What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are veins in the rectum or anal canal. They are common in both men and women. They can be internal (on the inside) or external (on the outside). Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse or protrude to the outside so it can be difficult for a person to determine what type of hemorrhoids they actually have – this assessment is best handled by a medical professional. Hemorrhoids can be annoying and bothersome but are usually not life threatening.
- Anal discomfort
- Protrusion (coming out)
- Anal itching
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to see a gastroenterologist for accurate diagnosis as there are a variety of other disorders that can cause these same symptoms. Some conditions with similar symptoms can be serious – including rectal cancer – so prompt diagnosis and treatment is essential. We provide full care and evaluation of all of these disorders.
Tests & Diagnosis
Medical examination is usually sufficient for diagnosis. Often, anoscopy – direct visualization of the anal canal and rectum with a small plastic tube – is performed. This allows full visualization of the affected areas. This is performed in the office and is usually painless.
Treatment depends on the location of the hemorrhoids. A high fiber diet is usually recommended regardless of the location. Correction of underlying constipation and diarrhea is also recommended. Sitz baths can be very effective for short term treatment. Over the counter creams and ointments often offer limited results.
At Wilmington Gastroenterology Associates, we offer rubber band ligation, also known as hemorrhoid banding, a quick, painless, in-office procedure that is highly effective at eradicating hemorrhoids.