Are you experiencing itching, tenderness, or pain around your anus? Do you see spots of bright red blood on toilet paper after wiping? If so, you may have hemorrhoids, a medical condition that strikes many men and women.
Hemorrhoids are so common that about half of all people get them at some point before the age of 50. But that doesn’t mean having hemorrhoids is a normal, inevitable part of life.
Maria Palafox, MD, a highly skilled general surgeon in San Antonio, Texas, shares this important information about hemorrhoid diagnosis and treatment.
Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed veins around your anus or lower rectum. Your rectum is the final section of your large intestine.
When hemorrhoids are located inside your rectum, they’re said to be internal; when they’re in your anus, they’re said to be external.
Hemorrhoids may cause no symptoms at all, or they may lead to:
- Bleeding during bowel movements, which shows up as bright red blood on toilet paper
- Lumps in or around your anus
- Mild to moderate pain
- Annoying itching
- Swelling in or around your anus
Causes of hemorrhoids
Typically, hemorrhoids are the result of one or more of the following:
- A low-fiber diet
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Excessive cleaning or rubbing in the area around your anus
- Frequent heavy lifting that strains muscles around your bottom
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- Straining while passing stools
Often, you can relieve hemorrhoid symptoms with simple treatments such as over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations, warm baths, or ice.
If your hemorrhoids are related to constipation, eating more fiber-rich foods, taking stool softeners, drinking more water, and increasing activity could provide relief.
When these conservative treatments don’t work and hemorrhoid symptoms persist, you may require a hemorrhoid removal procedure.
As a surgeon specializing in hemorrhoid removal, Dr. Palafox uses a range of techniques to remove hemorrhoids. The procedure she recommends depends on various factors, such as the type of hemorrhoids you have. Hemorrhoid removal techniques include:
Rubber band ligation
Using a rubber band-type medical device, Dr. Palafox encircles the hemorrhoid at its base, cutting off its blood supply and causing it to shrivel and fall away.
This is an injection of a specialized solution that causes the hemorrhoid to shrink.
Dr. Palafox typically employs this procedure on internal hemorrhoids. She uses a specially designed laser to cut off blood supply to the hemorrhoid, which causes it to shrink.
When your hemorrhoids can’t be alleviated through simpler methods, Dr. Palafox may recommend a type of surgery known as a hemorrhoidectomy. During this procedure, Dr. Palafox surgically removes your hemorrhoids.
Help for your hemorrhoids
If you’re experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms, you need a medical evaluation. Symptoms such as bleeding could have other, more serious causes, such as colorectal cancer. Don’t wait to have your hemorrhoids checked. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Palafox, call our office or use the quick messaging tool.