Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
What You Need to Know About Hemorrhoids
Posted in Hemorrhoids by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Feb 08, 2012
Bright red bleeding from hemorrhoids that streaks through feces or drips into the toilet brings everyone to the doctor. As scary as the bright red blood may look, hemorrhoids are fairly easy to manage and it helps to know what you are dealing with. Remember too that if you put a few drops of food coloring in toilet water the whole bowl looks red, so the bleeding from hemorrhoids looks scarier than it is.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your rectum or anus. The type of hemorrhoid you have depends on where it occurs.
Internal hemorrhoids are inside your rectum where you may not see or feel them. Internal hemorrhoids are scary to people because they may not hurt, and you may not see or feel them, but they do cause bleeding.

Internal hemorrhoids may bulge outside your anus (called a prolapsed hemorrhoid) and may go back inside on its own, or you may have to push it back in.

External hemorrhoids are in the veins outside the anus and they make themselves known. You may feel a tender lump on the edge of your anus, and it may be itchy or painful, and may bleed. You may see blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet after a bowel movement.
What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the veins of your anus or rectum. Straining to have a bowel movement when you are constipated is a common cause. Sitting too long, obesity and heavy lifting are also causes of hemorrhoids.

You are not alone. Just about everyone has a hemorrhoid at some time. Pregnant women get hemorrhoids because of the strain from carrying the baby and from giving birth.

What can I do about hemorrhoids?

Preventing constipation is the most important thing. While you have hemorrhoids you need to keep your poop really soft, with little straining, for them to heal. Here are some other things to remember:
- Stool softeners (over the counter Dulcolax, Senna and Colace are examples.)

- Including more fiber in your diet: fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources of fiber.

- Drinking plenty of fluids/water.

- Exercise regularly.

- Take warm baths to help relieve the pain.

- Apply a cream that contains witch hazel or use a numbing ointment.

- Creams that contain hydrocortisone can be used for itching or pain (Anusol HC is an example.)
Is there surgery for hemorrhoids?

Some of my patients hate them and want to get rid of their hemorrhoids. Most painful hemorrhoids stop hurting on their own in 1 to 2 weeks. If yours keep causing problems, talk to your doctor about a referral to a colorectal surgeon who can get rid of them. Rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy (injecting them with a chemical) and surgical removal are options.

Do I need to see the doctor?

Most importantly, while bleeding that is bright red is often from hemorrhoids, you need to let your doctor decide that. If you notice bleeding you need to see your doctor to make sure this is not a more serious problem such as cancer.

- Dr O.

       Send to a Friend     Share This

CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: Hemorrhoids  •  Colon Cancer  •  Diets & Weight Maintenance  •  Fitness Goals  •  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  •  Nutrition  •  Obesity  •  Pregnancy  •  Healthy Eating
TAGS: Symptoms  •  Therapies

TOTAL COMMENTS: 3 - View All Comments »

Add a Comment
Displaying comments 3-1 of 3
They hurt I know that
By daromy  Feb 13, 2012
Informative article about a problem not too many people talk about. Ive had them before and i know how irritating they can be.
By Relativity  Feb 11, 2012
Very odd story, but we were taught in 6th grade not to sit on cold curbs, steps and things like that so as not do develop hemmorhoids. I think I was 10-11 years old and it had scared me to this day.

Maybe it did help, but an odd way to explain things to kids.

Had my first colonoscopy last year and was told I have internal hemmorhoids. No bleeding, no problem, I eat a good diet, but is there anything I can do do avoid problems in the future?

Thank you
By WilburTheCat  Feb 08, 2012
Got a Question?
My Fans
(134 Discussion Topics)
Colon Cancer
(1,531 Discussion Topics)
Diets & Weight Maintenance
(9,412 Discussion Topics)
Fitness Goals
(1,821 Discussion Topics)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
(2,984 Discussion Topics)
(167 Discussion Topics)
(5,494 Discussion Topics)
(11,006 Discussion Topics)
Healthy Eating
(963 Discussion Topics)