A hemorrhoid is a mass of swollen, inflamed blood vessels and tissue inside the rectum that causes pain, itching and burning sensations, and sometimes bleeding and prolapse (protrusion outside the anus), especially when having a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids can be caused by several factors, including sitting or standing for long periods of time, straining when having bowel movements such as in chronic constipation or diarrhea. Pregnancy and obesity can also increase the risks of developing hemorrhoids. Although they can occur at any age, hemorrhoids tend to occur more commonly among people 50 years of age and older. While many hemorrhoids cause symptoms like pain or itching, mild internal hemorrhoids may cause rectal bleeding without other symptoms. Because rectal bleeding can be a sign of other issues like colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it should always be professionally evaluated to determine the underlying cause.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids that are very swollen and engorged with clotted blood. These hemorrhoids protrude from the anus and often cause severe discomfort.
While some of the milder symptoms of hemorrhoids may be temporarily relieved by over-the-counter creams or ointments, these products do not treat the root cause of symptoms, which means they can recur. Over time, untreated hemorrhoids can stretch and weaken the anal sphincter, resulting in some symptoms of fecal incontinence. Having a professional evaluation is essential to receiving necessary care to prevent embarrassing side effects as well as to provide long-term relief of pain and other symptoms.
GI Health uses traditional methods that first and foremost identifies the root cause of hemorrhoids. Without addressing the cause, treatment success will be limited. Bowel habits and toileting care (use of sitz baths) is also stressed along with prescription topical medicines that counter inflammation and pain. For chronic bleeding and prolapse, we use called the CRH O’Regan Hemorrhoid Removal System. This is a state-of-the-art system using elastic bands placed around the hemorrhoid to close off blood flow, eventually causing the hemorrhoid to shrink in size. The bands can be applied right in the office in just a few minutes’ time with minimal or no discomfort, and most patients can resume their regular activities the same day. Over time, scar tissue that forms as a result of the banding procedure will prevent future hemorrhoids from developing in that location causing bleeding and prolapse to subside.