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Hemorrhoids in New Jersey

Hemorrhoids are a common and sometimes painful condition. The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of hemorroids. 

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the lower rectum. Hemorrhoids are rare in children and young adults but become common with advanced age. Hemorrhoids can remain inside the rectum or prolapse out the anus. In severe cases of prolapse the hemorrhoid remains out of the anus. In milder cases the hemorrhoid prolapses only with straining.  Mild cases are usually managed with lifestyle changes and resolve without the need for medication or intervention. More serious cases require medical attention for relief.

What are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

The signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids include:

  • Bleeding during or between bowel movements
  • Pain or itching in or near the anus
  • Swollen anal tissues
  • Fecal leakage or mucous discharge

Severe pain suggests possible complications of thrombosis or fissure formation.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

The factors that cause hemorrhoids to develop are not well understood. The development of hemorrhoids is associated with:

  • Advancing age
  • Chronic constipation
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic tumors
  • Prolonged sitting
  • Straining to produce bowel movement

Do I Need an Evaluation?

Hemorrhoids can be diagnosed visually. But other disorders must be excluded before attributing symptoms to hemorrhoids. Pain and itching at the anus can occur with infections and abscesses. Dr. Merlo recommends colonoscopy (LINK) in cases of rectal bleeding to be certain there are no other sources of bleeding such as ulcers, polyps or cancer. Colonoscopy is particularly important when there is associated anemia, changes in bowel habits and family history of bowel disorders such as polyps, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or colorectal cancer.

Treatment Options for Hemorrhoids

  • Conservative Methods: increase in dietary fiber and water, avoiding straining and heavy lifting are usually sufficient
  • Prescription Medications: topical creams and suppositories are available to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms
  • Procedures: when conservative methods are not sufficient, there are methods of coagulation and rubber banding offered as outpatient procedures

Surgical resection is rarely necessary. Ask Dr. Merlo what treatment is right for you.

If you are experiencing hemorrhoids, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville or Princeton New Jersey for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.