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What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are enlarged or swollen veins in the anus or rectum caused by increased pressure that can become extremely aggravating and painful. Nearly half of adults experience the symptoms of this condition by the age of 50, but there is a trend of younger adults developing the condition. Fortunately, there are many treatment options available.

Also referred to as piles, hemorrhoids can be classified as either internal or external. The internal version occurs inside the rectum and can often be painless, while external hemorrhoids develop under the skin surrounding the anus and are usually more painful.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

Common symptoms can include:

  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • Extreme itching around the anus
  • Painful or itchy swelling near the anus
  • Fecal leakage

If you experience bleeding during bowel movements or pass dark, tarry stools or blood clots, it is recommended that you consult a physician immediately. Other diseases such as anal or colon cancer can produce similar symptoms, so don’t assume your symptoms are caused by hemorrhoids.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

There are several factors that can cause hemorrhoids, including:

  • Complications from chronic constipation
  • Repeated straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting on the toilet for long periods
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • A low-fiber diet

Pregnant women are also at risk to develop this condition because an enlarged uterus can press on veins in the colon, causing them to bulge.

Treatment Options

If you’re dealing with the symptoms of hemorrhoids, there are a variety of treatment options that don’t require a doctor’s visit, including dietary modifications, stool softeners or creams, pads and ointments that can relieve pain and itching. For hemorrhoids that are bleeding, you should schedule a screening, which can help detect colorectal cancer early and help your doctor determine the next best steps for your treatment.

If these options don’t effectively reduce symptoms, there are several surgical procedures–including minimally invasive options–that can either reduce the inflammation or remove the hemorrhoid completely.

Choose Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center provides a full range of treatment for hemorrhoids and many other anal and rectal conditions. As an academic medical center affiliated with the University of South Florida, TGH is at the forefront of colorectal treatment advances.  

In addition, TGH was named #24 on the list of America’s Best Hospitals for Gastroenterology and GI Surgery by U.S. News & World Report in 2020-2021, as well as the highest-ranked hospital in Florida for the same specialty.  

Use Tampa General Hospital’s Physician Finder to find a gastroenterologist or call 1-800-822-3627.