How your body processes food says a lot about your health, from absorbing the nutrients into your cells, processing the other materials you need, and getting rid of waste. And when it comes to removing waste, several conditions can affect bowel movement and getting fecal matter out of your rectum and anus. A common problem millions struggle with is hemorrhoids.
This condition leads to discomfort, itching, bleeding, and other unpleasant issues, and it affects 10.4 million people in America, with a million new cases annually. Up to 20% of those cases may even need surgery. It’s important to know the different types of hemorrhoids you can have and what to expect if you have them, so let’s spend some time learning what you should know about hemorrhoids, signs and risk factors, as well as effective treatments.
If you live in Austin, Texas, and you’re struggling with the signs of hemorrhoids or other gastrointestinal problems, Dr. Rajesh Mehta and his dedicated LoneStar Gastroenterology team can help you get relief.
Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or around your anus that we’re all born with but aren’t a problem until they become enlarged. There are three types of this condition you can find yourself struggling with:
Anyone can get them, but since they take a long time to develop, they are less common in children and teens. It is more common to deal with this around age 50 or older, and 1 in 20 Americans deal with it.
The signs of this illness vary depending on the type. Internal hemorrhoids may be asymptomatic, but other forms can lead to aches and pains that make sitting difficult, uncomfortable lumps or swelling, extreme itching around the anus, blood on tissue after wiping, and skin that protrudes out of the anus while defecating.
Several things increase the risk of these conditions, including straining while defecating, sitting for extended periods during bowel movements, chronic diarrhea or constipation, obesity, strain from heavy lifting, anal intercourse, and family history. In addition to the risk of hemorrhoids increasing with age, pregnant women are also at greater risk.
There are ways to manage this illness at home, as well as with medications and various surgical or non-surgical means. Here are some effective options:
You can ease the pain and discomfort from hemorrhoids at home with ice packs, cold compresses, fiber supplements, topical creams and ointments, sitz baths, and analgesics like ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen.
Medications in suppositories, ointments, and pads can also help, such as zinc oxide, witch hazel, corticosteroids, and lidocaine.
If the above treatments aren’t effective, medical procedures can help, like rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, infrared photocoagulation, and electrocoagulation. Designed to help shrink hemorrhoids, each of these treatments makes it less painful and irritating.
If all other methods fail or the hemorrhoids are too severe, a hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary, but is most often used for prolapsed hemorrhoids or severe external ones.
It can be very uncomfortable if you’re struggling with this illness, but there are many ways to treat it, and we can help. You can call or go online to make an appointment with Dr. Mehta and LoneStar Gastroenterology today to be free of pain and discomfort.