Hemorrhoids are swollen, enlarged blood vessels in the lower areas of the rectum or anus. They are sometime described as “varicose veins of the anus or rectum.”
- Straining during bowel movements
- Lifting heavy objects
- Sitting for extended time periods
- Weakening of the tissue surrounding the anus with age
- Pregnancy of childbirth
- Genetics – weaker veins/hemorrhoids can run in families
There are 2 types of hemorrhoids:
- External hemorrhoids – these occur when there is increased pressure in the blood vessels around the anus, causing swelling and inflammation. When a blood clot (thrombosis) develops in the external hemorrhoid, it becomes hard and painful, ranging in size from pea to grape size.
- Internal hemorrhoids – these develop within the anal canal. They are usually painless but tend to bleed during a bowel movement. At times, they protrude outside the anus during bowel movements. They can become very painful if the hemorrhoid prolapses (protrudes from the anus).
Symptom of hemorrhoids are:
- Bleeding during bowel movements
- Anal itching or irritation
- Swelling, pain, or discomfort around the anus
- Protrusions or painful lumps in the anal region
There is no relationship between hemorrhoids and cancer. However, the symptoms of hemorrhoids and cancer are very similar. That is why it is extremely important to have the symptoms investigated by our trained specialists in colon, rectal, and digestive diseases.
Our physicians can see external hemorrhoids. Diagnosing internal ones requires an exam of the anal canal and rectum. If the doctor cannot feel anything after inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum, they might exam the lower portion of the rectum with an anoscope, proctoscope, or sigmoidoscope. A colonoscopy might be recommended if there are signs of another digestive system disease, risk factors for colorectal cancer, or the patient is middle-aged and has not had a recent colonoscopy.
Our physicians offer a full range of state-of-the-art hemorrhoid treatments from minimally invasive to surgical.
- Non-surgical treatments – relatively painless with no downtime
- Ligation/rubber-banding – A rubber band is placed over the hemorrhoid, cutting off its blood supply.
- Infrared or laser photocoagulation – In-office procedure using an infrared light to cause hemorrhoids to harden and shrivel. This is effective at the earliest stages of internal bleeding but is not the most effective procedure.
- Surgical treatments – for a small percentage who do not respond to non-surgical treatments or have large hemorrhoids
- Hemorrhoidectomy – Surgical removal of hemorrhoids under sedation or general anesthesia.
- Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (PPH) – Protruding or prolapsed tissue is lifted and replaced in its original position.
- Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization (THD) – Use of ultrasound guidance to located the arteries feeding blood to the hemorrhoid which are sutured to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid.