Hemorrhoids

Close to 50 percent of American adults know by age 50 what it feels like to have hemorrhoids. Here are some of the symptoms the remaining 50 percent have not yet experienced: Rectal pain, extreme itchiness, painful bowel movements, bleeding and a level of discomfort that makes it difficult to sit for long periods.

In most cases, hemorrhoids are treatable with simple home remedies. Changes in your diet can also reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids again. When home treatments don’t work, your Digestive Health Center doctor might recommend a procedure to eliminate persistent, painful hemorrhoids.


What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in the lower area of the rectum and anus.


What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are caused by veins in the anus area that bulge under pressure. That pressure can be created by:

  • Sitting too long on the toilet
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • A diet low in fiber
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Repeated heavy lifting
  • Aging (hemorrhoids typically affect adults 45 to 65 years old)

Types of Hemorrhoids

Here are three types of hemorrhoids and their symptoms:

External Hemorrhoids

These hemorrhoids, which affect the vines outside the anus, are usually visible. It’s a blood clot forms, it’s even more likely that the hemorrhoid will be visible.

  • Bloody stool
  • Pain, discomfort in the anus area
  • Itching around anus or rectum
  • Swelling around anus

Internal Hemorrhoids

These hemorrhoids, inside the rectum, typically do not cause discomfort. But straining during a bowel movement can cause:

  • Bloody stool
  • The hemorrhoid tissue to protrude through the anal opening

Note: A protruding hemorrhoid can cause pain during a bowel movement. The tissue can recede through the anal opening on its own or you can push it back gently.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids

When blood collects in an external hemorrhoid, forming a clot (thrombus).

  • Pain, potentially severe
  • Itching in the anus area
  • Swelling
  • Bloody stool

How to Treat/Prevent Hemorrhoids

Warm Sitz bath: Look for a sitz (adopted from the German “sitzen,” or “to sit”) at your local pharmacy – a small tub that fits over toilet seat. Add warm water and use for 20 minutes after each bowel movement, plus two or three more times each day to decrease inflammation. Or simply sit in your bathtub with a few inches of warm water.

Stool softener: Preventing constipation can help you avoid hemorrhoids.

Topical medications: Hemorrhoid creams with a local anesthetic, available over-the-counter, can reduce main.
Dietary changes: Adding fiber and fluids reduces the risk of constipation and pressure on the rectum and anus during a bowel movement.

Exercise: Reduces pressure on veins susceptible to hemorrhoids and relives constipation


When to See a Specialist

Talk to your doctor if hemorrhoids don’t respond to home treatment within a week or you experience bleeding during a bowel movement.


Diagnosis & Treatment

Your doctor can identify hemorrhoids with a physical exam that might include a digital rectal exam and also a review of your medical history.

If there’s rectal bleeding or blood in your stool, a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy can test for other possible causes such as colorectal and anal cancer.

Infrared coagulation: For people with persistent rectal bleeding, the Digestive Health Center offers this outpatient procedure that uses the heat from infrared light to clot vessels supplying blood to the hemorrhoids. Once the blood supply is cut off, the hemorrhoidal tissue shrinks and recedes.

Rubber band ligation: The standard hemorrhoid treatment that shrinks the hemorrhoid by placing an elastic band around the base. Up to six procedures spaced out over several weeks are required.

Hemorrhoidectomy: If rubber band ligation fails to eliminate internal hemorrhoids or you have significant protruding hemorrhoids or problematic external hemorrhoids, this surgery removes the affected blood vessels.

Stapled hemorrhoidectomy: This surgical technique removes enlarged hemorrhoidal tissue, then places the remaining tissue in its original position.


Make an Appointment

Call to schedule an appointment with a GI specialist at Hartford Hospital.
Ask your doctor for a referral before you call.

Call 833.431.0004


Meet our Hemorrhoid Specialists:

Name Specialties Location
Cohen, Jeffrey Lewis, MD, FACS, FASCRS 860.548.7336
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Farmington
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Johnson, Kristina Hope, MD, FACS, FASCRS 860.548.7336
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • General Surgery
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  • Farmington
  • Glastonbury
  • Hartford
  • Hartford
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Sardella, William Vincent, MD 860.548.7336
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Glastonbury
  • Hartford
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Swales, Colin Thomas, MD 860.972.4262
  • Gastroenterology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Transplant Hepatology
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  • Hartford
Thurston, Kristy Tyler, MD 860.548.7336
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Hartford
  • Manchester
  • Manchester
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Vignati, Paul Vincent, MD 860.548.7336
  • Colon & Rectal Surgery
  • General Surgery
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  • Hartford
  • Hartford
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Digestive Health Center