Hemorrhoids affect about half of all Americans by the age of 50. Unfortunately, hemorrhoids do not often go away on their own and tend to worsen over time.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the anal canal or near the opening of the anus. The two different types are categorized as internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. It is entirely possible to have both types at the same time. However, symptoms and treatments vary depending on type.
Hemorrhoids are caused by too much pressure in the pelvic and rectal areas. Diarrhea or constipation may cause straining thus producing hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are also common in pregnant women and can worsen during childbirth.
Bleeding during bowel movements
Itching (internal hemorrhoids)
Rectal pain (external hemorrhoids)
It is important to keep in mind that rectal bleeding, rectal pain and recent changes in bowel habits are also symptoms of colon, rectal or anal cancer, especially in those age 50 or older.
To diagnose hemorrhoids your physician will ask about past health and perform a physical exam. If you have internal hemorrhoids your physician may use a short, lighted scope to look inside of the rectum.
Some hemorrhoids can be treated naturally by changing eating habits and bowel habits. However, more serious hemorrhoids require banding or surgical removal. Hemorrhoid banding is a short fixative procedure that will provide long-term relief.