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Did you know that hemorrhoids are one of the most common medical problems in the United States? In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, approximately half of all Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. And while hemorrhoids often cause no symptoms and can be treated easily with over-the-counter medications, they can also lead to rectal bleeding and a great deal of discomfort.

If you’re experiencing hemorrhoids or rectal bleeding, don’t suffer in silence! There are treatments available that can provide relief from your symptoms. So what are you waiting for? Read on for more information about hemorrhoids and rectal bleeding, and how to get relief from them.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus. They can be either internal, which means they’re inside the rectum, or external, which means they’re outside the anus. Hemorrhoids can be painful, itchy, and can sometimes bleed.

Internal hemorrhoids are often small veins that have become inflamed and swollen. They’re usually not painful unless they prolapse or bulge out, and then they can cause pain and bleeding. External hemorrhoids are often large veins that are also swollen and inflamed. They can be very painful, especially if they thrombose or clot.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

There are a number of things that can cause hemorrhoids, including:

– Constipation: This is often the most common cause of hemorrhoids. When you’re constipated, you have to strain to have a bowel movement, and this can cause the veins in your rectum or anus to become swollen and inflamed.

– Pregnancy: This can be another common cause of hemorrhoids, because during pregnancy, the growing uterus puts pressure on the veins in the pelvis.

– Anal intercourse: This can also cause hemorrhoids, because it can put extra strain on the veins in the anal area.

– Obesity: Being overweight or obese can also contribute to hemorrhoids, because it puts extra pressure on the veins in the lower body.

What Are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding. You may notice blood on your toilet paper after having a bowel movement, or you may see blood in the toilet bowl itself. Rectal bleeding can also be a sign of other problems, so it’s important to see your doctor if you experience it.

Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include pain, itching, and swelling in the anal area. If hemorrhoids bulge out and become prolapsed, they can be very painful, especially if they thrombose, or clot.

How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?

Hemorrhoids are usually diagnosed based on a medical history and a physical examination. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform a digital rectal exam, in which they insert a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum to feel for hemorrhoids.

Your doctor may also order a hemorrhoid banding procedure, during which they place rubber bands around the hemorrhoids to cut off their blood supply and cause them to wither away.

How Are Hemorrhoids Treated?

Hemorrhoids can often be treated at home with over-the-counter medications like hemorrhoid cream, suppositories, or pads. These can help to soothe the pain and itching associated with hemorrhoids. You can also try taking a warm bath or using an ice pack to help relieve hemorrhoid symptoms.

If home treatment doesn’t work, or if hemorrhoids are large and painful, you may need to see a doctor for further treatment. This can include rubber band ligation, in which rubber bands are placed around the hemorrhoids to cut off their blood supply and cause them to wither away. Other options include hemorrhoid surgery, sclerotherapy (injection of a solution that shrinks the hemorrhoids), and infrared coagulation (a procedure that uses heat to shrink the hemorrhoids).

What is Rectal Bleeding?

In addition to hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding can also be caused by other problems like anal fissures (tears in the anus), anal fistulas (abnormal passages between the anus and rectum), or colorectal cancer. Rectal bleeding is usually just a symptom of another problem, so it’s important to see your doctor if you experience it. They can order tests to determine the cause of the bleeding and recommend treatment.

Treatment for rectal bleeding depends on the underlying cause. If hemorrhoids are the cause, treatment options include hemorrhoid cream, suppositories, or pads. If anal fissures are the cause, treatment options include medicated creams, stool softeners, and warm baths. For anal fistulas, surgery may be necessary to close off the abnormal passage. And for colorectal cancer, treatment typically involves surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

New York Gastroenterology Associates (NYGA) is a premier independent gastroenterology practice in New York City. Recognized for providing the highest quality gastroenterological care. We provide consultation and a wide range of ambulatory tests at our offices throughout New York City. You can request an appointment right now to get the help you need!