You may have heard your grandmother speak of “piles,” but the correct term for swollen veins in the lower anus and rectum is hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids form when pressure is exerted on the blood vessels causing them to swell, stretch, and become irritated. There are two types of hemorrhoids: external and internal.

External hemorrhoids are more easily self-diagnosed as they appear as bulges around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids are more common, in fact, they are quite common. Most people with internal hemorrhoids are not aware of them until the hemorrhoids become swollen to the point of causing recognizable symptoms.


Hemorrhoids are caused by internal pressure on the blood vessels. This pressure can come from a variety of sources: pregnancy, constipation, low fiber diet, prolonged sitting, obesity, lifting heavy objects, and chronic diarrhea.


External hemorrhoids are described as itchy, irritating, sometimes painful, and swollen. Internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, itching, leaking, and prolapse of the hemorrhoid to the point that it is visible from the outside. The symptoms of internal hemorrhoids can actually cause additional problems as the leaking mucus from the inflamed hemorrhoid can cause irritation and inflammation of the skin around the anus.


To help prevent hemorrhoids, it is best to drink plenty of water/fluids every day, eat a high fiber diet, and avoid straining during a bowel movement. Once hemorrhoids form, there are over-the-counter medications that can provide some relief in very mild cases. Left untreated, hemorrhoids can worsen overtime and should be diagnosed and treated by a gastroenterologist.

Carolina Digestive is proud to offer the CRH O’Regan System, which is more than 99% effective in treating hemorrhoids, and is covered by most insurance plans. Learn more about the CRH O’Regan System and make an appointment today.