by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins. They are found in and around the anus and lower rectum. External hemorrhoids grow under the skin around the anus. Internal ones grow inside the anus.
The exact cause not known. It may be due to:
This problem is more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Some people may not have symptoms. Others may have problems that range from mild to severe. Common ones are:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. It will focus on the anal area. An anoscope may be used to see internal structures. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms and promote healing.
Initial treatments may be:
Procedures may be done when other methods are not helpful. Options are:
To lower the risk of this problem:
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Hemorrhoids. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/hemorrhoids. Accessed October 22, 2020.
Hemorrhoids. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hemorrhoids. Accessed October 22, 2020.
Hemorrhoids. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/anorectal-disorders/hemorrhoids. Accessed October 22, 2020.
Jacobs D. Clinical practice. Hemorrhoids. N Engl J Med. 2014 Sep 4;371(10):944-951.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated: 5/19/2021