Hemorrhoids are veins within the anus and the anal canal which become swollen. Those near the opening of the anus are called external hemorrhoids. Those inside the anal canal are internal hemorrhoids.
Both can occur at the same time as their causes are similar although the symptoms and treatments differ. We will discuss internal hemorrhoids.
The location of internal hemorrhoids, inside the anal canal, makes their palpation difficult, unless they are swollen. They can become swollen because of increased pressure within them. If the swelling is severe they may prolapse and protrude outside the anus.
Typical symptoms of them is blood in the stools, pain, and itching. Those hemorrhoids that become thrombosed can be very painful.
Internal hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure inside the anus that causes the veins to enlarge and strain causing the blood within them to pool.
It is common that only symptom is bleeding during a bowel movement. Even though this can be painless, rectal bleeding is something you should always take seriously because it can be the sign of some more serious issue. If you have rectal bleeding you should always go to meet your doctor.
It is also possible that internal hemorrhoids prolapse. This often causes itching and pain, and then the risk that they become thrombosed increases. If this happens, it normally requires a medical attention.
Diagnosis is usually made by a history and digital examination. Sometimes a sigmoidoscope, a flexible instrument containing a scope and light source, can be used to visualize the anus to make a more accurate diagnosis.
Sometimes the bleeding caused by hemorrhoids can be rather intense. If this is the case, laboratory tests for anemia may also be performed.
Internal hemorrhoids treatments include home remedies, which are the usual recommendations. High fiber diet, increased fluid intake, stool softeners and sitz baths can be rather effective.
Also, different kinds of creams and ointments can relieve the symptoms by reducing the swelling of hemorrhoids. They often contain also some cortisone that helps in swelling as well.
However, these treatments do not cure the hemorrhoids permanently. That is why fiber diets and stool softeners are used in combination. Protruded hemorrhoids will need reduction by a gentle push into the anus.
Sometimes a surgery is required, especially in the cases of thrombosed hemorrhoids. Also, if hemorrhoids often re-occur, this may become an option.
Surgical techniques used include rubber band ligation, sclerosing of the veins using chemical agents, ligation of the veins, laser treatment, hemorrhoidectomy for removal of the veins and the use of surgical staples.
The risks of developing internal hemorrhoids can be minimized using fiber diets, plenty of liquids for hydration and regular bowel habits.