Are Hemorrhoids Normal (And What Can I Do About Them)?

Every day in the United States, millions of people cope with the discomfort, and sometimes pain, that come with hemorrhoids. If you figure among this group, you’re not alone. And more importantly, there are steps we can take to help you find relief from problematic hemorrhoids.

At our practice, Dr. Gabriel Akopian specializes in colorectal issues, and hemorrhoids are a common complaint among our patients in Pasadena, California. Here’s a look at this very normal condition and what we can do about them.

Hemorrhoids: A veiny issue

Hemorrhoids, which are also referred to as piles, are swollen veins around your anus or in your rectum. Hemorrhoids are very similar to varicose veins, and they develop because of added pressure in the veins that surround your anus or in the ones that line the inside your lower rectum — creating external and internal hemorrhoids, respectively.

Hemorrhoids aren’t necessarily dangerous, but they can lead to considerable discomfort because of itching or swelling surrounding these enlarged veins. In less common cases, hemorrhoids can form a clot (thrombus) and become very painful. If you feel a hard lump around your anus, this may be evidence of a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

Hemorrhoids: A common problem

To underscore just how normal hemorrhoids are, they develop in three out of four adults throughout their lives and come on for any number of reasons, including:

In many cases, we don’t know how hemorrhoids develop, but we do know how to treat them.

Treating hemorrhoids

There are several treatment avenues for hemorrhoids, and we decide on the most appropriate direction after we review your symptoms and perform a physical evaluation.

If we find your hemorrhoids to be normal, we typically recommend one or more of the following:

We also recommend that you make some dietary changes, especially adding more fiber to your diet, which can bulk up and soften your stool, making it easier to pass. We also recommend that you avoid straining on the toilet and use moist towelettes for a while instead of dry and potentially scratchy toilet paper. 

If you have problematic hemorrhoids or recurring problems with them, we may get more aggressive in treating them. To do this, Dr. Akopian may turn to a banding procedure to stop the flow of blood to the hemorrhoid-causing vein.

Getting more aggressive still, Dr. Akopian may perform hemorrhoid energy therapy and/or transanal hemorrhoidal dearterialization, which are minimally invasive procedures to remove your hemorrhoids. In some cases, a traditional hemorrhoidectomy is needed to give you relief.

The bottom line is that hemorrhoids are a perfectly normal condition and there are many ways we can resolve the issue. The first step is to give us a call at (626) 788-4095.

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