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Hemorrhoids

Man in jeans holding his rear

Hemorrhoids occur when veins around the anus and lower rectum become swollen and inflamed. External hemorrhoids form under the skin around the anus, while internal hemorrhoids develop in the lower rectum.

Hemorrhoids often cause pain, discomfort and itching. They can cause bright red blood in the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement.

Hemorrhoids are very common and may be caused by such factors as chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, and lack of fiber in the diet.

Hemorrhoids typically go away on their own with at-home treatments. In rare instances, they can cause complications, like anemia or extreme pain. Blood clots can also develop from hemorrhoids, and while they are not dangerous, they can be extremely uncomfortable. Complications from hemorrhoids are rare, but you should see a doctor if they do not go away after a week of at-home remedies. Rectal bleeding that continues for a week or more could be a sign of something more serious, like colon cancer. Excessive bleeding, especially if accompanied by dizziness, is a sign of a medical emergency.

You can prevent hemorrhoids by keeping stools soft, which you can achieve by eating plenty of fiber and consuming enough water. It is also helpful to exercise, which can prevent constipation. Lastly, you should avoid holding in bowel movement or straining when passing a bowel movement.

You can typically treat hemorrhoids with at-home remedies, such as increasing your intake of high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can also soak in a sitz bath or use over-the-counter creams or witch hazel to treat pain and swelling. Pain medications like Tylenol can relieve pain from a hemorrhoid. If a hemorrhoid forms a painful blood clot, your doctor may remove it. Minimally invasive procedures, such as using a laser, can be used to remove a hemorrhoid. In rare instances, you may require surgery to treat hemorrhoids.

Common Symptoms

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