Internal and external Hemorrhoids

We Help Colorado Patients Find Hemorrhoid Relief

We’re Dedicated to Treating Your Hemorrhoids

Painful or chronic hemorrhoids that aren’t relieved with home treatment may require medical attention. The experienced surgeons and medical professionals at Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology Associates in Colorado have the skills and expertise needed to alleviate your painful and uncomfortable symptoms. Whether that’s through treatment, surgery, or undergoing preventative methods to help reduce the chance they return. We take pride in offering a full range of diagnostic and treatment options designed to get you back to living and enjoying life. To ensure your hemorrhoids are properly treated, we create personalized care plans that consider all possibilities, including medication, hemorrhoid banding, or even hemorrhoidectomy. Contact us to learn more about our hemorrhoid services.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen, enlarged veins that form inside and outside your anus and rectum. They can be painful and uncomfortable and cause complications such as rectal bleeding. They’re also known as piles. Each of us is born with hemorrhoids, but they don’t cause any issues. Hemorrhoids become an issue when they become swollen and enlarged, and they produce irritating symptoms. Nearly three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids from time to time. While hemorrhoids have several causes, the reason is often unknown. Fortunately, there are effective options available to treat hemorrhoids.

How Common are Hemorrhoids?

It’s estimated that one out of every 20 America has symptomatic hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids affect individuals of all ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities. They become more common as we age, affecting more than half of people over 50. Several factors increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids. These factors include:

  • Overweight or Obesity
  • Pregnant
  • Eating a Low-Fiber Diet
  • Having Chronic Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Regularly Lifting Heavy Objects
  • Extended Amounts of Time on the Toilet
  • Straining While Having Bowel Movements

Are There Different Types of Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can happen inside or outside of your rectum. The type of hemorrhoid depends on where the swelling develops. It’s also not uncommon for patients to confuse hemorrhoids and anal fissures. They cause similar symptoms, such as itching, pain, or bleeding. While swollen veins cause hemorrhoids, a tear in the lining of your anus will cause an anal fissure. Our doctors will perform an examination and may order tests to discover what’s causing your symptoms. Unlike anal fissures, there are different types of hemorrhoids, and they include:

  • External Hemorrhoids – Swollen veins form underneath the skin around your anus. External hemorrhoids can become itchy, painful, and occasionally bleed. It’s also not uncommon that this type will fill with blood and become a clot. If this occurs, there’s no need for an alarm. It isn’t dangerous, but it can result in pain and swelling.
  • Internal Hemorrhoids – Internal hemorrhoids form inside your rectum. Your rectum is part of your digestive system and connects your large intestine to your anus. These aren’t typically painful, but they may bleed.
  • Prolapsed – Both internal and external hemorrhoids can become prolapsed, stretching and bulging outside your anus. It’s not uncommon for prolapsed hemorrhoids to bleed or cause pain.

Different Causes of Hemorrhoids

There are a variety of reasons that cause hemorrhoids to appear. The most common reason is straining. Straining puts pressure on the veins in your anus or rectum, which leads to hemorrhoids. Any strain that places pressure on your stomach or lower extremities can cause anal and rectal veins to become swollen and inflamed. More recent studies show that patients with hemorrhoids tend to have a higher resting anal canal tone. This means the smooth muscle of the anal canal tends to be tighter than average. Constipation adds to the pressure due to straining during a bowel movement. Hemorrhoids become more common as we age as the connective tissue that supports and keeps hemorrhoids in place weakens, leading to building and prolapsed hemorrhoids. Here are some additional causes of hemorrhoids:

  • Pelvic Pressure from Weight Gain, More Common During Pregnancy
  • Pushing During a Bowel Movement Due to Constipation
  • Straining Due to Lifting Heavy Objects or Weightlifting

What Are Hemorrhoid Symptoms?

The symptoms differ depending on the hemorrhoid type. Internal hemorrhoids rarely cause pain because they cannot be felt unless they become prolapsed. Most patients won’t know they have hemorrhoids because they’ll never have symptoms. On rare occasions where internal hemorrhoid shows symptoms, you may notice blood on your toilet paper or in your stool or toilet bowl. These are common signs of rectal bleeding. External hemorrhoids have more noticeable symptoms, which include:

  • Itchy Anus
  • Hard Lumps Near Your Anus That are Sore or Tender to the Touch
  • Pain or Ache in Your Anus, More Intense When You Sit
  • Rectal Bleeding

Can Other Disorders Cause Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are more commonly a side effect of straining and less likely to be a side effect of other disorders. However, different gastrointestinal disorders can cause bleeding or other symptoms similar to hemorrhoids. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you must tell your medical provider, as these disorders can become life-threatening. Bowel diseases that can cause bleeding include:

  • Ulcerative Colitis – Ulcerative Colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, specifically of the large intestine. It’s not common that it may spread to your colon. Symptoms may include bloody diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal cramping, anemia, or pus found in bowel movements. Currently, there are no cures, but there are medications that can help calm the inflammation. Our team can perform surgery to help treat the inflammation in more severe cases.
  • Colon Cancer – This cancer develops from polyps in your colon’s inner lining. Our team can perform screening tests and treatments to detect and remove precancerous polyps. If left untreated, colon cancer may spread to other areas of your body. We recommend scheduling regular screenings or colonoscopies if you have a family history of colon cancer or notice any changes in your bowel habits.
  • Crohn’s Disease – Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes your digestive tract to become swollen and irritated. If you have this disease, you may experience symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and rectal bleeding. Unfortunately, Crohn’s is a life-long disease that cannot be cured. However, treatments are available to help manage your symptoms, allowing you to live an active life.

How We Diagnose Hemorrhoids

Depending on the severity and frequency of your hemorrhoids, it may be beneficial to seek out an examination and diagnostic tests from our medical staff. The tests may be uncomfortable, but they’re not designed to be painful. Most of the diagnostic tests we perform are done under anesthesia and allow you to go home the same day. Based on your symptoms, we may perform a colonoscopy to confirm the findings or check for colon cancer signs. Here are some diagnostic tests our professionals have access to:

  • Digital Rectal Exam – For this procedure, a finger is inserted into the rectum to check for muscle tone, tenderness, lumps, or other complications.
  • Anoscopy – Our medical team will use an anoscope, a lighted tube that allows our providers to view the lining of your anus and rectum.
  • Sigmoidoscopy – This diagnostic test uses a sigmoidoscope, a lighted tube with a camera attached to view inside the lower part of your colon and rectum. This allows our providers to perform a more thorough examination.

Get the Hemorrhoid Treatment You Need

Thankfully, as uncomfortable and painful as hemorrhoids can be, they don’t tend to cause serious issues such as anemia, infection, or even blood clots. Most hemorrhoids go away on their own without treatment. Hemorrhoid symptoms like pain and bleeding may last a week or longer, but there are treatments and steps to lessen or avoid these issues for external hemorrhoids. These include using over-the-counter medications, drinking more water, and increasing fiber intake by altering your diet. The Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology team only treats internal hemorrhoids. However, you should schedule a consultation if your symptoms worsen or interfere with your daily life. If symptoms don’t improve, here is an overview of our hemorrhoid treatments:

  • Rubber Band Ligation – This non-surgical treatment is used to treat internal hemorrhoids. A Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology physician places a small band around hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply. Rubber band litigation causes no pain and requires almost no recovery time. The procedure is 99% effective and takes less than one minute to complete.
  • Hemorrhoid Stapling – A surgical procedure that removes internal hemorrhoids or pulls a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid back inside the anus.

Schedule Your Hemorrhoid Consultation Today

It’s estimated that approximately 15 million Americans have sought hemorrhoid treatment at one point. The Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology team is dedicated to providing unrivaled care and relief from your hemorrhoid symptoms. We have years of experience diagnosing and treating hemorrhoids and can provide quick, simple, and painless treatments. If you suffer from hemorrhoid symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your consultation. Find relief from your pain and discomfort today.

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