Veins in the rectum and anus can become swollen for various reasons. This swelling causes the blood vessel and skin to stretch thin and result in a bulge. This bulge is then susceptible to irritation. These bulges are hemorrhoids, and they can take both internal and external forms.
Internal vs. External Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum. There are actually fewer pain sensitive nerves in the rectum, so it’s likely if you suffer from internal hemorrhoids you won’t even feel them. People will internal hemorrhoids often discover their existence due to bleeding.
External hemorrhoids appear on the anus or around the anus, where they can hurt more and bleed.
Hemorrhoids are in part hereditary. If your parents suffered from hemorrhoids you are likely also susceptible. Pushing too hard during bowel movements or straining too hard when performing a physical activity can also exacerbate or cause hemorrhoids.
Prolonged constipation or diarrhea could also be contributing factors.
Hemorrhoid Treatment Methods
There are two common hemorrhoid treatment methods. The generally preferred option, for eligible patients, is the FDA approved, minimally invasive infrared coagulation (IRC) treatment. More complex hemorrhoid cases may require the rubber band ligation (banding) treatment method.
IRC treatments take only a few minutes and involves directing infrared light into the hemorrhoid, which causes the underlying veins to shrink and the hemorrhoid to recede. The treatment may need to be repeated three to four times. Each treatment occurs approximately one to two weeks apart. The IRC treatment is entirely painless for the majority of patients, who can return to work or their daily lives immediately afterwards.
The rubber band litigation method uses small rubber bands to cut off blood flow from the hemorrhoid. It’s generally only used in complex cases. Once applied, the rubber band and hemorrhoid should fall off within a few days. The wound should heal within a month. It is generally painless but may result in some bleeding. Like the IRC method, banding may require multiple applications.
Many healthy living habits may help you prevent hemorrhoids.
Eating fiber and health foods will help maintain optimal digestion and bowel movements
- Staying hydrated prevents hard stools and constipation
- Exercising promotes blood flow and bowel movements
- Don’t hold in bowel movements