Hemorrhoids are enlarged vessels, typically veins, in the rectal or anal area. Although harmless in the vast majority of cases, they cause itching, swelling, bleeding and pain, and sufferers find them annoying and uncomfortable. Hemorrhoids are a common problem thought the population, and affects both men and women almost equally. The incidence increases with age. They are caused by a variety of factors, which include diet and bowel habits. One of the most common pieces of advice given to sufferers is to increase the amount of fiber in their diet, as this can help the passage of stool and reduce the amount of straining, a common risk factor for the development of this annoying medical problem.
External hemorrhoids treatment ranges from the conservative to the more dramatic. The first and most conservative treatment is to simply “watch and wait,” with the hope that the hemorrhoid will resolve by itself, or by the use of over-the-counter sitz baths. Sitz baths improve the circulation of blood vessels in the peri-anal and rectal area, thereby speeding the resolution of hemorrhoids. A second, and slightly more interactive external hemorrhoids treatment option, is the use of topical drug preparations which can cause blood vessels to constrict, thereby shrinking the hemorrhoid. These include creams which contain phenylephrine, a vasoconstrictor, as well as hydrocortisone, a topical anti-inflammatory steroid.
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Finally, a number of medical and surgical procedures are available for external hemorrhoids treatment. These third set of options include the use of a rubber band to “tie off” the base of the hemorrhoid, laser or infrared coagulation to clot off the hemorrhoid, and sclerotherapy, where a drug is injected to cause the hemorrhoid to close off. Finally, surgical removal of hemorrhoids, called hemorrhoidectomy, is available for patients with numerous recurrences, as well as individuals who have large hemorrhoids. People who suffer from hemorrhoids are advised to begin with the least invasive (and also least expensive) options, and to seek out treatments such as laser coagulation and surgery only if their symptoms do not promptly resolve.