Hemorrhoids: What a Pain!

Hemorrhoids, which are basically varicose veins of the rectum, occur when veins in the anal canal or lower rectum become swollen or inflamed. While many people joke about hemorrhoids, this painful condition is no laughing matter.

There are two types of hemorrhoids: Internal, which occur in the rectal tunnel and are associated with rectal bleeding, itching, pain or skin irritation; and external, which occur in or around the anus and are characterized by a hard spot or painful swelling where the blood clot forms.

Hemorrhoids are common in both men and women. In fact, about half the population has them by age 50. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including abdominal disorders, pregnancy, stress, a lifestyle that includes sitting for extended periods of time, obesity, inadequate intake of fiber, lack of exercise, or genetic tendencies.

While home remedies such as creams, suppositories and warm baths may offer temporary relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids, they often fail to solve the problem.

Despite the lack of long-term relief, far too many people put off seeking treatment. Some are embarrassed to mention their problem; others mistakenly believe that treatment involves surgery and long recovery periods. The good news is that new medical advances make treatment much easier. We offer non-surgical treatments that are quick, easy and virtually pain-free. Most patients are able to resume their normal lifestyle almost as soon as they leave our office.

A word of caution: Rectal bleeding is a common side-effect of hemorrhoids, but it also can indicate a more serious problem. It is important to seek medical attention if: You are over age 40 or have a family history of colon cancer; your hemorrhoids don’t improve with self-care; you have pain or bleed frequently or excessively; you develop bleeding between bowel movements; and/or the onset of your hemorrhoids occurs along with a marked change in bowel habits.