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
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.