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Hemorrhoids Specialists in Concord, NC

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids, or piles, are swollen veins in the rectum or anus, leading to discomfort and bleeding, often caused by factors like straining during bowel movements, obesity, and pregnancy. Although a frequently neglected area of health care, more than half of the population is afflicted with hemorrhoids. While the signs and symptoms may come and go, it is best to treat the underlying source to prevent the condition from worsening.

Common Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids

They can cause a variety of symptoms, and the severity of these symptoms can vary depending on the type and degree of hemorrhoids. Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Rectal Bleeding: One of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids is bright red blood on the toilet paper, in the toilet bowl, or on the stool after a bowel movement. The bleeding is typically painless but can be alarming.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Hemorrhoids can cause pain or discomfort, particularly during or after a bowel movement. This discomfort may be mild or more severe, depending on the size and location of the hemorrhoid.
  • Itching and Irritation: Hemorrhoids can be itchy and irritate the anal area. This can be particularly bothersome and may lead to scratching, which can worsen symptoms.
  • Swelling or Lump: External hemorrhoids, which form under the skin around the anus, can cause a visible lump or swelling. This lump can be tender and painful.
  • Mucous Discharge: Some people with internal hemorrhoids may experience a mucous discharge, which can lead to discomfort and itching.
  • Protrusion: In more severe cases, internal hemorrhoids can protrude (prolapse) outside the anus during bowel movements or while sitting. This can lead to pain and discomfort.
  • Difficulty Cleaning After Bowel Movements: Hemorrhoids can make it challenging to clean the anal area after a bowel movement, which may contribute to irritation and discomfort.

Common Causes Of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids develop when there is increased pressure on the veins in the rectal and anal area. The most common causes and risk factors associated with the development of hemorrhoids include:

  • Straining During Bowel Movements: This is one of the primary causes of hemorrhoids. Straining to pass stool can increase pressure on the veins in the rectal and anal area, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
  • Chronic Constipation: Constipation, which can be a result of inadequate dietary fiber, dehydration, or certain medical conditions, can contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids because it leads to repeated straining during bowel movements.
  • Diarrhea: While constipation is a common cause, chronic diarrhea can also lead to the development of hemorrhoids due to frequent, loose bowel movements and straining.
  • Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy due to increased pressure on the pelvic and rectal veins from the growing uterus. Hormonal changes can also contribute to the development of hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight can lead to increased pressure on the rectal and anal veins, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Sitting or Standing for Extended Periods: Prolonged sitting or standing can hinder blood circulation in the rectal area, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Heavy Lifting: Lifting heavy objects can also strain the rectal and anal veins and increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
  • Aging: As people age, the tissues that support the veins in the rectal and anal areas can weaken, making the development of hemorrhoids more likely.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to developing hemorrhoids due to factors related to vein strength and susceptibility to pressure.
  • Family History: If you have a family history of hemorrhoids, you may be at a higher risk of developing them yourself, possibly due to a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors.
  • Anal Intercourse: Engaging in anal intercourse can potentially lead to the development of hemorrhoids due to the friction and pressure involved.

How To Get Diagnosed

Diagnosing hemorrhoids typically involves a medical evaluation by a healthcare professional. If you suspect you have hemorrhoids or are experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding, pain, or discomfort, here's how the diagnosis process generally works:

  • Medical History: Your healthcare provider will begin by taking your medical history, including asking about your symptoms, their duration, and any factors that may contribute to hemorrhoids, such as diet, lifestyle, and family history.
  • Physical Examination: A physical examination is often the next step. Your healthcare provider will visually inspect the anal area and may gently examine the inside of the rectum using a gloved, lubricated finger. This can help confirm the presence of hemorrhoids and assess their size and severity.
  • Additional Tests: In some cases, especially if there is concern about other potential causes of symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend additional tests, such as:
  1. Anoscopy: This involves using a small, lighted tube (anoscope) to visualize the rectum and lower part of the colon.
  2. Sigmoidoscopy or Colonoscopy: These procedures involve using a flexible, lighted tube to examine the entire colon and rectum. They may be recommended if there is uncertainty about the diagnosis or if other gastrointestinal issues need to be ruled out.
  3. Stool Sample: A stool sample may be collected to check for blood in the stool, which can help determine if the bleeding is due to hemorrhoids or another gastrointestinal issue.

It's important to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have hemorrhoids, especially if you are experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding. While hemorrhoids are often manageable with conservative measures, a healthcare provider can guide the most appropriate treatment and help rule out other more serious conditions with similar symptoms.

What is The Treatment For Hemorrhoids

There aren’t many good home remedy options for the treatment of hemorrhoid symptoms because the relief they provide is only temporary and they don’t eliminate the root issue causing the pain, itching, burning, and discomfort.

Effective treatment for internal hemorrhoids, hemorrhoid banding offers patients a permanent and painless solution to the discomfort and recovery time associated with other hemorrhoid removal options.

Our board-certified gastroenterologists in Concord, NC offer a permanent solution to the problems associated with hemorrhoids and anal fissures through a process called hemorrhoid ligation (or banding) with the CRH O’Regan System. This disposable hemorrhoid removal procedure is safe, painless, and takes less than a minute, and 99 percent of patients can avoid surgery using this technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

How common are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are among the most common medical conditions diagnosed by medical professionals. Hemorrhoids affect approximately 1 in every 20 people in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and do not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or race.

Who is at risk of developing hemorrhoids?

Any person, both young and old, can develop hemorrhoids at any stage of life. There are, however, certain risk factors associated with an increased risk of developing hemorrhoids, such as pregnancy, extreme obesity, consuming a low-fiber diet, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea, lifting heavy objects too frequently, and straining excessively while having a bowel movement.

Are there different types of hemorrhoids?

There are three commonly reported types of hemorrhoids including:

External hemorrhoids: External hemorrhoids are the result of swollen veins beneath the skin outside of the anus. These can lead to extreme pain, itching, swelling, and even bleeding.

Internal hemorrhoids: internal hemorrhoids affect the veins inside the rectum, which is the area that connects your colon to your anus. Internal hemorrhoids are not usually painful, however, they may cause some bleeding.

Prolapsed hemorrhoids: A prolapsed hemorrhoid occurs when a hemorrhoid, whether internal or external, bulges or is stretched outside of the anus resulting in severe pain and bleeding.

Can I treat hemorrhoids at home?

Yes! Hemorrhoids are more often than not treated at home by using over-the-counter creams to help with pain and itching. In addition, many people have found comfort from consuming a high-fiber diet, regularly using a stool softener, drinking plenty of fluids, and staying well hydrated throughout the day, as well as avoiding sitting on the toilet for too long or straining while attempting a bowel movement.

When should I see a doctor for hemorrhoids?

It is recommended to consult a physician if you experience hemorrhoid symptoms for more than one week following at-home treatment. Bleeding is commonly a result of internal, external, and prolapsed hemorrhoids. However, bleeding can also occur from a wide variety of other conditions, which is why a physician may need to run some testing to determine the direct cause of bleeding.

Do hemorrhoids lead to cancer?

Hemorrhoids are not the direct cause of cancer, nor do they increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Physicians recommend having a routine colonoscopy, especially for those aged 45 and older, to screen for colorectal cancer or to detect the cause of unexplained rectal bleeding.

Is surgery ever done for hemorrhoids?

Yes, one of the surgeries performed to remove hemorrhoids is called hemorrhoidectomy, whereby the surgeon slices the hemorrhoids away by making small cuts around the anus to slice them away. Hemorrhoidopexy, or stapling, is another type of hemorrhoid surgery involving anesthesia.
Other surgical procedures to remove hemorrhoids include banding, sclerotherapy, Coagulation therapy, and hemorrhoidal artery ligation (HAL).
The type of surgical procedure you and your doctor decide on involves several factors including the size.

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Northeast Digestive Health Center
1070 Vinehaven Drive NE
Concord, North Carolina 28025
Phone: (704)783-1840
Fax: (704)783-1850
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