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What is a Hemorrhoid?

Though not a frequently discussed topic, hemorrhoids are part of a normal, healthy anatomy and are actually cushions of vascular tissue. Hemorrhoids occur when the tissues swell and bleed in the rectum, causing pain or discomfort. Most people simply tolerate the problem because they are often frightened by the thought of traditional surgery.

An estimated 50% of Americans will, at some point in their lives, suffer from hemorrhoids. Small hemorrhoids can be treated with diet and medication, but for more complex conditions, surgery may be required. However, there are several alternative procedures available to eliminate or shrink hemorrhoids!

Some of the top
Hemorrhoid Symptoms

Having hemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable and if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we recommend you seek medical assistance:

  • Itching in or around the anus
  • Rectal pain or bleeding
  • Bright red blood on the surface of stool
  • Streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper
  • Discomfort or pain sitting
  • Discomfort or pain after passing stool

What is a First Degree Hemorrhoid?

The hemorrhoid will bleed but not prolapse (fall out of place) outside of the anal canal.

first degree hemorrhoid

What is a Second Degree Hemorrhoid?

Typically when the patient is defecating, this hemorrhoid prolapses outside of the anal canal but retracts spontaneously.

second degree hemorrhoid

What is a Third Degree Hemorrhoid?

Third Degree Hemorrhoids prolapse more severely than Second Degree, and must be manually replaced inside the anal canal.

third degree hemorrhoid

What is a Fourth Degree Hemorrhoid?

Fourth Degree Hemorrhoids are made of prolapsed tissues, usually strangulated or thrombosed, and cannot be manually replaced.

fourth degree hemorrhoid
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Why are they more common during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, women are more prone to hemorrhoids and varicose veins in the legs and sometimes even in the vulva. The growing uterus puts pressure on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava, a large vein on the right side of the body that receives blood from the lower limbs. This slows the return of blood from the lower half of the body, which increases the pressure on the veins below the uterus and causes them to become more dilated or swollen.

Do you really need to treat hemorrhoids?

The answer is YES. If left untreated, hemorrhoids worsen over time and become more difficult to treat. Avoiding treatment can cause a hemorrhoid that could be banded today to eventually require surgery. In some cases, people may experience hemorrhoid-like symptoms when in reality they have a more serious underlying gastrointestinal condition. We highly recommend consulting Dr. Kaufman at Huntington Colorectal if experiencing reoccurring bouts with hemorrhoids to see if a colon cancer screening or a colonoscopy is required. However, adults over the age of 50 should get one at least every 10 years, or more frequently, especially if there is a history of gastrointestinal issues in the family.


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