Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside your anus, sometimes called “piles,” and are usually not part of polite conversation. We will discuss them here, so you can learn 6 signs you may have hemorrhoids.
A Common Condition
Seventy-five percent of adults will get hemorrhoids occasionally. They are painful and very uncomfortable, and they can affect anyone. All genders, races, ages, and ethnicities can develop irritating hemorrhoids.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the rectum. They may bleed, but they are not usually painful.
- External hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus. The external type can be itchy and painful and they sometimes bleed filling with blood that clots.
Signs You May Have Hemorrhoids
- This type can cause bright red blood on your toilet paper, on your feces, or in the toilet after a bowel movement.
- They can push through your anus (prolapsed) causing pain and irritation
- Itching and irritation near your anus
- Pain and discomfort, especially while sitting
- Swelling around the anus
Causes and Risk Factors of Hemorrhoids
You are more likely to develop hemorrhoids if your family member had them, especially your parents. Straining during a bowel movement, being overweight or obese, being pregnant, having chronic constipation or diarrhea, eating a diet low in fiber, frequently straining to lift heavy objects, and anal sex are all risk factors for hemorrhoids.
If you sit or stand for long periods of time you are also at a higher risk.
Treating Hemorrhoids At Home
Many times the symptoms of hemorrhoids will go away on their own. If they last more than one week, you can treat them with over-the-counter medications topical treatments like lidocaine, witch hazel, or hydrocortisone. Drink more water and take a laxative to soften stools. Increase your fiber intake, and soak in a warm bath.
You can also take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds for pain.
Bleeding and several of the symptoms of hemorrhoids can be due to other gastrointestinal disorders. It is important to talk with a proctologist to get a proper diagnosis. Bowel diseases that cause bleeding include colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis which can be life-threatening.
If at-home treatments do not relieve your symptoms within one week, contact colorectal specialist Aaron B. Parrish, MD at (408) 358-2868 to schedule a visit at our office in Los Gatos. Our office is just a short drive from San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Salinas, Hollister, and Monterey.