Haemorrhoids are painful, itching and sometimes bleeding anal veins. They can occur inside and outside the anus and often resolve on their own, without treatment. However, some cases of haemorrhoids will swell painfully and will require treatment to remove the haemorrhoid or to fight infection. For haemorrhoids that do not self-resolve, treatment with antibiotics may help fight infection and reduce inflammation, allowing the tissue time to heal.
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Haemorrhoids can be cause by ageing, obesity, pregnancy, straining during bowel movements, anal intercourse, sitting on the toilet for long periods of time and chronic diarrhoea or constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic, a tendency to develop haemorrhoids can be inherited.
According to the website Hemorrhoid.net, haemorrhoids affect up to 89 per cent of all Americans at some time in their lives. They tend to get worse with age and are most commonly found in people over 40.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of haemorrhoids include pain, itching, swelling and bleeding in the area of the anus, as well as leakage of faeces. Internal haemorrhoids often cause bloody stool but no other symptoms.
Treatment of haemorrhoids with over-the-counter creams that shrink blood vessels and reduce swelling is often enough for the haemorrhoid to heal within a few days. Sometimes, antibiotic creams may be effective treatments. In some cases, this will not be enough to promote healing. According to internist Dr. Gabe Mirkin, persistent haemorrhoids are usually infected with bacteria and can be treated with a course of antibiotics. Even with surgery to remove the haemorrhoid, it will often return. Treatment with antibiotics will eradicate the infection and allow the tissue to heal without surgery.
Many doctors will only prescribe antibiotics as a last resort, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While topical antibiotic creams may be effective for treating haemorrhoids and do not increase the chances of antibiotic resistance, oral antibiotics should be used sparingly because they carry significant risk. Taking antibiotics when they are not expressly needed increases your susceptibility to more dangerous, treatment-resistant bacterial strains. This can pose a significant threat to people with recurring haemorrhoid infections who require multiple courses of antibiotics. For these people, surgery is recommended over antibiotics, according to the CDC.
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