Doctor's Notes on Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are enlarged blood vessels in the lining of the walls of the rectum and anus. Enlargement of these blood vessels occurs due to an increase in the pressure within these vessels. Increased pressure may be caused by a variety of conditions, such as pregnancy, obesity, diarrhea, rectal surgery, or injury to the spinal cord. The pressure also increases when a person has to strain to have a bowel movement.
- The blood is usually bright red in color and may appear as streaks on the stool.
- Associated symptoms can include swelling and feeling a lump at the anus.
- Blood clots can also form inside enlarged hemorrhoids and cause intense pain.
- External hemorrhoids may appear as bluish-red or pink rubbery lumps at the anal opening.
What Is the Treatment for Hemorrhoids?
Treatment options include both home care measures as well as procedures performed by a physician:
- Warm baths or sitz baths
- Petroleum jelly or hydrocortisone ointment
- Application of witch hazel
- Wearing loose clothing
- High-fiber diet
- Cold packs or compresses
- Stool softener medications
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Procedures including injection, rubber band ligation, cauterization, or coagulation
- Surgery for severe cases
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.