If you have hemorrhoids, you know this condition isn’t just uncomfortable physically—it’s also uncomfortable to talk about. But there’s no reason to be embarrassed about your hemorrhoids, and talking about the condition to your provider can help relieve your symptoms.
It’s important to know that not all hemorrhoids are the same, and they may occur internally or externally. Depending on where your hemorrhoids are, you can experience different symptoms. On top of that, some people may face hemorrhoids as a chronic issue.
Clearly, hemorrhoids are not straightforward, which is why it’s important to speak to your provider if you experience them.
At Rivas Digestive Center, board-certified gastroenterologist John M. Rivas, MD, and his team have years of experience diagnosing and treating hemorrhoids for patients in Hollywood, Florida. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand what hemorrhoids are, how they’re treated, and why you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about having them!
All about hemorrhoids
About three-quarters of American adults experience hemorrhoids at least once in their life, making this a very common condition. Hemorrhoids occur when the veins in the anus or in the anal canal become swollen.
There are three different types of hemorrhoids that you can experience. External hemorrhoids form in the skin around your anus. They cause uncomfortable symptoms like pain or discomfort, itching, burning or irritation in the anal area, swelling around the anus, and bleeding.
Internal hemorrhoids occur in the lining of your anus or rectum and tend to cause fewer symptoms because of their protected location. However, uncomfortable or painful symptoms can occur once an internal hemorrhoid ruptures and begins bleeding, often due to straining during a bowel movement.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids form when blood pools in an external hemorrhoid, causing a clot called a thrombus. These feel like hard bumps near the anus and can lead to intense pain and inflammation.
Who can get hemorrhoids
This uncomfortable condition can affect anybody, but certain risk factors may make you more susceptible to them.
Not eating enough fiber is a big risk factor, since a lack of fiber can make your bowel movements strained or irregular. If you have chronic constipation or diarrhea, the extra strain on your anal canal veins increases your chance of developing hemorrhoids.
Studies have found a significant association between being overweight or obese and developing hemorrhoids, and hemorrhoids are also more common in people over the age of 50.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for hemorrhoids because being inactive can negatively impact your gastrointestinal motility.
Unfortunately, there are some things that are harder to control that can lead to hemorrhoids. For example, additional pressure on veins in the anal area during pregnancy can lead to hemorrhoids.
Underlying health conditions can also be a factor. For example, having IBS or Crohn’s disease causes issues with inflammation and bowel movements, contributing to the appearance of hemorrhoids.
But even simple things, like sitting on the toilet too long, can lead to hemorrhoids, since it strains the veins in the anal canal. If your immediate family has a history of struggling with hemorrhoids, you may be at higher risk for the condition.
Medical researchers are still looking into why some people get hemorrhoids and others don’t. But the best thing to do if you have hemorrhoids is to talk to an experienced provider like Dr. Rivas who can help diagnose the cause of your hemorrhoids and provide treatment.
Don’t be embarrassed by your hemorrhoids!
Getting treatment for hemorrhoids is easy, and you don’t need to feel embarrassed about this condition! Gastroenterologists like Dr. Rivas see many patients with hemorrhoids every year.
After you tell Dr. Rivas about your hemorrhoids, he evaluates your symptoms to determine if you’ll need treatment. Often, hemorrhoids come in mild cases and heal on their own after addressing the underlying factors that triggered them.
If your hemorrhoids are more problematic, Dr. Rivas prescribes medicated pads, creams, or suppositories to treat the swelling and other symptoms.
We like to start with conservative treatments for hemorrhoids like increasing fiber intake, changing bathroom behavior, making lifestyle changes like more exercise, and taking topical treatments and oral pain relievers.
When hemorrhoids are more severe and do not respond to conservative treatments, there are several minimally invasive therapies Dr. Rivas may recommend. These include:
- Rubber band ligation
- External hemorrhoid thrombectomy
- Stapled hemorrhoidectomy
- Infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation
While these treatments destroy or remove hemorrhoids, you’ll still need to make the required lifestyle changes to keep new hemorrhoids from forming in the future. Dr. Rivas discusses your options with you and answers any questions you have before recommending a specific treatment plan.
End your hemorrhoid embarrassment today and seek treatment from our practice! Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at Rivas Digestive Center in Hollywood, Florida, today.