Internal and external hemorrhoids are dilated vascular cushions that are located in and below the anal canal. They are part of the normal anatomy but can produce problems when they become enlarged and inflamed.
While the development of symptomatic hemorrhoids is a multifactorial process including a number of patient-specific anatomic, behavioral, dietary and genetic influences, the majority of people develop problems with hemorrhoids because of acute change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation) which can often be due to inadequate dietary fiber .
The symptoms caused by hemorrhoids include pain, bleeding, protrusion, soiling and itching. The type of symptoms are related to whether the internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids or both are symptomatic. Symptomatic hemorrhoids rarely cause life-threatening problems but can sometimes significantly affect people’s ability to carry on their normal daily activities. It is extremely important to determine the cause of rectal bleeding since some anal, rectal and colon cancers can cause bleeding that is indistinguishable from hemorrhoidal bleeding.
There are a variety of medical and surgical treatments for hemorrhoids. The majority of symptoms will usually resolve simply by increasing dietary fiber . This can be accomplished by increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables or consuming one of the many psyllium or methyl cellulose products that are available without prescription. Medicated suppositories are sometimes very helpful. The application of tiny rubber bands around the base of hemorrhoids is an efficient, painless means of outpatient treatment of internal hemorrhoids. Patients who do not respond to or are not candidate for simple methods of treatment can undergo an operative hemorrhoidectomy which is ultimately the gold standard in treatment.
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Established in 1924 by Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla has been one of Southern California’s premier medical centers for more than 80 years. Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla offers a wide range of clinical, surgical and specialty services. It is consistently recognized for quality patient care and is the first in San Diego to be designated a Magnet Hospital by the American Nursing Association for excellence in patient care.
San Diego Colon and Rectal Surgeons
9834 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, California 92037