Understanding the Differences Between Internal and External Hemorrhoids and How to Treat Them

Hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable -- and sometimes painful -- condition that's worsened by going to the bathroom. If you’re suffering from hemorrhoids, you're probably trying to figure out the best treatment to get rid of the pain and make bowel movements less of a chore.

Dr. James Rifenbery is a knowledgeable general surgeon who can help you with a treatment plan for this painful condition. He and our staff at Laparoscopic Surgery NW can help you get rid of the hemorrhoids for good.

Hemorrhoids explained

Hemorrhoids, which are also known as piles, are a condition in which the veins around your rectum and anus become swollen and painful. The veins end up bulging because they're stretched so thin. 

The swollen veins are aggravated when you have a bowel movement, causing pain and bleeding. In fact, hemorrhoids are the most common cause of rectal bleeding.

There are several reasons you can get hemorrhoids, including:

You may think all hemorrhoids are the same, but they're not. There are two types: internal and external hemorrhoids.

Internal versus external hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are usually inside of your rectum, far enough that you aren't able to see or feel them. Because of this, they don't usually cause you pain. The main symptom that you may experience with internal hemorrhoids is bleeding which can be seen as red streaks in your bowel movements, on the toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl.

Sometimes internal hemorrhoids can bulge out of your rectum during a bowel movement, which is known as prolapsing. This can cause pain when you wipe. These prolapsed hemorrhoids usually go back into the rectum on their own.

External hemorrhoids occur outside of the rectum. They protrude out from the skin that surrounds your anal opening. There are a significant number of nerves in this area, which means these can cause you a lot of pain. 

Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include:

Both types of hemorrhoids can be frustrating and painful, leaving you fearful of going to the bathroom, but there are things you can do to help ease your discomfort.

Your treatment options

Although you may feel like there’s no end in sight for the pain associated with this condition, there are actually many treatments available to you. They range from at-home care to surgical procedures to get rid of your hemorrhoids for good.

If you have a mild case of hemorrhoids and aren't quite ready to have surgery, there are plenty of home remedies that can help ease your discomfort. Some of these treatments include:

If your hemorrhoids are severe, Dr. Rifenbery may recommend surgery to get rid of the problem for good. Our office offers two types of hemorrhoid surgery: traditional surgery and stapled hemorrhoidopexy.

Traditional surgery removes three of the major vessels that are causing your pain. The downfall to this type of surgery is that it can cause a lot of discomfort and can take you several weeks to get back to normal.

With stapled hemorrhoidopexy, the hemorrhoids are removed by taking out a band of the anal mucosa that is prolapsed. This surgery has a lot of benefits over traditional surgery including less pain and returning to normal activities sooner. It’s usually done on an outpatient basis.

Dr. Rifenbery can discuss all of your treatment options at your appointment and help you decide which one is the best choice for you.

If you're ready to say goodbye to your hemorrhoids for good, contact our office in Tacoma, Washington, at 253-234-1586 or book an appointment online today.


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