February 24, 2017

Answers FAQ

Hemorrhoids (Piles) FAQs

Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on November 15, 2016

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Q:Everyone has hemorrhoids. True or False?

A:True.

In a technical sense, we all have hemorrhoids, which simply refers to pillow-like clusters of veins located just below the surface of the mucous membranes of the anus and rectum. What we commonly call hemorrhoids (also called piles) is what occurs when these veins become swollen, like varicose veins.

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Q:Men and women suffer from hemorrhoids at about the same rate. True or False?

A:True.

Hemorrhoids occur in both men at women at the same rate, and they occur most often in adults between 45 and 65 years of age. Though many people have hemorrhoids, only about 4% of the population has problems due to enlarged hemorrhoids.

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Q:Anal itching can be a symptom of hemorrhoids. True or False?

A:True.

Other symptoms of hemorrhoids can include:
- Rectal bleeding (bright red blood on toilet tissue, stool, or in the toilet bowl)
- Anal ache, pain, or discomfort, particularly while seated
- Painful bowel movements
- Hard, paiful lumps near the anus

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Q:What is a thrombosis?

A:Thrombosis is the medical term for blood clot.

When a blood clot forms in a hemorrhoid, this can cause a purple or blue lump that may bleed, and cause pain and itching. Once the clot dissolves and heals, there may be some tissue that remains (skin tag) that can become irritated.

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Q:What causes hemorrhoids?

A:Pregnancy, being overweight, and diarrhea can all contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids.

Other causes of hemorrhoids include inadequate fiber intake, constipation, chronic straining when having bowel movements, prolonged sitting (especially on the toilet), tumors, age, and certain medical conditions.

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Q:What is a hemorrhoid?

A:The definition of hemorrhoids is swollen veins in the anal region.

External hemorrhoids look like lumps near the anus. If the hemorrhoid is thrombosed (there is a blood clot), it may appear dark blue to purple in color.

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Q:What are treatments for hemorrhoids?

A:There are a number of treatments available for hemorrhoids.

Many people treat hemorrhoids effectively with over-the-counter products such as Preparation H. There are also non-surgical procedures that can cure hemorrhoids, including: There are a number of treatments available for hemorrhoids. Many people treat hemorrhoids effectively with over-the-counter products such as Preparation H. There are also non- surgical procedures that can cure hemorrhoids, including:
- Sclerotherapy: liquid is injected into the enlarged hemorrhoid with the goal of reducing the blood supply to shrink it
- Cryotherapy: this procedure freezes the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink and heal
- Rubber band ligation: a band is applied to the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off the blood supply, causing the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off
- Heat coagulation: heat from infared light causes scar tissue which results in the hemorrhoid dying

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Q:What is the newest surgical technique for treating hemorrhoids?

A:Stapled hemorrhoidectomy is the newest surgical technique to treat hemorrhoids.

It does not remove the hemorrhoids themselves; rather, it removes the lax tissue surrounding the hemorrhoid that has allowed it to protrude.

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