As an LA proctologist who treats dozens of hemorrhoid patients every week, I spend a lot of time answering patient questions about the causes and risks of those annoying lumps. Most patients want to know how to prevent hemorrhoids from returning, but several also ask some version of this question: “What happens if I do nothing?”
The Risks of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids aren’t typically dangerous on their own. These swollen blood vessels may rupture and bleed, and they can hurt a tremendous amount. But until they advance to a severe state, the biggest risks associated with hemorrhoids are simply pain and messiness. (These are hardly trivial concerns, of course – the pain alone is enough to drive many otherwise tough people to my office every year.)
But actual health risks? There are just a few. Blood loss can be a real concern, especially for patients with chronic bleeding who are prone to anemia or dizziness. Hemorrhoids can also lead to more serious injuries, including something called an anal fissure, wherein weakened tissue around the anus actually tears. Some patients with very painful hemorrhoids also avoid using the toilet because of the pain, which can lead to complications of its own.
Like many health issues, hemorrhoids follow schedule that can worsen steadily over time, and eventually spread infectious agents into other cavities of the body. See a hemorrhoid specialist today to explore some of the best surgical and nonsurgical options before you reach this point.