Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and the lower rectum closely similar to the varicose veins that cause itching, pain, and rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids are also known as Piles.
Types and Symptoms
Hemorrhoids can develop inside or outside the rectum, usually depending on the swollen veins. There are three different types of Hemorrhoids present in the human body, and signs and symptoms typically depend on the type of Hemorrhoids:
In this type of Hemorrhoid, swollen veins are present directly below the skin around the anus. Some signs and symptoms of external hemorrhoids include:
- Rectal Bleeding
- Irritation and itching in the anal region
- Discomfort and pain
- Swelling around the anus
In this type of Hemorrhoid, swollen veins are present inside your rectum. Some signs and symptoms of internal hemorrhoids include:
- Straining and irritation while passing stool
- Painless bleeding during bowel movement
- Excretion of bright red blood in a small amount on your toilet tissues or in the toilet bowl.
- While pushing stools through the anal opening result in irritation or pain.
When the blood clots forms inside the hemorrhoidal veins, they obstruct the blood flow veins, which results in pain and swelling in anal tissues; this type of Hemorrhoid is known as Thrombosed Hemorrhoid: It presents the following signs and symptoms;
- A lump near your anus
- Severe pain
Causes of Hemorrhoids
The veins around the anus tend to be stretched due to excessive pressure, leading to veins swelling. The pressure increased in the lower rectum caused by:
- Eating a low fiber diet
- Straining during bowel movement
- Chronic diarrhea
- Having anal intercourse
- Heavy-lifting regularly
- Remain in the toilet for an extended period
When to visit a doctor:
Contact your doctor immediately, if you are suffering continuous bleeding from bowel movements or feel pain and itching while passing stool and it doesn’t improve even after a week of home care.
It is not that obvious that rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids, especially when you are facing bowel movement changes and color inconsistency. Many other diseases, such as anal cancer and colorectal rectal cancer, can also cause rectal bleeding. You are recommended to visit the doctor when you observe lightheadedness, dizziness, swelling, and inflammation around the rectal.
Your doctor will ask you about your medical history and other symptoms during diagnosis. For that, he will do one or both of the following exams;
- Physical exam: During a physical exam, your doctor will do a complete check-up of your anus and rectum to check the swelling, irritation, and lumps.
- Digital rectal exam: During a physical rectal exam, your doctor will put on the gloves, then apply lubrication and inserts fingers in your rectum to check the muscle tone, lumps, tenderness, and other issues related to Hemorrhoids
An anus examination is enough to diagnose hemorrhoids, but for confirmation, your doctor may also order different tests to check the abnormalities in the anus.
- Anoscopy: During anoscopy, the doctors will insert a small tube name an anoscope for the complete check-up of the anal canal.
- Sigmoidoscopy: During a sigmoidoscopy, the doctor uses a flexible light tube name sigmoidoscope to diagnose your lower colon. This tube can also be used to take little tissue for further testing.
- Colonoscopy: During the colonoscopy, a long flexible tube is inserted into your rectum, having a tiny camera over it that is used to check the abnormalities and changes in the large intestine or rectum.
Treatment of Hemorrhoids:
You can treat the hemorrhoids by the following methods:
- Pain relief: To reduce anal pain, sit in a warm tub of water for at least 10 minutes every day. This process is helpful to get relief from the pain caused by external hemorrhoids.
If the pain is intolerable, use an over-the-counter (OTC) medicated suppository to get relief from itching or burning sensation.
- Fiber supplements: If you are suffering from constipation, use OTC fiber supplements to get relief from it. Psyllium and methylcellulose also help to soften your stools.
- Home remedies and medication: OTC topical treatments such as hydrocortisone or hemorrhoid creams are used to get relief from itching caused by hemorrhoids. Witch hazel pads are also helpful to get relief from hemorrhoids.
Sitting in a sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes regularly is also helpful in getting relief from hemorrhoids. Practice good hygiene by cleaning your anus with warm water during the shower and after bath every day. Use toilet paper instead of soaps to avoid itching.
Other pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin are also helpful in getting relief from pain and discomfort from hemorrhoids.
- Surgical procedures: If the medication and other home remedies are not helpful in treating hemorrhoids, in this case, the doctor will order surgery. In the surgical procedure, doctors can use chemicals, infrared light, laser, and tiny rubber bands to give relief from hemorrhoids. If they are large and keep coming back, the doctor will remove them with a sharp tool named a scalpel.
Following are the factor that increases the risk of hemorrhoids;
- Heavy weight lifting
- Low fiber diet
- Anal sex
- Pushing during bowel movement
- Veins in your rectum and anus get stretched or weaken due to constipation
- Spending a lot of time in the toilet
It is rare to have other complications with hemorrhoids. But some of them are the following:
- Blood clot: A blood clot will be formed in hemorrhoids in rare cases; though these clots are not dangerous, they are extremely painful and need to be lanced or drained sometimes.
- Anemia: Due to hemorrhoids, you may feel a lot of blood loss, resulting in anemia. The patient doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen in this disease.
- Strangulated Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids get strangulated when the internal Hemorrhoids’ blood supply is cut off, resulting in extreme rectum pain.
One of the best ways to prevent Hemorrhoids is to keep the stools soft so that they can easily pass through the anus. Some tips to avoid or reduce Hemorrhoids are given below:
- Eating a high fiber diet: Using more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains results in stool softening. A high fiber diet increases the bulk of stools that helps to avoid straining caused by Slowly add fiber to your diet to prevent gas.
- Use Fiber supplements: Your diet’s required amount of fiber is 20 to 30 grams per day. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet, which results in hemorrhoids and many other health-related issues. Many other fiber supplements, such as methylcellulose or psyllium, are helpful to get relief from bleeding and other symptoms caused due to hemorrhoids. While using fiber supplements, drink more than eight glasses of water per day; otherwise, these supplements can also cause constipation.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Drink more than eight glasses of water and other fresh juice to keep the stools soft.
- Don’t strain: Holding breath and straining to create a lot of pressure in your lower rectum and veins while passing stools.
- Exercise: Increasing your physical activity and staying active avoid constipation, decrease pressure on veins, and helps prevent hemorrhoids. Doing regular exercise also helps you lose weight to avoid hemorrhoids.
- Avoid prolonged sitting periods: Sitting for a long time, especially on the toilet, increases pressure on your veins, resulting in hemorrhoids. Avoid sitting in the toilet for a long time to prevent hemorrhoids.
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