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What are Hemorrhoids?
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What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. They can be internal, inside the rectum, or external, under the skin around the anus. Hemorrhoids are a common condition and can affect people of all ages. Approximately half of all adults will experience hemorrhoids by age 50.

Everyone was born with three hemorrhoids – vascular cushions – within the anal canal. Hemorrhoids are an entirely normal part of the human rectal anatomy. They protect the functionality of the anorectal region, aiding in bowel control and the closure of the anal canal when abdominal pressure is activated.

However, when the veins within the anus become inflamed, they can cause painful symptoms.

Symptomatic hemorrhoids are classified into four grades:

What are internal hemorrhoids?

Internal hemorrhoids are the most commonly diagnosed type of symptomatic hemorrhoids. They are usually painless and may go unnoticed until they bleed or protrude through the anus. Internal hemorrhoids are often associated with straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation, or prolonged sitting.

What are external hemorrhoids?

External hemorrhoids develop under the skin surrounding the anus. They are easily visible and can be felt as a lump or swelling. The overlying skin around external hemorrhoids can become irritated and erode, leading to discomfort and pain.

What are thrombosed hemorrhoids?

Thrombosed hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectal or anal area that have developed a blood clot. Thrombosed hemorrhoids most often occur externally, meaning they are visible and located around the anus. However, they can also be internal, where they are not visible but can cause bleeding.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids are typically caused by increased pressure on the veins in the rectal area. This pressure can result from straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation, pregnancy, or sitting for prolonged periods.

What are Prolapsed Hemorrhoids?

Prolapsed hemorrhoids occur when the internal hemorrhoidal veins become swollen and protrude outside the anal opening. This can happen due to increased pressure in the lower rectum, often from straining during bowel movements or chronic constipation. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can cause discomfort, pain, and bleeding, and may require medical intervention if conservative measures fail to provide relief.

What are piles?

Piles are hemorrhoids. The term originated as a phrase primarily describing external hemorrhoids, though it means both external and internal hemorrhoids in everyday use.

What are hemorrhoid symptoms?

Symptoms of hemorrhoids can vary depending on the hemorrhoid type and severity. Internal hemorrhoids may cause bright red blood in the toilet bowl or on toilet paper after wiping. They may also cause a feeling of incomplete bowel movement. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, may cause pain or discomfort, especially during bowel movements or when sitting.

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

Diagnosing hemorrhoids involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic technologies.

During the medical history evaluation, the physician will ask about the patient's symptoms, such as bleeding, pain, and itching in the anal area. It is important to provide accurate information about the duration and severity of the symptoms.

Next, a physical examination is conducted to assess the anal area. The exam might involve visually inspecting the anus, using a gloved finger to feel for any abnormalities, and checking for internal hemorrhoids using an anoscope, proctoscope, or sigmoidoscope.

In some cases, additional diagnostic procedures may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis or rule out other conditions. These procedures include:

These diagnostic procedures help healthcare professionals assess the severity of hemorrhoids, identify any underlying causes, and rule out other conditions, such as colorectal cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.

Georgia Hemorrhoid Institute: Advanced Hemorrhoid Care in North Atlanta

At Georgia Hemorrhoid Institute, we are committed to providing access to cutting-edge hemorrhoid care. By offering state-of-the-art treatment modalities like hemorrhoid artery embolization (HAE), we aim to provide our patients with long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Please contact our compassionate representatives to schedule a consultation with our specialists today.

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