What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the rectum or in the anal canal.

There are two types of hemorrhoids: external and internal. External hemorrhoids swell near the anus and can often be seen. Hemorrhoids that swell higher up in the rectum are known as internal hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a common problem that afflict people of all ages.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoid symptoms include:
  • Streaks of blood on the stool
  • Blood on the toilet paper after wiping
  • Itching around the anus
  • Burning sensation around the rectum
  • Pain when wiping
The blood inside the hemorrhoid may clot or thrombose. When this occurs, one may experience a painful swelling, a hard lump, or more bleeding. Over time when the thrombosis dissolves, the skin around it may become irritated and cause itching.

Hemorrhoids are not life threatening or dangerous. Symptoms will typically resolve within a few days. Some people may have hemorrhoids but may not experience any symptoms.

What causes hemorrhoids?
The common causes of hemorrhoids include:
  • Constant episodes of diarrhea and constipation
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Pregnancy
Many times straining occurs because the diet lacks fiber or fluids. Fiber and fluids help stool pass smoothly through the intestine, making it easier to have a bowel movement.

Another cause of hemorrhoids is the weakening of the connective tissue in the rectum and anus that occurs with age.

For pregnant women, hemorrhoids will typically dissolve after they have given birth.

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
To diagnose hemorrhoids, Dr. Khorrami will examine the anus and rectum for visible hemorrhoids. You may need further evaluation with an anoscope, which is used to look inside the rectal area.

Dr. Khorrami may also recommend other procedures for further diagnostic evaluation:
Colonoscopy. This procedure involves the use of a flexible tube, with a camera attached, that is fed through your anus. Images are displayed on a screen allowing Dr. Khorrami to view your entire colon and check for other serious digestive diseases or illnesses.

Sigmoidoscopy. This procedure is similar to colonoscopy, but only involves the end of large intestine, rectum, and anus. The same flexible tube with camera attached is used during the procedure.

Barium enema. This procedure involves the use of barium and x-rays. A barium solution is placed in your large intestine which shows up as white when x-rays are taken.

How are hemorrhoids treated?
Many people’s hemorrhoids can be successfully treated at home with dietary and lifestyle changes. The main goal in treating hemorrhoids is to reduce the swelling. Consuming more fiber and making you sure you stay hydrated throughout the day significantly reduce straining with bowel movements.

High-fiber diets consist of many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The American Dietetic Association recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams for men. Fiber helps soften stool and allow it to pass smoothly through the intestines and during bowel movements. You may also find relief by taking warm baths to decrease the swelling. Exercise will help if you suffer from constipation.

Dr. Khorrami may prescribe stool softeners or fiber supplements such as Metamucil, and he may also suggest over-the-counter creams and suppositories that aid in temporarily relieving the pain associated with hemorrhoids.

If home treatments do not improve your symptoms, then you may need medical treatments. Medical treatment include procedures such as:
  • Sclerotherapy. The doctor injects a chemical solution into the blood vessel to shrink the hemorrhoid.
  • Infrared coagulation. This technique applies heat to the hemorrhoid in order to shrink it.
  • If all treatment fails, then surgery may be recommended to remove your hemorrhoids.
Discuss Your Options with Dr. Khorrami
Dr. Khorrami has been in practice since 1996 as a double-board certified gastroenterologist, has experienced a variety of patient cases, and is well trained to solve your digestive problems. Get in touch to learn more about hemorrhoids and how you can successfully treat them.

Source contains material from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC).


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About Dr. Khorrami

Dr. Payman Khorrami is a UCLA graduate, has been in practice since 1996, and is double board certified. Undergraduate Education at University of California, Berkeley, Medical School at University of California, San Francisco, Internal Medicine Training at University of California, San Diego Read Full Bio