How Do I Know if I Have Hemorrhoids?

As many as half of adults get hemorrhoids at some point before the age of 50. How do you know if you’re among them?

These swollen veins right around your anus or lower rectum cause pain and itching. Sometimes they bleed. The severity of symptoms varies from mild and temporary to severe and chronic.

At Digestive Disorders Associates, we see a lot of cases of internal and external hemorrhoids. Sometimes simple at-home care is enough to relieve them, but if you have chronic hemorrhoids that interfere with your quality of life, we can offer treatment to help you get relief. Read on to determine if you should suspect hemorrhoids.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoid symptoms are sometimes unmistakable. Irritation and pain around your anus accompanied by extreme itching is a common sign. You may feel an itchy or painful lump in the area and have pain during bowel movements. Blood can also appear on your tissue after wiping. The blood will appear bright red or pink. If the blood is darker – a blackish-brown, it may be associated with another condition.

When you’re at greater risk

Hemorrhoids definitely have a genetic component. If you had parents with the swollen veins, you’ll likely develop them at some point, too. If you’re obese or do a lot of heavy lifting, hemorrhoids can develop. If you experience chronic constipation or strain often during bowel movements, you may end up with hemorrhoids. Pregnancy can also be a time at which you’re more susceptible to developing hemorrhoids.

Should I worry about hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are generally harmless, albeit extremely uncomfortable and life-altering at times. Mild cases may go away on their own. 

Soaking in a warm tub or using over-the-counter medicated ointments can also ease discomfort. A cold compress on your anus can help reduce uncomfortable swelling.If constipation is contributing to your hemorrhoids, you may benefit from adding more fiber to your diet.

If home treatments fail to help you find relief, our doctors at Digestive Disorders Associates might recommend a rubber band ligation. The circulation to the hemorrhoid is cut off so it shrinks and relieves you of serious pain. 

Sometimes we may suggest injection therapy that involves the application of a chemical directly into the blood vessel. This is called sclerotherapy, and it causes the hemorrhoid to reduce and eventually disappear. You may also benefit from coagulation therapy that cauterizes the site of the hemorrhoid. If it’s necessary to give you relief, sometimes we recommend hemorrhoid removal surgery.

Prevent hemorrhoids in the first place

To prevent hemorrhoids, stay adequately hydrated and consume a diet rich in fibrous fruits and vegetables and whole grains to keep your bowels regular so you don’t strain while on the toilet. Don’t delay when you feel the need to defecate, as stalling can lead to hemorrhoids.

Work on achieving a healthy weight – and we can help you with this. Exercise regularly, too, as it keeps things moving through your system. If you strain to pass stool, glide a little petroleum jelly around your anus to make it a bit easier.

If you suspect you have hemorrhoids and simple home treatments don’t give you relief, don’t hesitate to call us at Digestive Disorders Associates. We can rule out more serious causes of your symptoms and help you manage hemorrhoid pain in the least invasive way possible. Call our office in Annapolis, Maryland, or book your appointment online

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