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Hemorrhoids are veins around the rectum and anus that become swollen, enlarged and sometimes painful when put under pressure. Hemorrhoids may be irritated by chronic conditions like constipation and diarrhea, as well as traumas that occur during pregnancy, childbirth or anal intercourse. When inflamed, a hemorrhoid may appear internally or externally, with some large internal hemorrhoids prolapsing externally through the anus.
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Hemorrhoids often require a physician’s diagnosis, as their symptoms mimic those of other colorectal issues like anal fissures, abscesses and fistulas. When hemorrhoids become inflamed, they may grow larger and bleed bright red blood during bowel movements. If you experience any rectal bleeding, see a colon and rectal surgeon immediately.
Most doctors will diagnose hemorrhoids after a rectal exam. In some cases, additional screening measures such as a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy will be used to rule out other more serious causes of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Hemorrhoid surgery is only necessary for approximately 5 percent of all hemorrhoid patients. When conservative treatment measures fail, your doctor may recommend minimally invasive surgery or internal hemorrhoid band ligation to cut off blood supply, shrink, and destroy the hemorrhoid tissue. When hemorrhoids become thrombosed, a colon and rectal surgeon will need to remove the blood clot within the vein to allow it to heal and minimize pain.