If you experience a host of digestive ailments that even your primary care doctor can't treat or diagnose successfully, you might have an internal hemangioma growing on one of your organs. Although hemangiomas are generally benign in nature, growths that grow on the liver or intestines may cause digestive problems for some adults. Learn more about internal hemangiomas, including how and why they form below.
What Are Internal Hemangiomas?
When capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in your body, grow at an abnormal rate, they clump together to form small noncancerous lumps called hemangiomas. Most hemangiomas form on the skin of infants and children, but some adults may get growths on their internal organs when they take hormonal drugs. Internal injuries to the abdominal region may also trigger the growth of hemangiomas. Oral contraceptives may make some growths increase in size.
Although most adult hemangiomas don't cause problems, some growths can. Hemangiomas that cause problems for people usually grow large enough to affect an organ's functions, size, and appearance. The mass of blood vessels may cause swelling in the affected tissue, or it may trigger other symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Some people may experience a loss of appetite if the growth appears on the intestines, liver, or stomach.
Other than the symptoms mentioned above, you may not be able to tell if you have a hemangioma in your body. The best way to properly diagnose hemangiomas is to visit a specialist.
How Do You Diagnose and Treat an Internal Hemangioma?
A specialist, such as an internist or radiologist, can view the inside of your body with X-rays and computer-generated scans. Some doctors use magnetic resonance scanning equipment to view your intestines, liver, and other internal organs. Each type of scanning equipment or method can reveal the location, size, depth, and severity of an internal hemangioma.
The treatment you receive for your condition may depend on the organ that contains the hemangioma. For instance, if you have clumps of capillaries on the surface of your liver (hepatic hemangioma), a doctor may try to treat the growth by starving it. By starving a hemangioma, it won't receive enough blood and oxygen to continue growing. Medication therapy may also be a useful treatment for patients with hepatic tumors.
If you have growths inside your digestive system, such as on your large colon, a physician may excise (remove) the growths with traditional surgery or with medication. Laser surgery may not work well for internal hemangiomas. A doctor will determine the best surgical treatment for you after they examine you.
Until you receive medical treatment for your hemangioma, you may be some things you can do at home to minimize your symptoms. For instance, if you experience nausea or vomiting regularly, try eating light or cool items during the day. Your system may not digest heavier meals properly at this time.
If a doctor tells you to drink as many clear fluids as you can during the day, try to do so. Keeping your body and affected organ hydrated may help reduce your symptoms. A specialist may be able to provide you with a list of things to consume and drink to meet your dietary needs. If you become exceptionally thirsty or lose a significant amount of weight after following a good dietary plan, speak to a specialist immediately. You may need to undergo additional diagnostic exams to learn more about your symptoms.
If you're concerned about your various symptoms and need clarification about them, contact a specialist today. A specialist can provide additional information about internal hemangiomas to you during your appointment.