Hemorrhoids are a common issue. In fact, by age 50 about 50% of all people will experience hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids occur when the veins or blood vessels in and around your anus and lower rectum become swollen and irritated. Hemorrhoids are often a result of straining during bowel movements or from having chronic constipation or diarrhea. Many women also get hemorrhoids from pregnancy and childbirth. The pressure of carrying a baby in your abdomen strains the blood vessels in your pelvic area.
Symptoms typically include pain and itching, which can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications. For some people, drinking adequate amounts of water, eating a high fiber diet and taking over-the-counter remedies are enough to treat hemorrhoids. However, it is time to see a doctor when the pain is severe, you experience rectal bleeding, feel a lump or if you are experiencing recurrent hemorrhoids. The surgeon removes these painful swollen veins by making small incisions around the anus. It is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day.
If you have questions about hemorrhoid surgery and whether it is right for you, talk to Dr. Lauren Kastner, General Surgeon for Helena Medical Group.