Hemorrhoids are a very common health concern, affecting an estimated 10 million people in the United States alone. However, as with any health concern, diagnosis and treatment for hemorrhoids is best provided by seeking care from a physician. A primary care doctor
can help diagnose and treat hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids--or enlarged rectal veins--can be divided into two general categories. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the anal canal and commonly cause painless bleeding with bowel movements. However, they can sometimes cause perianal itching or irritation. Large hemorrhoids can also prolapse or protrude through the anus or even become twisted, causing acute pain.
External hemorrhoids are found on the outside of the anal area and can cause painful bleeding with bowel movements. External hemorrhoids can also cause problems with personal hygiene because of excess or stretched skin in the anal area. Hemorrhoids are more common in pregnant women and in patients with ulcerative colitis
or Crohn's disease than the rest of the population.
However, irritation, pain, or bleeding from the rectal area can also be associated with many other conditions including anal fissures; an area of viral or bacterial infection; an abscess; an anal fistula; or anal warts.
It is not possible to diagnose hemorrhoids without an evaluation by a physician. Seeking medical care also helps identify and exclude any other causes of anal pain or bleeding.