What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the wall of your rectum and anus. Your rectum is the last part of your digestive system where stool (poop) is stored until you pass it. Your anus is the hole in your buttocks where your stool comes out.
The swollen veins are caused by too much pressure in the vein
Hemorrhoids may be inside the rectum and anus where you can't see them (internal hemorrhoids) or swell outside of the anus (external hemorrhoids)
Hemorrhoids can cause pain or bleeding
Most symptoms go away without treatment
What causes hemorrhoids?
Pressure in the veins in your rectum or anus can cause hemorrhoids. This pressure can be from:
Lifting heavy objects
Constipation (trouble passing stool) or diarrhea (loose, watery stool) for a long time
Sitting on the toilet too long or pushing too hard while passing stool
Sometimes, anal sex
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
Symptoms of hemorrhoids can include:
Lumps on your anus, which may become painful or swollen
Bleeding from the anus or rectum with or without pain, particularly when you pass stool
Mucus (thick fluid) in your rectum that may make you feel like you haven’t finished passing stool
How can doctors tell if I have hemorrhoids?
Doctors can see external hemorrhoids easily. They may use an anoscope (a short tube doctors use to look at your rectum) to see internal hemorrhoids.
If you're bleeding from your anus or rectum, doctors may need to do other tests to make sure you don’t have a more serious problem, such as a tumor.
How do doctors treat hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids only need treatment if they cause symptoms.
Treatment to help with symptoms include:
Laxatives if you're constipated
Sitting in a tub of just enough warm water to cover your anus (sitz bath) for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day
Numbing cream that you put in your anus
Treatments to remove hemorrhoids can include:
A shot that causes scarring in the hemorrhoid and destroys it
Using heat, electric current, or a laser to destroy the hemorrhoid
Tying the hemorrhoid with special rubber bands, which makes the hemorrhoid fall off
Sometimes, surgery to remove hemorrhoids
Sometimes, surgery to remove a blood clot in a hemorrhoid that causes severe pain
What can I do to prevent hemorrhoids?
To prevent hemorrhoids from coming back, even after treatment, you should:
Eat more fiber
Drink plenty of fluids
Go to the toilet when you feel you have to—don't wait
Don't sit on the toilet for a long time or strain to pass stool
Keep your anus clean