Hemorrhoids often referred to as piles, are swollen veins located in the lower part of your rectum or around the anus. They are very common; in fact, nearly three out of four adults will get hemorrhoids in their lifetime.

The causes of hemorrhoids vary, they can result from increased pressure on the veins due to pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet or being overweight.

Hemorrhoids are sometimes symptomless, so it is common for people to have them and be unaware. If symptoms do present, they may include:

  • Itching, pain or discomfort around the anus
  • Swelling around the anus
  • Painless bleeding during a bowel movement
  • Lumps near the anus

The symptoms of hemorrhoids are rarely severe; there are several remedies or over-the-counter medications you can try to get some relief.   Treatments you can try at home include:

  • Non-prescription creams or wipes
  • Ice packs
  • Sitz baths
  • Oral pain relievers
  • Sitting on cushions or other soft surfaces

If symptoms persist for more than one week or if you have bleeding of the rectum, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.  Your doctor can diagnose hemorrhoids by assessing your family history and conducting a physical exam.  If further medical treatment is required your doctor may recommend minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation or sclerotherapy (injection) to shrink the hemorrhoids or coagulation to harden and shrivel the hemorrhoids.  If these procedures are unsuccessful, surgical procedures such as a hemorrhoidectomy or hemorrhoid stapling may be necessary.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.