Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins: What’s the Difference?

Leg with varicose veins on the left, doctor showing an image of a rectumTwo conditions may come to mind when you think of painful, bulging veins:
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
While both conditions affect the veins, they affect different body parts and require different treatments.
Hemorrhoids and varicose veins are both caused by malfunctioning venous valves. When your veins don’t function properly, blood flows backward, resulting in enlarged, sometimes painful veins.
The good news is both conditions are common and treatable.

Signs & Causes of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum area. They can be internal, inside the rectum, or external under the skin around the anus.
Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include pain, swelling, itching, and bleeding.
External hemorrhoids cause discomfort. Straining or irritation when having a bowel movement can cause some bleeding.
Common causes of hemorrhoids include:
  • Pregnancy
  • Straining during a bowel movement
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Overweight
  • Eating a low fiber diet

Are Hemorrhoids and Varicose Veins the Same?

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins have the same root cause but different treatments.
Treatment for hemorrhoids:
  • over-the-counter creams
  • pads containing witch hazel or numbing agents.
  • regular soaking in a warm bath
  • taking oral pain relievers to control inflammation.
Treatment for varicose veins:

Can You Use Hemorrhoids Cream on Varicose Veins?

The ingredients used in hemorrhoid creams are ineffective in treating varicose veins. It is best to have your veins checked out by a vein specialist.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

See a doctor for hemorrhoids when:
  • you are experiencing blood in your stool or rectal bleeding
  • your hemorrhoids are painful and not healing
See a doctor for varicose veins when:
  • you have a sudden increase in pain
  • you experience calf swelling
  • you develop leg sores, throbbing, fever, red/discolored skin,
  • your leg feels warm to the touch

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our medical staff has years of experience helping people with their spider and varicose veins. We would love to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients. 

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.

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