What causes hemorrhoids, and when should you see a doctor

While thrombosed hemorrhoids are very painful, they are not dangerous to your health and improve over time similar to a skin bruise. If the pain is severe, they can often be removed in the office by a colorectal surgeon.

If you’re experiencing discomfort in your anal area, one of the first things that come to mind for many of us is hemorrhoids.

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Suspect you may have hemorrhoids or another type of anal issue? Call 800.922.000 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

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When to call your doctor

Hemorrhoid tissue, cross-section view: normal (above) and enlarged (below)

Hemorrhoids fall into two categories.

If you think you have hemorrhoids – whether due to pain or an itchy sensation – contact one of our CRH partner doctors today. With one quick visit, the doctor will be able to tell you whether or not you have hemorrhoids and prescribe a course of treatment. Contact a physician near you today.

What causes hemorrhoids, and when should you see a doctor

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Who treats hemorrhoids

Increased pressure on the anal canal (the last section of the rectum) can cause hemorrhoids to become enlarged. Various factors might make this more likely. For example:

Internal hemorrhoids are the most common type. Despite commonly-held beliefs, hemorrhoids are not usually painful. They can cause painless, bright red bleeding and may bulge outside the anal opening, also known as prolapse, during bowel movements. If they get large enough, patients may see or feel a soft, pink bulge of tissue prolapsing out of their anus. This tissue goes back inside on its own, but sometimes it needs to be pushed back in.

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If the doctor thinks you might have enlarged hemorrhoids, a proctoscopy is normally carried out next. Here the membranes lining the rectum are examined using a short tube with a light and lens on it, known as a proctoscope. This allows the doctor to see whether you have enlarged hemorrhoids, and how big they are. The procedure takes a few minutes and is usually not painful. The rectum needs to be emptied before the procedure is carried out. This can be done using a laxative, suppository or enema.

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“Your primary care doctor can determine your diagnosis and help you implement lifestyle changes to alleviate your symptoms,” says Dr. Langenfeld. “If symptoms linger, your primary care doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon for treatment.”

“Hemorrhoids are not dangerous and typically don’t turn into more severe problems, but they can be distressing and uncomfortable,” says Dr. Langenfeld. “The important thing is to rule out other causes if they do not go away on their own within one to two weeks after trying some simple lifestyle changes.”

We all have hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are normal “cushions” of tissue filled with blood vessels, found at the end of the rectum, just inside the anus. Together with a circular muscle called the anal sphincter, they help to control bowel movements. But when people talk about “having hemorrhoids,” they usually mean symptoms such as itching or bleeding caused by enlarged hemorrhoids. This condition is also known as “piles.”

Can hemorrhoids look like blisters

Do you have hemorrhoids? How severe is your hemorrhoid?

An external hemorrhoid is a soft cushion of skin-covered vascular tissue that lives just outside the anal opening. Severe straining and strenuous exercise can cause these tiny vessels to rupture, which is similar to a blood blister. The ruptured or thrombosed hemorrhoid can grow under the skin and become firm and painful. It is usually dark blue in color and often ruptures producing small dark blood clots.

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The Most Common Visual Symptom of Hemorrhoids is Piles

The reason these bumps, or “piles,” form in the first place is because the veins in or around the anal canal have become swollen. The more swollen the hemorrhoids become, and the longer they are left untreated, the worse they can get. They might start out as bunches of soft lumps and eventually turn into hard, painful piles. Below are images of a number of external hemorrhoid cases, ranging from minor to serious:

Swollen hemorrhoids might come out of the anus and can then be seen as soft lumps of tissue. This is called a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid. Sometimes hemorrhoids are confused with anal skin tags. These are small flaps of skin that grow around the anus and can cause similar symptoms.

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