Hemorrhoids and Treatment
Hemorrhoids are distended veins that develop around the anal orifice. There are two types of hemorrhoids – Internal hemorrhoids that occur in the rectum with the distended veins covered by mucosa and External Hemorrhoids that occur on the out side of the anal orifice and are covered by skin. The former are prone to bleeding causing blood in the stool.
Hemorrhoids are common especially among women who have gone through vaginal child birth. These engorged veins may cause discomfort or occasionally pain around the rectal area or bleeding. The blood is usually bright red and usually small in amounts. Occasionally, thrombosis (clotting) may occur in the engorged vein that can cause severe rectal pain.
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
Most hemorrhoids cause no symptoms but a few patients may present with rectal bleeding (internal hemorrhoids) or pain and itching (external hemorrhoids).
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
Endoscopy (Anoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) remains the most accurate way of diagnosing hemorrhoids. In the evaluation of rectal pain or bleeding, colonoscopy plays an important role especially in excluding colon cancer.
How are hemorrhoids treated?
Conservative measures such as a high fiber diet, Bulk agents (Citrucel, Metamucil etc) help to soften the stool and reduce the straining required to expel a stool. Steroid suppositories (Anusol HC) may also help to reduce the swelling of the hemorrhoids but definitive treatment requires either Endoscopic treament (Banding; Infra Red coagulation) or Surgery (hemorrhoidectomy)
Banding procedures and Infra Red Coagulation can be done as out- patient and do not require admission to a hospital. We are routinely performing these procedures in our Bay Area Houston Endoscopy Center.