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- What are Hemorrhoids?
- Diagnosing Hemorrhoids
- What Causes Hemorrhoids?
- Help and treatment for Hemorrhoids
- More Information on Hemorrhoids
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a condition in which the veins and tissues around the lower rectum and anus become swollen and inflamed.
When there is pressure on the walls of the rectum, the muscles that support the hemorrhoidal vessels are weakened. These vessels become enlarged and lose their support.
The result is a sac-like protrusion of dilated veins inside the rectal canal called internal hemorrhoids, or under the skin around the anus called external hemorrhoids.
Types of Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids are located high up in the anal canal and are not visible. The most common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is bleeding.
If internal hemorrhoids push through the anal opening while straining during a bowel movement, this is called a prolapsed hemorrhoid. It is painful and often difficult to push back into the rectum.
External hemorrhoids occur outside the anus and are visible. They are enlarged veins covered by skin and are blue in appearance. They are often not accompanied by symptoms.
However, when they are inflamed, they become red, tender, and can bleed. Blood clots can sometimes form inside an external hemorrhoid.
When this happens, it is called a thrombosed external hemorrhoid. This type of hemorrhoid is a firm, tender mass in the anal area, usually as small as a pea, and causes severe pain.
The diagnosis of hemorrhoids is based on a rectal examination. To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, the doctor will insert an anoscope – a thin, lighted tube to view the lower rectum. A proctoscope is used to examine the entire rectum.
In addition, a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy may be performed to examine the inside of the colon and rule out any other causes of gastrointestinal bleeding.
What are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
The symptoms and signs of hemorrhoids include:
- Blood covering the stool or on toilet paper after wiping
- Incomplete bowel movements
- Excessive straining or constipation
- Painful swelling or hard lump around the anus
- Rectal itching
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids may occur at any time in men and women but generally become more common with advancing age, during pregnancy, and in women who have had children.
Causes of hemorrhoids include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Constipation and straining during bowel movements
- Prolonged sitting
- Pressure and strain due to standing for long periods
- Lifting objects that are too heavy
Maintaining an active lifestyle, combined with a high-fiber diet, is essential components to prevent hemorrhoids.
Help and treatment for Hemorrhoids
The treatment of hemorrhoids is aimed at relieving and reducing symptoms.
There are many natural hemorrhoids self-care measures that can help to alleviate and serve as effective, gentle hemorrhoids treatments and provide hemorrhoids relief.
- Bathe in a warm tub of plain water for about ten minutes to soothe and ease the spain and discomfort
- Use ice packs to help reduce swelling
- Apply petroleum jelly, cortisone creams, hemorrhoidal cream or suppositories to the affected area for a limited period to relieve the itch and pain
- Increase your intake of fiber such as fruit, whole grains and vegetables into your diet
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of water daily for softer, bulkier stools
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing to avoid irritation and discomfort
- After bowel movements, clean the anus area gently by patting with moist toilet paper, pads or even ‘baby wipes’
Your doctor may prescribe acetaminophen or aspirin to relieve pain. Bulk stool softeners or fiber supplements are also recommended to soften stools. In more severe cases, hemorrhoids treatments may include endoscopically or surgically to destroy the hemorrhoid tissue.
More Information on Hemorrhoids
Surgical Procedures for Hemorrhoids
There are procedures to remove hemorrhoids, such as laser treatment or use of a harmonic scalpel. Hemorrhoids treatments for internal and external tissues includes procedures such as rubber band ligation, injection sclerotherapy, infrared photocoagulation, photocoagulation or ectomy may be performed. If a thrombosed external hemorrhoid develops, drainage of the hemorrhoid or a ectomy is recommended.