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Hemorrhoids are a pain. 

Although it can be a sensitive issue most people shy away from discussing, hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. In fact, about half of all people will have hemorrhoids by age 50.

Caused when the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated as a result of extra pressure, hemorrhoids can be either inside your anus (internal) or under the skin around your anus (external). 

Who is at risk for hemorrhoids?

You are more likely to get hemorrhoids if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Sit on the toilet for too long
  • Are obese
  • Do things that make you strain more, such as heavy lifting
  • Have a family history of hemorrhoids
  • Have long-term or chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Are between 45 and 65 years old

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

While each person’s symptoms may vary, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Bright red blood in your stool, on toilet paper, or in your toilet bowl
  • Pain and irritation around your anus
  • Swelling or a hard lump around your anus
  • Itching

What can I do to prevent hemorrhoids?

It’s not always possible to stop hemorrhoids from happening. But you may reduce your risk of getting hemorrhoids if you

  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fiber and liquids.
  • Limit the amount of time you sit on the toilet.
  • Work with your health care provider to manage constipation and prevent straining.
  • Stay at a healthy weight.

How are hemorrhoids treated?

Treatment will depend on your symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The main goal of treatment is to reduce your symptoms. This may be done with at-home remedies such as sitting in warm water in a bathtub, ice packs, or hemorrhoid creams or medicines. Your health care provider may also suggest that you add more fiber and fluids to your diet to help soften your stools.

In some cases, surgery is needed. There are several types of surgeries used to remove or reduce internal and external hemorrhoids. These include:

  • Transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization (THD) - Surgeons use Doppler-guided technology and an absorbable suture to “tie-off” the arterial blood flow and restore and “lift” the hemorrhoid tissue back to its correct position. This is done without any surgical removal of tissue. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and is offered as an outpatient surgery, meaning patients are able to return home the same day.

  • Rubber band ligation - A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid inside your rectum to cut off circulation to the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid shrinks and goes away in a few days.

  • Hemorrhoidectomy and hemorrhoidopexy -These procedures permanently remove your hemorrhoids.