A common condition when the veins in the anal canal are dilated is called hemorrhoids. If mild, patients can treat themselves with nonprescription cream and warm baths.
Better yet. . . to prevent hemorrhoids eat high fiber foods, take fiber supplements if needed, and drink at least eight glasses of water daily. If symptoms do not get better, then make an appointment with a physician. The doctor will consider other conditions including cancer, warts, tears in the anal sphincter, infections, or skin tags that could be the problem.
Hemorrhoids can be internal (inside the anal sphincter) or external (outside the anal sphincter). Pregnant women and patients with chronic constipation are at risk for hemorrhoids. Stool softeners can help with symptoms as well as other local therapy–to relieve swelling, pain and fullness. At times, the hemorrhoid needs to be incised and drained. Amazingly, this is not very painful to the patient and relief occurs momentarily. A colonoscopy may be warranted in patients older than age 50 or those at risk for colon cancer.
If hemorrhoids are diagnosed and do not resolve, surgical options are available. Ask your surgeon about an in-office procedure called rubber band ligation or infrared coagulation (using a special light) or operations requiring anesthesia like excisional hemorrhoidectomy or stapling.
As a medical student, I scrubbed in to help with a hemorrhoid surgery. The surgeon advised me he eats fiber to avoid hemorrhoids, so that he doesn’t have the kind of surgery that he performs. How honest!
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