Sunday, January 15, 2006


Hemorrhoids are an enlargement of otherwise normal veins in the anal area. They are primarily caused by excessive pressure at the time of defecation and are more common with constipation or obesity. Occasionally, liver disease, such as cirrhosis, can be a contributing factor because of excessive pressure in the veins of the intestines. Hemorrhoids are more commonly found in middle age but can also occur in the elderly. Pain and bleeding from the anus usually occurs. Treatment consists of an increase of liquid intake to prevent the stool from getting too hard, the use of stool softeners, and warm baths to soothe the anal area. Creams and suppositories are generally used under a physician's supervision. Weight loss should be encouraged to help reduce straining. If hemorrhoids do not respond to medical treatment, various types of surgeries have proven effective.
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Complete Home Medical Guide. New York: Crown Publishers, 1985.


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