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Understanding the Differences Between Internal and External Hemorrhoids and Best Treatment

Understanding the Differences Between Internal and External Hemorrhoids and Best Treatment

If you’ve ever felt burning or itching around your anus or noticed some light bleeding during a bowel movement, you likely have one or more hemorrhoids

A common complication, these tiny bulging veins occur because of too much time spent on the toilet, straining to produce a bowel movement, or childbirth. You can get them after a bout of constipation because of the extra time and effort you spend attempting to defecate. You can manage most hemorrhoids at home, but occasionally they need professional care. 

Here at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York, our gastroenterologists specialize in treating internal and external hemorrhoids using the latest evidence-based procedures. They also offer recommendations for home care for hemorrhoids. 

Can’t tell the difference between internal and external hemorrhoids or don’t know where to start with treatment? Here’s what you need to know.

Internal hemorrhoids vs. external hemorrhoids

Internal and external hemorrhoids have a lot in common. The main difference is their location: external hemorrhoids appear around your anus while internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum. While they share a few similar symptoms, some key differences can help you figure out which type you have.

If you feel discomfort, irritation, or itching around the anus, you probably have external hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids cause many symptoms, including bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.

You can’t see internal hemorrhoids. Surprisingly, these hemorrhoids rarely cause any discomfort. After using the restroom, however, you might see small spots of blood appear on the toilet paper or in the toilet. That is because your bowel movements aggravate internal hemorrhoids. 

Due to additional straining, it’s possible for internal hemorrhoids to protrude through your anus. That is called hemorrhoid prolapsing. When this happens, you might experience similar discomfort and irritation to external hemorrhoids. 

The best options for treatment

Managing hemorrhoids is often possible on your own with products you probably already have around the house. You can often shrink hemorrhoids with daily warm baths, over-the-counter suppositories, and creams. 

Internal and external hemorrhoids respond to similar options for professional treatment. Our team at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division provides hemorrhoid banding procedures using the CRH O'Regan System®, which is painless and effective. Typically, hemorrhoid banding and other professional procedures are reserved for internal hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoid surgery, called hemorrhoidectomy, is a bit more invasive than banding procedures. Our gastroenterologists might direct you to surgery if your internal hemorrhoids are large or if your external hemorrhoids are uncomfortable and don’t respond to nonsurgical care. 

Even if you’re fairly certain your rectal bleeding comes from hemorrhoids, it’s always best to visit our team to make sure. Rectal bleeding is a sign of many health conditions, some of which urgently need treatment. 

Finding a solution for your internal or external hemorrhoids is possible. To schedule an evaluation and treatment consultation, call Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division today. You can also reach out to our team online.

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