What Is A Hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids Info

Hemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles, are engorged veins in the lower rectum and anus.  They are an extremely common problem, so much so that half of the population will have one at least once in their lifetime. It’s important to know the facts about such a prevalent, yet little talked about condition.

Ari Nowain, MD is a highly experienced Beverly Hills gastroenterologist who frequently diagnosis and treats patients’ hemorrhoids. His years of experience and approachable demeanor make him the ideal doctor to discuss topics that may be of some embarrassment. In order to alleviate that embarrassment, we’ve created a short overview on hemorrhoids and hemorrhoid banding.

Symptoms and treatment depend on the hemorrhoid type; there are two types of hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. A physical check up with a gastroenterologist is necessary because it’s difficult to tell the difference between a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid and a real external hemorrhoid.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Generally, hemorrhoids are the result of too much pressure on the veins and rectal area. There are a number of factors that can cause piles, including:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation/Straining to have a bowel movement
  • Pregnancy (due to increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area)
  • Being overweight
  • Sitting for extended periods of time (this includes sitting on the toilet)

Common Hemorrhoid Symptoms

There are a number of hemorrhoid symptoms that are associated with both external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids. These symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • A feeling of pressure near the anus
  • Anal bumps/bulging
  • Bleeding
  • Itching

How Do You Diagnose Hemorrhoids?

Diagnosis depends on many factors, including age and symptoms. If a patient experiences any of the above symptoms, a doctor will usually visually inspect the outer anus first, then perform a digital examine with a gloved finger, and, if possible, use a short, lighted scope (anoscope) to look at the first 2 inches internally.

If patients have symptoms of bleeding or are over the age of 50, a colonoscopy is also usually required to ensure that there is no cancer, polyp, ulcer, or inflammation in the colon, which can present the same way as a hemorrhoid. Unfortunately, the presence of a hemorrhoid does not necessarily exclude these other possible diagnosis and because hemorrhoids are very common problems, it is important to ensure that patients do not have multiple issues at one time.

Dr. Nowain is one of the only gastroenterologists in Los Angeles that specializes in a procedure called the Third Eye colonoscopy, which increases his ability to detect colon polyps by 20% during a colonoscopy. Colon polyps are growths within the large intestine that have the potential to advance to colon cancer if not removed.

Internal vs. External Hemorrhoids

While the two types of hemorrhoids may seem obvious from their names, they are actually quite misleading. Although the name internal hemorrhoids indicate that the hemorrhoid is within the body, in certain circumstances, it can be seen externally, if it has become large and prolapsed.  That’s why it’s important to visit a specialist like Dr. Nowain to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are graded on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 representing the most severe.  Most patients fall into the 1 to 3 range, with rare instances of size 4 hemorrhoids.  The scale is as follows:

  1. Small and inside
  2. Medium and inside
  3. Prolapsing out but can be easily reduced (pushed back in)
  4. Prolapsing out and cannot be reduced

External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are usually the result of bowel movement strain and appear as purple, discolored, painful bumps. They are especially painful because they are located in an area below the dentate line where there are a lot of nerve endings.

Hemorrhoid Treatment

There are a number of hemorrhoid treatments depending on the type of hemorrhoid a patient has. Commonly used treatment options for internal hemorrhoids include a hemorrhoidectomy (surgical removal of the hemorrhoid) and hemorrhoid band ligation. Dr. Nowain is an expert at hemorrhoid banding, otherwise known as rubber band ligation, which is simple, fast, and painless. In some cases, the entire procedure can cure hemorrhoids in 48 hours. The hemorrhoid is gently suctioned in place and a small rubber band is placed at the base. This cuts off the blood supply, resulting in it falling off in one to two days, without the patient ever knowing.

Options for treating external hemorrhoids include surgery in advanced cases, but can most often be treated conservatively with prescription strength creams and treatments aimed at reducing inflammation. It is very important to get examined by Dr. Nowain if you have chronic hemorrhoids in order for him to determine what type they are. Based on the type and severity, then a pile treatment course can be planned with Dr. Nowain’s help.

See Expert Beverly Hills Gastroenterologist Dr. Nowain

Dr. Nowain is Los Angeles GI doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both internal and external hemorrhoids. As an expert hemorrhoid doctor he’s helped thousands of people in the greater Los Angeles area permanently get rid of their hemorrhoids. If you or someone you know are interested in a consultation with Dr. Nowain, please don’t hesitate to contact his Beverly Hills office at (310) 658-4444.

Find out about Hemorrhoid Banding Recovery.