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Understanding Hemorrhoids and Their Causes

Hemorrhoids are part of normal anatomy and represent veins located at the end of the colon. Although not dangerous, they often become swollen as a result of straining during bowel movements, constipation, severe diarrhea, or pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids can cause a variety of symptoms including itching and pain. Painless bleeding occurs frequently when hemorrhoids are swollen. This may be seen as red blood on the surface of the stool and toilet paper or dripping into the toilet.

Bleeding with a bowel movement is never normal and when occurs should promptly be evaluated by a gastroenterologist. While hemorrhoids are a common cause of bleeding, other reasons such as colitis, infection, polyps, and tumors need to be looked for.

Hemorrhoid Treatment Options

Most of the time hemorrhoid management includes increasing water and fluid intake and the use of topical creams. Avoiding strain at bowel movements is also very important.

Several other types of management to shrink hemorrhoids are available at Putnam Gastroenterology. Infrared Coagulation (IRC) uses a beam of infrared light to heat the hemorrhoid for 1-2 seconds causing them to shrink, making them less likely to stretch and bleed. This non-surgical treatment is fast, well tolerated, and remarkably effective. Similarly, the placement of rubber bands over enlarged internal hemorrhoids can cause them to fall off a few days after the procedure. When appropriate, these procedures can be completed with minimal recovery, side effect potential, and risk compared to traditional surgical hemorrhoid removal techniques.

A very common condition, by age 50 half of all people have been affected by hemorrhoids.

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