Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, appear as a result of swollen veins in and around the anus and rectum. Hemorrhoids may appear as a result of pushing or straining during a bowel movement, heavy lifting, or pushing during child birth. They are a very common condition across all ages and stages of life and are most commonly treated with over the counter medications.

Assessing the Symptoms of the Hemorrhoid

Many people have hemorrhoids but are oblivious to the fact they are present. The smallest of hemorrhoids can go undetected for an entire lifetime exhibiting few to no symptoms at all. For larger hemorrhoids the most common symptoms are divided between the two types of hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids often present bleeding during bowel movements as the primary symptom. Once the hemorrhoid is pushed out of the anal opening, hemorrhoid prolapsed, pain and itching may occur, as well as irritation during or after bowel movement.

Treatments for Hemorrhoids

Most hemorrhoids can be treated effectively with over the counter medications. These medications include a numbing lotion, to stop the pain associated with inflammation of the hemorrhoid and a shrinking medication. The shrinking medication will help the hemorrhoid to cause less irritation and pain, as well.

In the case of severe internal or external hemorrhoids, the doctor involved in treatment may suggest a surgical removal of the hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid treatments involving surgery will include rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, infrared light, and stapling.

Rubber band ligation is an in office procedure completed by the doctor. During the procedure, the doctor will place two small rubber bands around the base of the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid will be devoid of blood and will eventually fall off.

Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical around the hemorrhoid. This chemical forces the constriction of blood vessels feeding the hemorrhoid. This hemorrhoid treatment causes the hemorrhoid to shrink.

Infrared light is used to “zap” internal hemorrhoids. The light bursts cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid.

Stapling is a hemorrhoid treatment also used to cut off the blood supply from the hemorrhoid. Once the blood supply is cut off, the hemorrhoid will shrink and at times fall off. This procedure can be less painful than surgical removal, but there is a higher risk of prolapse or recurrence.

Alternative Hemorrhoid Treatments

There are also alternative medicinal treatments available for hemorrhoid treatments. These include fiber, bioflavonoids, and witch hazel. Fiber is used to soften the bowel movements that may irritate internal hemorrhoids or force an internal hemorrhoid to prolapse. Bioflavonoids are derived from natural plant sources and work to reduce the inflammation of the hemorrhoid. Witch hazel, an astringent, can be used to reduce hemorrhoid bleeding, relieve pain, reduce itching and swelling.

Most hemorrhoid treatments are of the over the counter variety. In the case of severe hemorrhoid bleeding or prolapsed of a large hemorrhoid, surgery may be needed to treat the hemorrhoid or remove the hemorrhoid from the anus or rectum. All cases of hemorrhoids that exhibit bleeding as a symptom should be looked into by a physician.

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