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Hemorrhoids: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Treatment
Hemorrhoids can occur when tissues and veins in the rectum become swollen and inflamed. It can either occur in the rectum (referred to as internal hemorrhoids) or around the rectum (external hemorrhoids). They commonly occur as a result of straining during bowel movements. This is a very common condition that can be treated with a variety of conservative and minimally invasive procedures.
Risk Factors and Causes
Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the rectum. Often times straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation, diarrhea, pregnancy or vaginal childbirth, anal intercourse, obesity, and a low-fiber diet can lead to the development of hemorrhoids.
As we age, tissues weaken and have difficulty supporting the veins within the rectum. Therefore, people over the age of 50 are more prone to developing hemorrhoids than younger individuals. Although they are more common in people over 50 and pregnant women, anyone could develop hemorrhoids. Other risk factors include alcoholism, anal intercourse, lack of physical activity, high fat /low fiber diet, and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles due to pregnancy, vaginal childbirth, surgery, etc.
Internal and external hemorrhoids may create different symptoms, so depending on the location one may experience:
Treatments and Procedures
Our surgeons use a comprehensive approach, to not only treat the hemorrhoids but to also address the underlying causes in order to prevent recurrences. Our team recommends a combination of conservative therapies, lifestyle changes, medications, or possibly minimally invasive procedures. Some lifestyle and home remedies that may bring relief include over the counter hemorrhoid creams, warm sits baths, using flushable wipes as opposed to dry toilet paper, and applying cold compresses to the rectum. While these options often provide relief of symptoms, hemorrhoids will most likely come back unless removed.
Other, more permanent options offered by the physician include, rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, infrared, laser, or bipolar coagulation, hemorrhoidectomy (hemorrhoid removal), and hemorrhoid stapling.
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