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"Do hemorrhoids cause loose stools?"
I'm in college and I think I have hemorrhoids. It's not really a problem, but recently I've also been having diarrhea or loose stool. Could the hemorrhoids be the problem? If so, what are my options for getting rid of them?
Typically hemorrhoids do not cause symptoms of diarrhea or loose stool. Hemorrhoids are normal structures found in the anal canal that are made of small blood vessels and connective tissue. They are helpful in their usual state because they act like cushions to help the passage of stool. They cause symptoms when they become inflamed, swollen or irritated. These symptoms usually consist of bleeding, itching, and pain. Hemorrhoids located within the rectum do not cause pain and usually cause painless bright red bleeding seen on the toilet paper or covering the stool. External hemorrhoids (those protruding outside of the rectum) on the other hand can be a significant source of pain in addition to bleeding, and this pain may be exacerbated with bowel movements. Simple and cost-effective options for the prevention and treatment of hemorrhoids include softening the stool with a combination of medication (eg docusate sodium), increasing dietary fiber intake, and maintaining appropriate fluid intake. For further symptomatic relief, sitz baths, anti-inflammatory medications, and topical creams may help. If the hemorrhoids are a persistent source of pain and conservative measures fail to bring relief, then referral to a colorectal surgeon may be needed, where procedures such as rubber band ligation can be performed.
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