Hemorrhoids in Washington

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Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins in the lower rectum or anus. This issue most often occurs when the vein walls in the anus or rectum become so thin that the veins protrude or bulge. Piles can happen internally (within the rectum) or externally (on the anus).

Hemorrhoids are quite common. As a matter of fact, almost three-fourths of adults will experience hemorrhoids at some point. In some cases, a blood clot will develop within a hemorrhoid (called a thrombosed hemorrhoid) and can result in pain or discomfort. The board-certified gastrointestinal specialists at Washington Gastroenterology specialize in treating this common concern and other gastrointestinal situations. To receive care for hemorrhoids in Washington, please get in touch with a nearby practice today.

A variety of factors can cause hemorrhoids. Causes of hemorrhoids can include:

  • Sitting or standing for extended periods of time
  • The natural aging process
  • Ongoing constipation
  • Being pregnant
  • Excessive strain during bowel movements
  • Genetic history of hemorrhoids
  • Ongoing diarrhea
  • Straining too hard to perform physical activity (such as weight lifting)
  • Being overweight

Symptoms of hemorrhoids may vary due to the area affected but typically include:

  • Purple, pink, or blue raised lesions that protrude around the anus
  • Itching around the anus
  • Discomfort around the anus while conducting physical activities
  • Discomfort and/or inflammation around the anus
  • Bright red blood in one's stool
  • Pain during bowel movements

In some cases, smaller hemorrhoids might heal on their own within a few days. Your Washington Gastroenterology provider might prescribe medications or recommend at-home remedies to relieve the irritating symptoms of hemorrhoids. When larger hemorrhoids occur, however, medical involvement is available in Washington and could be required to remove or treat the hemorrhoid. Common hemorrhoid treatments include:

  • Tub baths multiple times daily in warm water
  • A high fiber diet
  • Ice packs for reduction of anal inflammation
  • Draining a clot (thrombosis)
  • Hemorrhoid stapling
  • Maintaining a clean anal region
  • Ligation using rubber bands
  • Treatment of constipation or the cause of the hemorrhoids
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Application of topical cream
  • Coagulation
  • Surgery
  • Avoiding the use of dry toilet paper
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Can you prevent the development of hemorrhoids?

There are a few things you can do help prevent the development of hemorrhoids — or at least, decrease their impact. This might includes lifestyle changes like:

  • Avoid sitting for extended periods of time: Take breaks periodically throughout the day. For example, go for a quick walk every 1 – 2 hours.
  • Consume a high-fiber diet: This involves fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and more. If you find it difficult to eat enough fiber, a fiber dietary supplement could be something to consider.
  • Consume plenty of water.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Go to the restroom when you feel the urge, rather than waiting for another time.
Are there certain foods I should avoid if have a hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are commonly caused by issues like chronic constipation, so adopting specific dietary changes could be ideal if you suffer from the GI concern. Our Washington gastrointestinal specialists might suggest avoiding food items containing little to no fiber. This involves items such as potato chips, cheese, ice cream, fast food, and processed foods. During your appointment, we can provide further information on food items to avoid eating when with hemorrhoids.

Will an over-the-counter cream take care of my hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoid creams purchased over the counter can be an effective way to minimize symptoms like itching and inflammation. In some instances, they may even help address minor hemorrhoids. However, they often do not provide the most effective approach to treatment. Because hemorrhoid creams don't actually address the root cause of hemorrhoids, it's likely that hemorrhoids will recur without professional treatment.

How long do hemorrhoids last?

The severity and variation of hemorrhoid you're experiencing will generally determine how long it might remain. With internal hemorrhoids, minor cases often improve within a few days to one week. Bigger hemorrhoids, on the contrary, can take up to a few weeks or may need professional medical care. External hemorrhoids generally need a doctor. Treatment options may involve nutritional and lifestyle modifications, using nonprescription medications, a procedure like hemorrhoid banding, a surgical procedure, or another form of care.

Although hemorrhoids don't typically progress into serious health issues, they can still be irritating and wreak havoc on your quality of life. If you find yourself needing assistance with hemorrhoid treatment in Washington, our providers are available to assist. We encourage you to reach out to Washington Gastroenterology to connect with a local GI specialist in your community.

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