Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening, but they can cause constant discomfort and pain. At East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy in Patchogue, New York, Christopher Tomaino, MD, provides expert care for internal and external hemorrhoids. With advanced treatments, Dr. Tomaino can help relieve your pain from hemorrhoids. To schedule an appointment today, call East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy or book online.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower portion of your rectum or anus. There are two types of hemorrhoids:

External hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids develop underneath the skin of your anus. They’re visible with the naked eye and can be far more uncomfortable than internal hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are more common but less obvious than external hemorrhoids. You may not realize you have them. In some cases, however, internal hemorrhoids can push through the anal opening and cause severe discomfort. That is called a prolapsed hemorrhoid.

If a blood clot forms in the center of the hemorrhoid, it can cause a thrombosed hernia, which is extremely painful.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

The symptoms of a hemorrhoid vary depending on the type you have and its severity. Most people have hemorrhoids and simply don’t notice them because they aren’t visible or uncomfortable.

Signs and symptoms of external hemorrhoids include:

  • Pain when sitting
  • Discomfort
  • Swollen anus
  • Itching around anus
  • Small amounts of blood

Signs and symptoms of internal hemorrhoids include:

  • Bleeding during bowel movements
  • Pain
  • Irritation
  • A small lump that pushes through the anus

If you have a thrombosed hemorrhoid, you may notice a hard lump around your anus. It can be extremely painful and swollen.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are highly common and nearly everyone gets them at some point in life. Increased pressure in the lower anus causes hemorrhoids, which can happen due to:

  • Too much strain during bowel movements
  • Having chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Eating a high-fat, low-fiber diet
  • Engaging in anal intercourse
  • Being pregnant
  • Being obese
  • Sitting for long periods of time

Lifting heavy objects can also put a strain on the lower portion of your rectum and cause hemorrhoids.

How do doctors diagnose hemorrhoids?

You can typically see an external hemorrhoid or prolapsed hemorrhoid through a visual inspection. For internal hemorrhoids, Dr. Tomaino may perform a digital inspection during your visit to East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy. With gloved hands, he inserts a lubricated finger into your rectum to detect any abnormal growths.

After the exam, Dr. Tomaino may order additional testing, such as a colonoscopy, if you have any risk factors or a family history of colon cancer.

What are the treatments for hemorrhoids?

Mild hemorrhoids tend to subside on their own with time. If your hemorrhoid is causing you pain or discomfort, Dr. Tomaino may recommend:

  • A high-fiber diet
  • Increasing your water intake
  • Avoiding prolonged sitting
  • A stool softener
  • Sitting in a warm bath
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) ointments

If your hemorrhoid still isn’t improving with the above treatments, rubber band ligation may be an appropriate next step. This procedure involves wrapping a rubber band around the hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply.

In severe cases, Dr. Tomaino may recommend surgery to remove the hemorrhoid and eliminate its blood supply.

To learn more, call East Coast Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, or schedule an appointment online today.

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