Hemorrhoids target the veins near the lower rectum and anus. They’re like varicose veins. You can get them inside (internal hemorrhoids). Or just under your skin outside the anus (external hemorrhoids).

They often cause rectal bleeding. Plus, they bring on pain, itchiness, and irritation. Over half of people over 50 in the US have hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids are common, not usually serious, but can be bothersome. It’s key to know what causes them. This info helps manage the condition. Whether it’s the bleeding, itching, or pain, understanding hemorrhoids is important. It guides you to the right steps for relief and to avoid more problems.

Overview of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are like varicose veins in the rectum and anus. They come in two types: inside the rectum (internal) or under the skin around the anus (external).

Internal hemorrhoids are painless but can bleed. External ones cause pain, swelling, and itching. If a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid, it becomes a thrombosed hemorrhoid. This causes severe pain.

Knowing the types and symptoms of hemorrhoids helps in getting the right treatment.

Definition and Description

Hemorrhoids are veins in the rectum and anus that swell. They are just like varicose veins. You can have them inside the rectum (internal) or under the skin by the anus (external).

They can make you feel pain, itch, and sometimes bleed.

Types of Hemorrhoids

  1. Internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum. They often don’t hurt but can bleed.
  2. External hemorrhoids are under the skin by the anus. They can cause pain, swelling, and irritation.
  3. If a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid, it becomes thrombosed. This is very painful.

what are hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. They’re like varicose veins but are around the back passage.

They can either be inside the rectum or under the skin around the anus.

About more than half of people over 50 in the United States get them.

They can lead to pain, itching, and sometimes bleeding, but they’re usually not serious.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Internal Hemorrhoids Symptoms

Internal hemorrhoids don’t usually hurt. But they can cause painless bleeding when you use the bathroom. You might see bright red blood on toilet paper or in the bowl. It can also cover the stool. Sometimes, internal hemorrhoids may bulge outside the body, leading to pain and irritation.

External Hemorrhoids Symptoms

External hemorrhoids are under the skin around the anus. They often cause pain, itching, and swelling. You might feel a painful lump near your anus. Or you could have irritation and itching in the anal area. These hemorrhoids also might bleed during bowel movements.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids Symptoms

A thrombosed hemorrhoid has a blood clot. It causes severe pain, swelling, and color changes in the skin. This area may look purple or blue and feel very tender. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are quite painful and might need medical care.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If hemorrhoid symptoms last over a week with home treatments, or if you see blood in your stool, visit a doctor. Blood in the stool might not just be from hemorrhoids. It could signal something worse like colorectal cancer. If you also notice changes in your bowel movements or the way your stool looks, it’s critical to see a healthcare provider.

Seek help right away if you lose a lot of blood, feel dizzy, or light-headed. These symptoms could mean serious blood loss. Don’t wait to get medical attention if you notice these signs.

Seeing a medical professional is crucial for rectal bleeding causes or persistent when to see a doctor for hemorrhoids. Don’t just hope it gets better. Getting the right care means you can start feeling better sooner.


Causes and Risk Factors

Hemorrhoids come from pushing too hard when you use the bathroom. This, and other things like staying still for a long time, can make the veins near the bottom swell up. This happens because our body pushes those veins too much. The extra stress can come from pushing too hard when we go to the bathroom or lifting heavy things. Also, being very overweight, pregnant, or always having an upset stomach can cause this. What happens then is, the veins near our back end get bigger and hurt, and this is what we call hemorrhoids.

Risk Factors for Hemorrhoids

Things like getting older or having a big baby inside (if you’re pregnant) can make you more likely to get hemorrhoids.

  • Age – As we get older, parts around our back end can become weaker, making hemorrhoids more likely.
  • Pregnancy – Having a big baby or pushing too hard during birth can also do this.
  • Obesity – Carrying a lot of extra weight can press on those veins, causing problems.
  • Family history – If someone in your family has had hemorrhoids, you might also get them more easily.
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea – Not having a regular bathroom pattern can worsen this.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – Sitting around a lot can slow down the blood flow, making veins more likely to swell.

Complications of Hemorrhoids

While rare, complications of hemorrhoids need quick attention from a doctor. Some issues may include:

Chronic bleeding can cause anemia. This means not enough red blood cells for oxygen. Hemorrhoids that bleed could make you weak.

A prolapsed hemorrhoid might lose its blood supply. This can be very painful and needs urgent care.

A blood clot in an external hemorrhoid is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. It’s very painful and can lead to swelling and changes in skin color.

Though not common, these hemorrhoid complications are serious. They need quick treatment to avoid bigger problems.

complications of hemorrhoids

Diagnosis of Hemorrhoids

A healthcare provider will check for hemorrhoids by looking at the anus and rectum. First, they will visually inspect the area. They are looking for swollen blood vessels or external hemorrhoids. Then, they might do a digital rectal exam. In this test, they gently insert a gloved, lubricated finger into the rectum. This is to feel for anything unusual or painful.

Additional Diagnostic Tests

If needed, the doctor may order more tests. These are to make sure of the diagnosis or look for other issues. Tests might include:

  • Anoscopy – A lighted tube to check the lower rectum and anus for internal hemorrhoids.
  • Sigmoidoscopy – A flexible, lighted tube to examine the colon’s lower part. This tests helps rule out other causes of rectal bleeding.
  • Colonoscopy – A thorough look at the whole colon with a long, flexible, lighted tube. It checks for any problems.

These checks can tell if it’s really hemorrhoids and not something else, like colorectal cancer.

Treatment Options

For mild to moderate hemorrhoid symptoms, you can try home remedies and make some changes to your daily routines. These include:

  • Increasing fiber intake through diet or supplements to soften stools and reduce straining during bowel movements
  • Drinking plenty of fluids to prevent constipation
  • Taking warm sitz baths to soothe the area and improve blood flow
  • Applying over-the-counter creams or ointments containing ingredients like hydrocortisone or witch hazel to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • Avoiding prolonged sitting or straining during bowel movements

Doing these things can help a lot in just a week.

Non-Surgical Treatments

If home fixes don’t fix the issue, doctors might suggest non-surgical options. Some of these are:

  • Rubber band ligation – A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply, causing it to shrink and fall off.
  • Sclerotherapy – A chemical solution is injected around the blood vessel to shrink the hemorrhoid.
  • Infrared coagulation – A special device uses infrared light to burn and shrink the hemorrhoid tissue.

These methods are usually done in the doctor’s office. They work well for both inside and outside hemorrhoids. Plus, they do not need surgery.

Surgical Procedures

For big or ongoing hemorrhoids, surgery might be needed. Surgical choices are:

  • Hemorrhoidectomy – The surgical removal of the hemorrhoid.
  • Hemorrhoidopexy – A procedure that involves stapling the hemorrhoid tissue back into its normal position.

These treatments are for serious conditions that do not improve with other methods. While they are safe, they can have more risks than the non-surgical ways.

hemorrhoid treatment

Prevention Strategies

Changing your diet and lifestyle can stop hemorrhoids from forming again. These steps lower your chances of getting hemorrhoids or having them happen again.

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

For stopping hemorrhoids, try the following changes:

  • Eat more fiber with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Fiber makes it easier to go to the bathroom without straining, which helps prevent hemorrhoids.
  • Drink plenty of water, aiming for 6 to 8 glasses daily. This keeps your stool soft, avoiding constipation that can bring on hemorrhoids.
  • Keep healthy by working out often. Being overweight and not moving enough can up your risk for hemorrhoids.
  • Don’t sit for too long or push hard when using the bathroom. These actions can strain your veins and cause hemorrhoids.
  • Fix constipation or diarrhea quickly. Doing so will reduce further irritation around your anal area, making your hemorrhoid symptoms better.

Follow these how to prevent hemorrhoids guidelines. Taking these steps can lower your risk of getting hemorrhoids or having them come back.

Managing Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, hitting about half of all expecting moms. They come from more pressure on veins in the stomach and bottom. Straining when you’re constipated or giving birth can also make them worse. Though they’re usually not a big deal, they can cause pain and discomfort. Luckily, there are things you can do at home to help, like eating more fiber, drinking plenty of water, and using special creams or ointments. If things get really bad, a doctor might suggest some other treatments or even surgery. It’s key for pregnant women to talk to their doctor or midwife if they’re worried about hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy happen a lot, affecting many soon-to-be moms. Between 25% and 35% of pregnant women could get them because of pregnancy and vaginal birth. In some groups, as many as 85% of pregnancies face hemorrhoids in the last trimester. Constipation plays a big role, which is why it’s crucial to eat foods packed with fiber, drink lots of water, and move your body.

Treating hemorrhoids during pregnancy mainly involves gentle steps, like soaking in warm water and using stuff you can buy without a prescription. A recent study suggested that taking fiber supplements helps. It found a clear benefit in more than 350 people with hemorrhoids. Special creams and ointments with painkillers and anti-swelling effects can also help with soreness, pain, and mild bleeding.

Sometimes, in serious situations, a doctor might suggest surgery for hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This is rare but can be necessary. Other more intense treatments, like sclerotherapy or surgery, are for those who still have symptoms after trying the usual ways to heal. Using botulinum toxin for severe anus tears and hemorrhoids is not an option during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Most of the time, though, simple steps can really help. This includes more fiber, maybe stool softeners, drinking more fluids, and learning better bathroom habits. For many, the trouble with hemorrhoids goes away after they give birth. But it’s always wise to talk to your doctor or midwife about any concerns. They can help make sure things are managed well and prevent any serious problems.


Hemorrhoids are a common issue that affect the veins in the rectum and anus. They can cause bleeding, pain, itching, and swelling. This happens since the vessels get enlarged. They might not be too serious but can be really uncomfortable.

Many things can make you more likely to get hemorrhoids. This includes getting older, being pregnant, overweight, and having digestive issues. A lifestyle with too little movement also adds to the risk.

Doctors find hemorrhoids by examining you. Sometimes, they do other tests like anoscopy, which looks inside the rectum. Some treatments you can do at home. If things are worse, you might need surgery.

To prevent hemorrhoids, experts suggest eating more fiber. Drinking lots of water and not sitting for too long are also good. If you take hemorrhoids self-care, you can avoid serious hemorrhoid problems.

Knowing about hemorrhoids is key to handling them. This includes their common causes, symptoms, and how to treat them. By taking steps to prevent them and getting help early, you’ll do well.


What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are like varicose veins but in the rectum and anus. They can be inside the rectum or outside the anus. They may cause pain and bleed.

What are the different types of hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids come in three types: inside, outside, and thrombosed. Internal ones are painless but can bleed. External ones cause pain and swelling. Thrombosed hemorrhoids are painful due to a blood clot.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Symptoms include bleeding, pain, itching, and irritation. A hard lump near the anus may form. With internal hemorrhoids, a bulge may come out from the anus.

When should I seek medical attention for hemorrhoids?

If symptoms last more than a week with home treatment, see a doctor. Also, if there’s rectal bleeding, it’s important to get checked. This could signal something more serious if your bowel habits or stool change.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids appear from the lower rectum’s veins being under pressure. Straining, sitting too long, and obesity are common causes. So are chronic diarrhea or constipation, pregnancy, and heavy lifting.

What are the possible complications of hemorrhoids?

Serious issues could include anemia, a block in blood flow to the hemorrhoid, or an external hemorrhoid’s blood clot. These need quick care by a doctor.

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose hemorrhoids by looking at the anus and rectum. They might also do a digital rectal exam. Further tests could be needed to double-check or to look for other problems.

What are the treatment options for hemorrhoids?

Many times, simple remedies and lifestyle changes work. For tougher cases, your doctor might suggest things like rubber band ligation. Surgery can also help in severe situations.

How can I prevent hemorrhoids?

To prevent hemorrhoids, eat more fiber, drink water, and stay active. Try not to sit for long periods or push too hard when going to the bathroom.

How are hemorrhoids managed during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids happen often during pregnancy. Treat them with home solutions and talk to your doctor about options. It’s essential to communicate your concerns with your healthcare provider.

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