external).
How do I know if I have hemorrhoids?
There are two basic kinds of hemorroids:
What treatment is available for hemorrhoids?
If you think you may have hemorrhoids it is best to see a doctor. A thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis is important any time bleeding from the rectum or blood in the stool occurs. Bleeding may also be a symptom of other digestive diseases, including colorectal cancer.
Medical treatment of hemorrhoids is aimed initially at relieving symptoms. Measures to reduce symptoms include:
In some cases, hemorrhoids must be treated endoscopically or surgically. These methods are used to shrink and destroy the hemorrhoidal tissue. The doctor will perform the procedure during an office or hospital visit.
A number of methods may be used to remove or reduce the size of internal hemorrhoids. These techniques include:
How can I prevent getting hemorrhoids in the future?
The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep stools soft so they pass easily, thus decreasing pressure and straining, and to empty bowels as soon as possible after the urge occurs. Exercise, including walking, and increased fiber in the diet help reduce constipation and straining by producing stools that are softer and easier to pass.