Hemorrhoids are defined as swollen veins that accumulate in the anus and lower portion of the rectum. Hemorrhoids are classified as either internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are located within the lower rectum, while external hemorrhoids appear beneath the skin around the anus. Hemorrhoids are often the result of straining during bowel movements, though they also commonly develop during pregnancy due to increased pressure on the veins in the anus and rectum. Hemorrhoids often also develop as a result of obesity and sitting for long periods of time. Hemorrhoids are an incredibly common condition. In fact, by the age of 50 an estimated half of all adults have experienced the ailment.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids depend largely on their location and severity. Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Itching and irritation in the anal region
- Swelling around the anus
- Pain or discomfort
- Bleeding during bowel movements
- Leakage of feces
- A painful lump near the anus
Internal hemorrhoids occur within the rectum and thereby cannot be seen or felt. An internal hemorrhoid often does not cause pain on its own, though straining during bowel movements often irritates internal hemorrhoids and may cause bleeding. In addition to this bleeding, difficulty and straining during bowel movements may cause an internal hemorrhoid to be pushed through the opening of the anus, resulting in a condition known as a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid. Prolapsed hemorrhoids often cause increased pain and irritation.
External hemorrhoids are often more easily detected than internal hemorrhoids, as they are located just beneath the skin near the anus. External hemorrhoids often itch and bleed when irritated. A common complication of external hemorrhoids is the appearance of a thrombus, which occurs when blood pools in the hemorrhoid and forms a clot. This generally causes severe pain, inflammation and swelling.
It is rare for an untreated hemorrhoid to develop into a more severe condition, but complications are possible. If a hemorrhoid persists and causes chronic blood loss it could lead to anemia, a condition during which there are not enough red blood cells present to carry oxygen to your cells. Anemia often results in fatigue and overall weakness. Another complication that may emerge from hemorrhoids that are left untreated is a strangulated hemorrhoid. A strangulated hemorrhoid occurs when an internal hemorrhoid is deprived of blood flow, which can lead to extreme pain and death of the tissue, or gangrene.
At Gastroenterology Consultants we are committed to providing each of our patients with the most updated forms of treatment available. We are able to eliminate the need for hemorrhoid surgery with the use of the clinically proven CRH O’Regan System TM. This treatment method is effective, safe and entirely painless, but is only available through a limited number of providers. Upon gaining this treatment option for our patients, our President and CEO of Gastroenterology Consultants Dr. Craig Sande proudly said: “Finally, I have a safe and effective method to treat my patients with symptomatic hemorrhoids. The CRH O’Regan Hemorrhoid Banding Procedure has a 99.1% effectiveness rate and can be done in my office quickly and painlessly.”