Dr. Deirdre Hart, colon and rectal surgeon, discusses hemorrhoids.

What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are a normal part of people's anatomy. They're the blood vessels that drain the area around your anus and the end of your colon.

Why do people get hemorrhoids?

Things can cause them to get enlarged and cause you either pain or bleeding. After having babies, it's very common to get hemorrhoids. Pushing or straining to have bowel movements or to urinate or doing a lot of heavy lifting can cause your hemorrhoids to enlarge.

What are hemorrhoid treatment options

A lot of people can be treated medically for their hemorrhoids. Working on whatever caused them to be enlarged can help: fixing your constipation, helping decrease the pushing and straining you're doing, and increasing the fiber and water in your diet. If you need stool softeners or laxatives, there are medications we can use. If medical management doesn't work, there are several surgical options depending on if your hemorrhoids are internal or external and what kind of symptoms they're giving you.

What are surgical options for hemorrhoids?

If you're just having trouble with your internal hemorrhoids, which bleed but don't hurt, we can do things like putting on rubber bands in the office to choke off the blood supply and help them shrink. If you have a thrombosed external hemorrhoid or a blood clot, it is something we can often remove in the office to relieve your pain. It may be that you need a hemorrhoidectomy or you need the internal and external hemorrhoids removed surgically in the operating room.

What are hemorrhoidectomy surgery risks?

If we remove your hemorrhoids, they can come back if you continue to do whatever it was that caused you to get the hemorrhoids. All surgeries come with some risk like bleeding and infection, but we can talk about all that before the procedure.

What happens if hemorrhoids aren't removed?

For the most part, hemorrhoids aren't dangerous. They can hurt. They can bleed. They can be an annoyance. There are a few instances where they can be dangerous, but for the most part they're irritating.