Digestive Diseases

NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital

Digestive Diseases


Hemorrhoids are a common medical problem. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. External hemorrhoids are the ones that cause pain; internal hemorrhoids are not easily seen, can be painless, but may cause rectal bleeding.

Hemorrhoids have many causes. Chronic constipation, a low fiber diet, excessive straining to have bowel movements, pregnancy, lack of exercise and age are risk factors for hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids cannot be seen on examination. Normally, a gastroenterologist will performs an anoscopy to determine whether or not a patient has internal hemorrhoids.

Treatment starts with a change of diet to increase fiber, and fluids so as to decrease hard stools and relieve constipation. Over the counter medications help with pain and inflammation. If these measures are not effective, a simple surgery to remove the hemorrhoids can be performed. It is important to know that if dietary changes are not made, even after surgery, hemorrhoids can recur, so it is very important to make these changes and to follow up with a physician on a regular basis.