What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are a normal vascular structure that we all have.  It’s only when they become swollen that we notice them and call them hemorrhoids.  They are nothing more than the blood vessels in our rectum that helps supply the area with blood.  When these vessels and cushions of tissue become swollen they can cause symptoms of discomfort, itching, bleeding and pain.

What are the causes of hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are typically caused by prolonged increased pressure in the vessels of the rectum.  The most common activities that cause this increased pressure are constipation, frequent diarrhea, obesity, sitting for prolonged periods of time, pregnancy and heavy lifting.

How do I know if what I have is a hemorrhoid or something else?

Hemorrhoids can cause many different symptoms.  If you experience things like anal itching, pain or discomfort chances are you have swollen hemorrhoids.  Some people feel a lump near their anus or even see some bright red rectal bleeding.

Even though hemorrhoids are the most common causes of these symptoms there are also other conditions that can do this that aren’t as benign as hemorrhoids.  If you have these symptoms and feel you may have hemorrhoids please see your physician to check and be sure.

How can I prevent hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can’t always be prevented and some people develop them even without risk factors.  However, there are things you can do to reduce your chances of getting hemorrhoids:

  • Get enough fiber and fluids in your diet
  • Reduce your intake of high fat, low fiber foods which increase your risk of constipation
  • Avoid straining during bowel movements. If it’s not your time to go within a few minutes of sitting on the toilet get up and come back later
  • During period of extended sitting (like a long car ride), stay hydrated, eat fiber and walk around as often as you can

Do hemorrhoids always require surgery?

Years ago surgery was the best option for hemorrhoid treatment.  Now, with the advent of things like the EZ-Band Hemorrhoid Removal System like I use at my office, over 95% of hemorrhoids can be treated non-surgically.

The sooner you seek treatment for your hemorrhoids, the lower your chance of needing surgery will be. You can learn more about the banding option by visiting my hemorrhoid banding page.

How does the EZ-Band Hemorrhoid System work?

With the EZ-Band Hemorrhoid Removal System a series of small rubber bands are placed around the blood vessels at the base of the hemorrhoids in your rectum, which cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoids and causes them to shrink.

Within a few days, the banded tissue and band will fall off in your stool and the development of scar tissue from the band cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid.  The hemorrhoidal vein still exists but because its blood supply is markedly diminished it doesn’t swell and cause problems.

How many treatments are necessary with the EZ-Band Hemorrhoid System?

Most everyone has 3 hemorrhoid columns in their rectum and when symptomatic, typically all three are swollen and affected. Depending on how big the hemorrhoids are at time of treatment 1-2 bands are placed per banding session and typically 2-3 sessions will reduce the hemorrhoids.

Is hemorrhoid banding painful?

The biggest advantage of banding devices like the EZ-Band Hemorrhoid Removal System is that it is painless in 99% of patients.  Most patients tell me after banding they feel a little rectal pressure or fullness from the band but pain is something that you should not have.

Will I have to miss work or other activities after a hemorrhoid banding treatment?

You can return to work and activity right after your banding appointment.  The only restriction I make is to try and avoid vigorous activity, like a big work out, until the following day.

Is hemorrhoid banding covered by insurance?

Most all major insurance plans cover hemorrhoid banding (rubber band ligation).  If you have questions about your specific plan at all call my office at 210-615-8308 for cost details and they can help you figure out your insurance plan.

Do over-the-counter hemorrhoid treatments provide long-term relief?

Yes, you can try any of the over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams and some do give temporary relief from symptoms.  However, they don’t treat the cause of the hemorrhoids and symptoms relief usually doesn’t last long.  For a more long-term solution, hemorrhoid banding is your best option.