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Hemorrhoids

Not anyone’s favorite subject, hemorrhoids are nevertheless common and nothing to be embarrassed about. These bulging veins around the opening of the anus can affect anyone but are more likely to occur in mature adults.

Circulatory vessels-i.e., veins and arteries-densely surround the rectum and anus. Some of these are closely associated with the anal area in a network carrying blood to and from this end of the digestive tract that serves as the final segment of the GI tract helping to cushion, move and process feces. As such, these vessels are affected byphysical pressure in the rectum and anus, which in turn causes blood to pool and build pressure. Like any thin, pliable, fluid-containing structures they vessels are subject to bulging in response strong or repeated pressures.

The downward straining often inherent in bowel movements, especially when constipation is a factor, can cause a ballooning of these structures out of their normal position. The resulting protrusions, most typically of veins, in and around the rectum and anus may cause no symptoms (especially if internal) but can also just as frequently be uncomfortable, itchy and painful. They can bleed and, in unusual cases, become infected.

Lourdes GI doctors can confirm the presence of hemorrhoids and provide a wide range of steps for resolving the condition.
Conservative Self-Care for Most Cases

Lourdes experienced gastroenterologists can easily diagnose this condition by symptoms and visual inspection (if the hemorrhoids are external or palpable) or by endoscopic inspection. Hemorrhoids are an incidental, rare or occasional passing condition for some people, while they are repetitive, chronic or sometimes more serious and constant problems for others. Even after they resolve, on their own or as result of treatment, hemorrhoids can return, given the right exacerbating conditions.

In most cases, symptoms are mild and last only a few days. But for others, they can be very uncomfortable and distracting. Care for hemorrhoids includes washing the area to keep it clean and dry if the hemorrhoid is external or, for a few patients, surgery. Topical medications may help with local symptoms such as itching and pain, may help to reduce swelling and may help to protect against additional irritation of the hemorrhoid itself.

Have Bleeding CheckedRectal bleeding or bleeding with a bowel movement is never normal. Patients who notice such symptoms should see a healthcare provider. Hemorrhoids are the most common cause of such bleeding, but other causes can include inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis (or other sources of intestinal infection) or colorectal polyps or cancer.
Staff Ready with Preventive Counseling, Direct Treatment As Needed

The specialists may inspect the hemorrhoid digitally (by touching and examining it with their fingers) and in some cases attempt to push the vein back into position manually. Experienced Lourdes doctors can also advise patients on steps to avoid hemorrhoids and to provide conditions for healing existing hemorrhoids, including:

  • eating a higher-fiber diet and staying hydrated, both of which decrease the likelihood constipation or hardened stools;
  • avoiding hard straining during bowel movements;
  • losing weight;
  • exercising to improve regularity;
  • spending less times attempting to defecate (including avoiding reading while on the toilet);
  • and avoiding, in general, sitting for long periods of time.

Nonsurgical treatments provided by the Lourdes team also include chemical treatment of the hemorrhoid to scar it and cause it to subside or placing a tiny rubber band around an external hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply and shrink it. The GI experts also work closely with Lourdes’ general and colorectal surgeons to determine when operative removal of the hemorrhoid is the best option. Approaches to doing so include electrocauterizing the hemorrhoid, resecting and removing the hemorrhoid, or repositioning the hemorrhoid with temporary staples so that its blood supply can be cut off.

1-888-LOURDES (568-7337)

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