Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How do you get hemorrhoids? "
Had some pain near my anus and my doctor said I have hemorrhoids and gave me a cream for it. Forgot to ask though, how do you get them in the first place? Are they contagious?
It is necessary to do a proper exam in order to be sure that you have hemorrhoids. Pain around the anus can be from different sources and you should not assume that it is a simple hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids are not contagious. They are caused by congested veins in your rectal-anus area similar to those people who get spider veins on the belly or esophageal varices. It is just simply congested veins. The risk factors for it include liver disease or portal hypertension, tight fitting clothing, and occupation where you are required to sit a lot. For instance, truck drivers often have them. Hemorrhoids even may run in families but are not contagious. There are different types of hemorrhoids (i.e internal vs external) and they are graded according to how much they protrude. While internal hemorrhoids do not cause pain, external hemorrhoids can cause pain or discomfort, especially on defecation. However, both can cause bleeding. Sometimes a patient can get severe pain when the hemorroids thrombosed (blood clots inside these veins), in which case surgical consultation is required. Diagnosis is best done by a physical exam with an anoscope or during a colonoscopy. The important issue here is to rule out more sinister causes of pain in the perianal area. There is a new treatment for hemorrhoids every day, but most of them are designed to shrink, decrease pain, and remove them altogether. Those with large or multiple hemorrhoids should consider surgery, which can be done electively as an outpatient procedure and recovery is fairly rapid. I recommend a gastroenterology consultation. Good luck!