Internal and External Hemorrhoids: Differences in Symptoms and Treatment

Did you know that there are different types of hemorrhoids? In actuality, everyone has hemorrhoids, and it is healthy to have them. Hemorrhoid disease happens when those hemorrhoids become inflamed. The blood vessels are under pressure causing them to distend. This is what is referred to as hemorrhoids by most people. Hemorrhoids can further be divided into internal and external hemorrhoids. Here’s what you need to know.

Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids are located above the dentate line, which is the line distinguishing between the top two thirds and lower third of the anal canal. Internal hemorrhoids are in the top two thirds of the anal canal. This area of the anal canal does not have nerve endings, and therefore they are not painful. Internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding with bowel movements, however, and you may notice blood on the tissue when you wipe.

Internal hemorrhoids are often treated with hemorrhoid energy therapy, or HET. HET allows the doctor to direct energy into the hemorrhoid to decrease the size of the veins and relieve the pressure that is causing the hemorrhoid to be inflamed. 

External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are those that occur in the lower third of the anal canal. This area of the anal canal is full of nerve endings, so these are the hemorrhoids that cause pain and discomfort. External hemorrhoids can be seen by the naked eye and occur in the skin around and inside the lower third of the anus. External hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, constipation, and pain.

Treatments for external hemorrhoids vary greatly. Over-the-counter remedies such as steroid creams can help. If these treatments do not relieve symptoms within one week, you should see a doctor for additional treatment. External hemorrhoids can be treated with excision, rubber band ligation, or HET. Surgery is rarely needed for treatment of hemorrhoids, but can be an option in severe cases.

If you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids that have not improved with home remedies, it is time to seek out a professional. Contact us for more information or to schedule your initial appointment.

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