Hemorrhoids are swollen veins. They are found in and around the anus and lower rectum. The veins get stretched out when they're under pressure.
The types are:
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The exact cause of hemorrhoids is unknown. The most common may be linked to:
Hemorrhoids are more common in older adults. Your chances are also higher for:
Not everyone will have symptoms. They may range from mild to severe. The most common are:
Bleeding can be a sign of other health conditions, some serious. If you are bleeding, call your doctor so you can find the cause.
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to hemorrhoids. The doctor will take examine the anal area carefully. An anoscope can be used to see internal structures.
How hemorrhoids are treated depend on the problems. It mainly starts with easing symptoms. Sometimes they go away on their own or with basic care. Your doctor may try one or more of these:
Self-care may be enough. This involves:
If self-care doesn't work, your doctor may advise:
To help lower your chances of hemorrhoids:
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Altomare DF, Rinaldi M, La Torre F, et al. Red hot chili pepper and hemorrhoids: the explosion of a myth: results of a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Dis Colon Rectum. 2006;49(7):1018-1023.
Hemorrhoids. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/hemorrhoids. Accessed August 24, 2018.
Hemorrhoids. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116475/Hemorrhoids . Updated February 20, 2018. Accessed August 24, 2018.
Hemorrhoids. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/anorectal-disorders/hemorrhoids. Updated July 2018. Accessed August 24, 2018.
Jayaraman S, Colquhoun PH, Malthaner RA. Stapled versus conventional surgery for hemorrhoids. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;(4):CD005393.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/24/2018