Hemorrhoids Specialist in Houston TX

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. In their normal state, these veins provide cushioning during bowel movements. They can, however, swell after lifting, straining, constipation, the passing of hard stools or diarrhea, or pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, but they can be painful. If swelling persists, the veins may become permanently stretched (prolapsed).


What Causes Hemorrhoids?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to hemorrhoids, but they all cause damage in the same way: applying too much pressure to your veins. Some of the everyday factors that can damage your rectal veins include:

  • Lifting heavy objects: The pressure this places on the veins in the rectal area can cause them to swell.
  • Straining during bowel movements: This increases pressure on the veins, leading to swelling.
  • Constipation: Hard stools are more difficult to pass and can cause increased pressure on the veins.
  • Diarrhea: Loose stools make it difficult to control the pressure on veins in the rectal area.
  • Pregnancy: The extra weight of pregnancy can increase pressure on the veins, leading to swelling.
  • Sitting for too long: A sedentary lifestyle can cause increased pressure on the veins in the rectal area.

Types of Hemorrhoids

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids: internal and external. The dentate line along the circular anus muscle divides the interior nerve canal, which has no nerve endings, from the anal opening and exterior areas, which do have nerve endings. Hemorrhoids that form in the anal canal are thus called internal hemorrhoids, whereas those outside the anal opening are called external hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids are typically more uncomfortable at first because there are nerves present in the area where they form. However, internal hemorrhoids often swell beyond the dentate line, causing pain and other problems.


What Are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

The most common symptom of hemorrhoids is bleeding during bowel movements. Other symptoms can include:

  • Pain either during bowel movements or constantly
  • Itching sensation
  • Swelling and irritation around the anus

In some cases, prolapsed veins may be visible or felt outside of the rectal area.


How Are Hemorrhoids Diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects that you have hemorrhoids, they may refer you for tests such as a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to examine the inside of your rectum and colon. This will help them determine the cause and severity of your condition.


How Are Hemorrhoids Treated?

The treatment for hemorrhoids depends on the severity of your condition. Treatment options can include lifestyle changes, such as increasing fiber in your diet and drinking plenty of fluids, taking over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and swelling, or having a doctor perform minimally invasive procedures, such as infrared coagulation, to remove the hemorrhoid. Surgery may be necessary in more severe cases.


When to See a Doctor

If you have any of the symptoms of hemorrhoids, it is important to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. With proper management and prevention, you can reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids and alleviate their uncomfortable symptoms.


Contact Allied Digestive

If you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids, visit the Allied Digestive Disease Center of Houston. Our team strives to provide excellence in gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition services for patients in North Houston and the surrounding areas. We believe quality care begins with a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating both minor and chronic GI conditions. Schedule an appointment at our practice today by calling 832.912.4481 or fill out the form on this page.

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