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Hemorrhoids (Piles) FAQs

Reviewed by Jay W. Marks, MD

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Q:Everyone has hemorrhoids. True or False?

A:True. Although most people think hemorrhoids are abnormal, they are present in everyone. It is only when the hemorrhoidal cushions (also known as hemorrhoids) enlarge that hemorrhoids can cause problems and be considered abnormal or a disease. Hemorrhoids are also referred to as piles.

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Q:Men and women suffer from hemorrhoids at about the same rate. True or False?

A:True. Although hemorrhoids occur in everyone, they become large and cause problems in only 4% of the general population. Hemorrhoids that cause problems are found equally in men and women, and their prevalence peaks between 45 and 65 years of age.

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Q:What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

A:Bright red blood in stool, toilet tissue, or in the toilet bowl. Symptoms of hemorrhoids can include: - Anal itching - Anal ache or pain, especially while sitting - Bright red blood on toilet tissue, stool, or in the toilet bowl - Pain during bowel movements - One or more hard tender lumps near the anus

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Q:What is a thrombosis?

A:A blood clot. A thrombosis is a blood clot. With a thrombosis of an external hemorrhoid, a painful lump forms on the anus and often requires medical attention. In some cases, the thrombosed hemorrhoid may heal, but leave scar tissue such as a skin tag near the anus.

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Q:Hemorrhoids can be caused by what?

A:Pregnancy, Being overweight and Diarrhea. There are several schools of thought as to why hemorrhoids form. Some doctors theorize that the cause of hemorrhoids is related to an inadequate fiber intake, prolonged sitting on the toilet, chronic straining to have a bowel movement, being overweight, diarrhea, constipation, age, or aggravating medical conditions. However, pregnancy is a clear cause of hemorrhoids.

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Q:What is a hemorrhoid?

A:A swollen vein located in the anal canal. A hemorrhoid is a swollen vein in the anal canal. Figuratively, hemorrhoids may be best described as clumps of tissue located in the anal canal that contain blood vessels (hemorrhoidal cushions).

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Q:What are treatments for hemorrhoids?

A:Scarring, rubber banding and heat and cold therapies. Aside from general remedies such as over-the-counter treatments, some people may find nonoperative procedures to be the best treatment for hemorrhoids. Nonoperative procedures and treatments include: Sclerotherapy: promotes inflammation and subsequent scarring of the hemorrhoid Rubber band ligation: causes the hemorrhoid to die by banding it tightly with medical rubber Heat coagulation: kills hemorrhoidal tissue with heat, which then promotes inflammation and scarring Cryotherapy: obliterates the veins with cold temperatures, and then causes inflammation and scarring

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Q:What is the newest surgical technique for treating hemorrhoids?

A:Stapled hemorrhoidectomy. The new and most popular treatment for high-grade hemorrhoids is called "stapled hemorrhoidectomy." Although the name implies that hemorrhoid removal is part of the procedure, this is actually incorrect. Rather, the surgery removes the tissues supporting the hemorrhoid rather than the hemorrhoid itself.

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