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Hemorrhoids - Key Points About The Painful Condition


Hemorrhoids are clumps of dilated (enlarged) blood vessels within the anus and lower rectum. The rectum is the very last part of the large intestine before it leads into the anus. The anus is the absolute end of the alimentary canal where feces leaves the body. Hemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain and discomfort in people. In this post, we will talk about where hemorrhoid pain comes from, what causes hemorrhoids, and the way they're diagnosed. Then you'll discover the varied treatments for hemorrhoids, alongside the pros and cons of every hemorrhoid treatment. Let's get started.

Hemorrhoids: All You Need To Know

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can swell as a result of vein enlargement which leads to their walls becoming stretched and irritated by the passing of stool. In general, Hemorrhoids are classified in two categories:

  • internal, originating within the rectum, and
  • external, originating within the anus.

Hemorrhoids, which are commonly referred to (especially in nonmedical parlance) as piles, have been a source of a lot of pain and embarrassment throughout history. The word comes from the Greek "haimorrhoides," meaning veins that are susceptible to discharging blood. If you've had a bout of hemorrhoid pain, you are not alone. It's estimated that more than seven out of 10 people will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. The legendary French ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte was also a patient of hemorrhoids, and the condition distracted him with severe pain during his fateful defeat at Waterloo.

What Are The Symptoms Enlarged Hemorrhoids?

Enlarged hemorrhoids are related to symptoms like

  • itching,
  • mucus discharge,
  • burning at the anus,
  • severe pain,
  • a sensation that the bowel isn't really empty, and
  • bleeding without pain.

Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids sit within the inside lining of the rectum and aren't obvious unless they're substantially enlarged, during which case they will be felt. Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless and become apparent because they cause rectal bleeding with movement.

Internal hemorrhoids also tend to prolapse or protrude outside the anus on some occasions. If so, patients can see or feel them as moist pads of skin that are pinker than the encompassing area. The anus is filled with nerve endings and is an area that is very susceptible to pain. The fallen hemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Such hemorrhoids usually go back into the rectum by themselves. If they do not, they will need to be gently pushed back to place.

External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are located underneath the skin that surrounds the anus, and are less painful than internal hemorrhoids. they will be felt once they swell, and should cause

  • itching,
  • pain, or
  • bleeding with every bowel movement.

If an external hemorrhoid prolapses to the surface (usually within the course of passing a stool), you'll see and feel it.

Blood clots sometimes form within this sort of fallen hemorrhoid, which may cause a particularly painful condition known as thrombosis. If a hemorrhoid becomes thrombosed, it can look rather frightening, turning purple or blue, and will possibly bleed.

Despite their appearance, thrombosed hemorrhoids usually aren't serious, though they will be very painful. They're going to resolve on their own in a matter of weeks. If the pain is unbearable, your doctor usually can remove the grume from the thrombosed hemorrhoid, which stops the pain.

Who Can Be Affected By Hemorrhoids?

Although most of the people think hemorrhoids are abnormal, almost everyone has them. Hemorrhoids help control bowel movements. Hemorrhoids cause problems and may be considered abnormal or a disease only the hemorrhoidal clumps of vessels enlarge.

Hemorrhoids occur in almost everyone, and an estimated 75% of individuals will experience enlarged hemorrhoids at some point. However only about 4% will go see a doctor due to hemorrhoid problems. Hemorrhoids that cause problems are found equally in both genders, and their prevalence peaks between the ages of 45 and 65.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are caused by swelling within the anal or rectal veins. This makes them vulnerable to irritation.

This swellings are often caused by several things, including

  • besity,
  • pregnancy,
  • standing or sitting for long periods,
  • straining very hard while trying to defecate,
  • chronic constipation or diarrhea,
  • eating a low-fiber diet,
  • coughing,
  • sneezing,
  • vomiting, and
  • holding your breath while straining during physical labor.

How Do Foods Influence Hemorrhoids?

Diet is believed to possess an enormous impact in causing—and preventing—hemorrhoids. People that consistently eat a high-fiber diet are less likely to suffer from hemorrhoids, while those people that prefer a diet high in processed foods face a significantly higher hemorrhoid risk.

A low-fiber diet can leave you constipated, which may contribute to hemorrhoids in two ways. For one, it promotes straining during defecation. It also leads to hard stools which will hurt the swollen and sensitive veins even more.

Painless Bleeding

The most common hemorrhoids symptom is painless bleeding. A hemorrhoid sufferer may notice bright red blood on the surface of the stools, stained on toilet paper, or dripping into the toilet seat.

The bleeding usually resolves itself without treatment. Nevertheless, rectal bleeding with a movement isn't normal and will prompt a visit to a healthcare professional. While hemorrhoids are the commonest explanation for bleeding with a movement, there could also be other reasons for bleeding, including the subsequent examples:

  • inflammatory bowel disease,
  • blood clotting problems,
  • fistulas and/or fissures (abnormal passages between a hollow organ and body surface)
  • infection, and
  • tumors.

Severe Hemorrhoids Vs. Mild Hemorrhoids: Stages

Many physicians use a grading system to categorize hemorrhoids along four stages:

  • First-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that bleed, but don't prolapse. These are slightly enlarged hemorrhoids, but they won't protrude outside the anus.
  • Second-degree hemorrhoids: These are the hemorrhoids that prolapse and retract by themselves (at times, accompanied by bleeding). These may begin in the anus during certain activities like passing stool, then return back inside the body.
  • Third-degree hemorrhoids: These are hemorrhoids that have prolapsed out of the anus and need to be pushed back manually.
  • Fourth-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that prolapse and can't be pushed back within the anal canal. These types of hemorrhoids can also be thrombosed (filled with blood clots) at times. They can also pull at the rectum lining through the anus.

Symptoms Of Prolapsed Internal Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids prolapse when their blood vessels swell and extend from their location within the rectum through the anus. In the anal canal, the hemorrhoid is exposed to the trauma of passing stool, particularly hard stools related to constipation. The trauma creates bleeding and seething pain in the anus during stool passage.

The presence of stool, inflammation, and constant moisture can lead to anal itchiness (pruritus ani), and occasionally the constant feeling of needing to have a bowel movement. The prolapsing hemorrhoids usually return into the anal canal or rectum on their own or are often pushed back inside with a finger, but falls out again with the next bowel movement.

Symptoms Of Thrombosed External Hemorrhoids

External hemorrhoids are often felt as bulges at the anus, but they typically cause few of the symptoms that are typical of internal hemorrhoids.

External hemorrhoids are quite problematic. Especially when they have blood clots inside them (called thrombosis). Thrombosis of such a hemorrhoid causes an anal lump that is

  • very painful,
  • tender, and
  • Often requires medical attention.

The thrombosed hemorrhoid may heal with scarring, and leave a tag of skin protruding within the anus. Occasionally, the tag is large, which may make anal hygiene (cleaning) difficult or irritate the anus. Even after such a hemorrhoid goes away, a residual skin tag may remain, and might require surgical removal.

How Long Do Hemorrhoids Take To Heal?

For many people, hemorrhoids last for very long. Ongoing pain is particularly common for people over age 50. For many people, hemorrhoidal pain returns years after treatment, and for several others the condition comes and goes, becoming more common over time.

Do Hemorrhoids Ever Go Away On Their Own?

Sometimes they do. Smaller hemorrhoids tend to go away in just a few days. It's a good idea during this time to avoid further irritating your rectal area by keeping the area as clean as you can.

How Can You Make Hemorrhoids Go Away?

Tougher cases of hemorrhoids may not go away on their own. After trying home remedies and over-the-counter options without success, you'll be better off asking your doctor about other treatment options.

How To Get Relief From Hemorrhoids: Diagnosis And Treatments

This is how most people discover that they have got hemorrhoids:

  • feeling the lump of an external hemorrhoid once they wipe themselves after a movement
  • noting drops of blood within the bowl or on the toilet paper, or
  • Noticing protruding hemorrhoids from the anus after bowel movement.

With a history of symptoms, a physician can begin diagnosis with the help of a careful examination of the anal area. Although the physician should try his or her best to spot the hemorrhoids, it's perhaps more important to exclude other causes of hemorrhoid-like symptoms that need different treatment such as

  • anal fissures,
  • fistulae,
  • bowel disorders like ulcerative colitis,
  • blood coagulation disorders,
  • perianal (around the anus) skin diseases,
  • infections, and
  • tumors.

Seeing A Doctor About Hemorrhoids

Many people are embarrassed to travel to their doctor about their hemorrhoid problems, which is perhaps why only an estimated 4% of individuals see the doctor albeit 75% of us experience enlarged hemorrhoids at some point in time. Despite the embarrassment, hemorrhoids should always be examined professionally. Getting a checkup will help your doctor recommend an efficient treatment, and can also help to rule out more serious causes for your symptoms. When you visit your doctor, you will probably be asked to describe your symptoms. The doctor will perform an examination to ascertain whether your anus is inflamed, and whether enlarged hemorrhoids are present.

The doctor will want to know if you have found blood in your stool, which may prompt a bowel endoscopy examination. The doctor will likely discover anything unusual through a digital rectal examination.

Remember that while this might be a little embarrassing and uncomfortable, hemorrhoid exams are usually painless. Also, your doctor is accustomed to caring for this sort of problem, which is very common.

If you seem to possess enlarged hemorrhoids, the doctor will probably recommend a proctoscopy. During a proctoscopy, a brief tube with light and a lens is going to be utilized to examine the membranes lining your rectum. This allows the doctor to observe the enlarged hemorrhoids and figure out their size. This procedure is usually painless.

Can Hemorrhoids Be A Sign Of Cancer?

Can hemorrhoids kill you? First of all, hemorrhoids haven't any relationship in the least to colorectal cancer; hemorrhoids themselves are rarely life-threatening. But they share a number of the symptoms of more serious diseases, including some rare anal cancers. That's why a doctor's diagnosis is so important.

How To Diagnose Internal Hemorrhoids?

The diagnosis of an internal hemorrhoid is straightforward if the hemorrhoid protrudes from the anus. Although a rectal examination with a gloved finger may uncover deep hemorrhoids, the rectal examination is more helpful in excluding rare cancers that begin within the anal canal and adjacent rectum.

A more thorough examination for internal hemorrhoids is completed visually using an anoscope, which is analogous to a proctoscope, but smaller. If there has been bleeding, the colon above the rectal area must be examined to exclude other important causes of bleeding aside from hemorrhoids like

  • colon cancer,
  • polyps, and
  • colitis.

This is applicable regardless of whether the hemorrhoids were discovered during anoscopy.

How To Diagnose External Hemorrhoids?

External hemorrhoids manifest themselves as bumps and/or dark areas surrounding the anus. If the lump feels very tender to the touch, it means that the hemorrhoid is thrombosed (has blood clots). Any lump must be carefully followed, however, and will not be assumed to be hemorrhoid since there are rare cancers of the anal area which might masquerade as hemorrhoids.

What Are Some Treatment Options For Hemorrhoids?

Enlarged hemorrhoids tend to get worse with time, so it's very important to treat them timely. A lot of measures can be used to treat hemorrhoids, including (but not limited to) diet, and over-the-counter medicine like

  • anti-inflammatory painkillers,
  • creams,
  • lotions,
  • gels,
  • pads, and
  • wipes,

and various treatment options are available, like

  • sclerotherapy,
  • rubber band ligation, and
  • surgery.

What Should I Eat If I Have Hemorrhoids?

An increased intake of fiber in the diet is great for people who have hemorrhoids, as it softens stools. Fiber is found in numerous foods, including

  • fresh and dried fruits,
  • vegetables,
  • whole grains, and
  • cereals.

In general, 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day is recommended, whereas the average diet contains less than 15 grams of fiber. Fiber supplements, like psyllium, methylcellulose, and calcium polycarbophil, also may be used to increase the intake of fiber. An intake of stool softeners and stool-bulking laxatives is also recommended. Nevertheless, the benefits of fiber, liquids, and stool softeners have not been well-tested with respect to hemorrhoidal control in scientific studies.

How To Prevent Hemorrhoids From Occurring?

The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to keep your stools soft so they are easy to pass and don't require straining. Eating a high-fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluids (six to eight glasses each day) can help you stay generally healthy and keep your stools soft, and may reduce constipation and the need to strain on the toilet, lowering your risk of developing new hemorrhoids.

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