Internal hemorrhoids occur when one or more of the blood vessel sacs inside the rectum become swollen and inflamed. Internal hemorrhoids differ from the external kind in that it is only the sacs of veins inside the rectum, not those surrounding the anus on the outside of the body, that are affected. Although both kinds of hemorrhoids cause pain and itching, there are different symptoms between the two and therefore each kind is treated in a different manner.

The primary difference between internal hemorrhoids and the external variety is that internal ones are usually only visible to the eye when they are so inflamed that they are pushed outside the body. Since this does not always occur so an internal hemorrhoid is not always immediately detectable. If it is pushed to the outside of the body, it may be possible to push it back inside. But often the swelling is so severe that doing so is not possible unless other treatment steps are taken first.

Because of the difficulty in detecting internal hemorrhoids, they are often very difficult to diagnose. A rectal exam may be the only effective way of diagnosing the condition. If you suspect you have this condition, consult a doctor.

Treatment for internal hemorrhoids ranges greatly: from surgery to medication, changes in diet, suppositories, herbal remedies or a combination of these. Hemorrhoid medications are designed to soothe the pain of the condition, shrink the swollen tissue and act as an anti-inflammatory.

As natural remedies become more and more popular, an increasing number of people are turning to these methods of treatment for internal hemorrhoids too. Popular herbal remedies for internal hemorrhoids include butcher’s broom, cayenne pepper, vitamin E and sulfur, as well as some Asian remedies; usually in the form of tea. This latter group of remedies often includes ingredients like myrrh, mastic and pomegranate. For a topical remedy, try witch hazel, which is found in many over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments.

A final, more invasive group of treatment options involves surgery. Advances in this area have evolved and there are newer, quasi-surgical methods that include infrared treatments and electro-shock waves that have proven to be effective to treat internal hemorrhoids.

Further, these newer treatment options have all but eliminated the long healing times, discomfort and the necessity of time off work that are associated with more traditional surgical removal of the hemorrhoids. Usually, infrared and related treatments are performed on an outpatient basis; making the procedures much less disruptive to your life.

As with most ailments, the best treatment is prevention. In the case of internal hemorrhoids, one of the most common causes is constipation and hard bowel movements. Therefore, ensure your diet is high in fiber and that you drink plenty of fluids as a good preventative measure.

Other lifestyle changes that lessen the chances of getting internal hemorrhoids include avoid standing for long periods of time. This is because when you stand for extended periods, there is an excess of pressure on the rectal lining, causing strain and eventually leading to hemorrhoids. This is because hemorrhoids are the result of too much pressure on the tissues surrounding the anus or, in the case of an internal hemorrhoid, the rectal lining. Anything you do to prevent chronic strain or pressure in these areas, along with a healthy diet and exercise, helps you avoid the painful condition of hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids, although painful and a nuisance, are a preventable and treatable condition. Detection is the key to treatment, so regular trips to the doctor are in order. If you suspect you may have an internal hemorrhoid, ask your doctor to perform a rectal exam so you can begin treatments for it. The sooner the better!