Hemorrhoids are when the veins or blood vessels in and around anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated. This happens when there is extra pressure on these veins. Hemorrhoids can be either inside anus (internal) or under the skin around anus (external). They are very common in both men and women.

About half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50. Many women get hemorrhoids during pregnancy and childbirth. The pressure of carrying a baby in belly puts extra stress on the blood vessels in pelvic area. Straining to push the baby out when giving birth also puts extra pressure on these blood vessels.

May get hemorrhoids if :

  • Often strain during bowel movements
  • Are pregnant
  • Have a family history of hemorrhoids
  • Are older
  • Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea


Hemorrhoids are very common. Most people will have a hemorrhoid at some time in their life.

More likely to get hemorrhoids if :

  • Are pregnant
  • Sit on the toilet for too long
  • Are obese
  • Do things that make strain more, such as heavy lifting
  • Have a family history of hemorrhoids
  • Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Are between 45 and 65 years old

Symptoms may vary. Some of the most common Symptoms include:

  • Bright red blood in  stool, on toilet paper, or in  toilet bowl
  • Pain and irritation around  anus
  • Swelling or a hard lump around  anus
  • Itching

In rare cases, hemorrhoids may cause other problems. These may include:

  • Having a low blood count that makes tired (anemia). This can happen because of bleeding from a long-term or chronic hemorrhoid.
  • Blood flow being cut off from a hemorrhoid that is sticking out (prolapsed). This can happen when the blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off. This can be very painful and cause bleeding.  May need surgery.

It’s not always possible to stop hemorrhoids from happening. But may reduce Risk of getting hemorrhoids if:

  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fiber and liquids.
  • Limit the amount of time you sit on the toilet.
  • Manage constipation and prevent straining.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.


How is it diagnosed?

Having blood in stool can also be a sign of other digestive disorders, such as colorectal cancer. It’s important to see healthcare provider for a complete exam.

Healthcare provider may do several tests, including:

  • Physical exam. This is done to check anus and rectum and look for swollen blood vessels that are a sign of hemorrhoids.
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE).  Inserting a gloved, greased (lubricated) finger into rectum to check for any problems.
  • Anoscopy. A hollow, lighted tube is put into your anus. This is used to see internal hemorrhoids.
  • Proctoscopy. A lighted tube is put into anus. This gives a view of entire rectum.
  • Sigmoidoscopy. This test checks the inside of part of large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, belly pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope) is put into intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside. A tissue sample (biopsy) can be taken if needed.
  • Colonoscopy. This test looks at the full length of large intestine. It can help check for any abnormal growths, tissue that is red or swollen, sores (ulcers), or bleeding. A long, flexible, lighted tube called a colonoscope is put into rectum up into the colon. This tube lets allow to see the lining of colon and take out a tissue sample (biopsy) to test it. They may also be able to treat some problems that may be found.

How is it treated?

Treatment will depend on Symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

The main goal of Treatment is to reduce Symptoms. This may be done by:

  • Sitting in plain, warm water in a bathtub several times a day (sitz bath)
  • Using ice packs to reduce swelling
  • Using hemorrhoid creams or medicines inserted into  rectum (suppositories)

Adding more fiber and fluids to diet to help soften stools. Having softer stools means no need to strain during bowel movements. This reduces the pressure on hemorrhoids.

Adding more fiber to diet means eating more:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains

 Stool softeners or fiber supplements.

In some cases, surgery is needed. There are several types of surgeries used to remove or reduce internal and external hemorrhoids. These include:

  • Rubber band ligation. A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid inside rectum to cut off circulation to the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid shrinks and goes away in a few days.
  • Sclerotherapy. A chemical solution is shot (injected) around the blood vessel to shrink the hemorrhoid.
  • Electrical coagulation, also called infrared photo coagulation. A special device uses a beam of infrared light to burn hemorrhoid tissue.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy and hemorrhoidopexy. These procedures permanently remove hemorrhoids.

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