What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins fed by arteries around the anus and in the anal canal. The cause is unknown though the most commonly associated condition is pregnancy. The symptoms caused by hemorrhoids will depend on whether the hemorrhoid is internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are swollen veins beneath the lining of the lower rectum and upper anal canal mucosa. Since the swollen veins are underneath this lining which has few nerve endings the most common symptoms are bleeding and/or tissue protruding, usually with bowel movements.
External hemorrhoids are inflamed veins beneath the skin of the anus. The skin extends up inside for less than one-half inch. The anal skin is extremely sensitive thus inflamed veins may cause pain, itching, swelling and occasionally bleeding. Occasionally external hemorrhoids will clot or thrombose. This causes sudden very intense pain which will often cause a person to seek medical attention.
Surgical Preparation Prior to Hemorrhoid Surgery
- Most patients are asked to take a fairly strong laxative such as magnesium citrate so as to have no bulky stool to have to pass immediately after hemorrhoid surgery.
- Antibiotics may or may not be recommended. Infection after surgical hemorrhoidectomy is extremely rare thankfully.
- Other preoperative preparation would include basic blood work and possibly EKG and chest x-ray.
Postoperative Care following Hemorrhoid Surgery
- Following hemorrhoid surgery it is very important not to become constipated. Often a regimen of Colace 100mg capsules with 2-3 capsules taken three times a day is employed plus Milk of Magnesia daily until their first bowel movement.
- A regular diet can normally be resumed the day after hemorrhoid surgery.
- It is important for post hemorrhoidectomy patients to contact their surgeon if they have not had a bowel movement within 72 hours following surgery, they develop worsening pain, are unable to void, or develop a fever as high as 101 degrees.