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About 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from digestive disease.
*Source: National Institutes of Health
 

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or anus. There are three types of hemorrhoids:


  • Internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum, and are usually painless but may bleed.
  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids may stretch until they bulge from the anus. It may retract on its own, or may be pushed gently inside
  • External hemorrhoids are outside the anus. They may be itchy and painful and may crack and bleed.

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:


  • Bleeding after a bowel movement
  • Itching and pain around the anus

Causes and Prevention

Constipation causes straining during bowel movements, which may result in hemorrhoids. They may also be caused by obesity, heavy lifting, or an activity that causes physical strain. Pregnant women often get hemorrhoids from the strain of carrying the baby and giving birth.


Diagnosis

Rectal bleeding may also be a symptom of something much more serious like cancer, so it should be investigated by your WellStar physician.


Treatment

If your hemorrhoids are caused by constipation, home treatments include:


  • High-fiber diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Regular exercise
  • A fiber supplement, like Fiberall® or Metamucil® (but not a laxative that may lead to diarrhea, which can aggravate hemorrhoids
  • Don't wait to use the bathroom

Pain associated with hemorrhoids may be relieved with:


  • Warm baths
  • Gently cleaning after bowel movements with moist toilet paper or a moistened baby wipe
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever
  • Topical application of a cream that contains witch hazel, a numbing ointment, or a hydrocortisone cream.

Do not use a hemorrhoid medication without consulting your WellStar physician.


Treatments for internal hemorrhoids may include:


  • Internal hemorrhoids may be treated by placing a rubber band around their base to stop the flow of blood to them so they wither away.
  • Internal hemorrhoids may be destroyed by injecting them with a chemical.
  • A hemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal) may be necessary if it is prolapsed or very large.
  • Banding - rubber band ligation - is the application of an elastic band to cut off a hemorrhoid's blood supply. Within a week or so, the hemorrhoid falls off.
 
 
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