Four out of five people will experience hemorrhoids in their lifetime. Also known as piles, hemorrhoids are essentially swollen or inflamed veins in the anal canal. Internal hemorrhoids form inside the anal canal, while external hemorrhoids swell near the opening of the anus.
The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown, but several factors can contribute to their development, including chronic constipation or diarrhea, pregnancy, aging, straining during bowel movements, overuse of laxatives or enemas, prolonged sitting on the toilet (e.g., reading, etc.) and being overweight. Suitable preventative methods, such as limiting prolonged sitting on the toilet, avoiding the overuse of laxatives and enemas, and keeping a healthy diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, are often all you need to prevent or relieve hemorrhoids.
Get Hemorrhoid Relief That Works
If you think you might have hemorrhoids, the first step toward treatment and relief is recognizing the symptoms:
- Rectal bleeding
- Protrusion during bowel movements
- Sensitive lump(s)
- Unusual itching
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, let us help you find hemorrhoid relief. A board-certified colorectal specialist at our UT Physicians Colon & Rectal Clinic can evaluate, diagnose and discuss treatment options. Although not usually serious, hemorrhoids can be painful, and other diseases can cause some symptoms, so delay in treatment can be dangerous. Without a proper diagnosis, you may suffer much longer than necessary.
We offer the most up-to-date innovations in hemorrhoid treatment. After a complete examination to determine the type and severity of your hemorrhoids, our experienced physicians will choose the most effective treatment. Our goal is to get you feeling 100% in no time.
At UT Physicians Colon and Rectal Clinic, only a small percentage of patients require hemorrhoid surgery. Many mild cases are successfully relieved by diet changes or simple in-office procedures.
Diet & lifestyle changes can often relieve mild hemorrhoid symptoms. These may include increased fluids and fiber (e.g., fruits, vegetables, whole-grain bread and cereals, and fiber supplements), eliminating excessive straining to reduce the pressure on hemorrhoids, and/or sitting in a sitz bath of warm water.
Rubber band ligation works effectively on internal hemorrhoids that bleed or protrude with bowel movements. The procedure involves placing a small rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. The hemorrhoid and band fall off in a few days, and the wound usually heals in a week or two.
Transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization (THD) is a minimally invasive procedure involving a non-excisional ultrasound technique to decrease blood flow to the hemorrhoid(s). Since this procedure does not involve the surgical removal or cutting of the hemorrhoid tissue, it is less traumatic to the body than a hemorrhoidectomy and results in a faster recovery time with minimal discomfort. Patients can usually resume normal activities in 4-5 days. Please visit us to see if you are a candidate for this procedure.
Occasionally, severe cases may require hemorrhoid surgery performed by a skilled surgeon on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
Hemorrhoidectomy is considered the best surgical method for completely removing external hemorrhoids. Typically performed on an outpatient basis, hemorrhoidectomy is necessary when (1) clots repeatedly form in external hemorrhoids; (2) ligation fails to treat internal hemorrhoids; (3) protruding hemorrhoid cannot be reduced; or (4) there is persistent bleeding. Under anesthesia, a hemorrhoidectomy removes the excess tissue causing the bleeding and protrusion.
Do Hemorrhoids Cause Cancer?
No. There is no relationship between hemorrhoids and cancer. However, the symptoms of hemorrhoids — particularly bleeding, unusual itching, pain, or sensitive lumps around the anal area — are similar to those of colorectal cancer and other digestive system diseases. This is why it is important to have a physician specially trained in treating diseases of the colon and rectum to evaluate your symptoms. Reliance on over-the-counter medicines or other self-treatments is risky at best.