Miscellaneous
Hemorrhoids

​​​​​​​​​Overview:

  • Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum. 
  • The type of hemorrhoids depends on where they develop. They can develop inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). 
  • Hemorrhoids occur when there is pressure on rectum and anus veins. 
  • The likelihood of developing hemorrhoids increases as a person ages.
  • Pain, swelling and mild hemorrhoids can often be treated with home remedies.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum. The type of hemorrhoids depends on where they develop. 
 
Types: 
  • Internal hemorrhoids: Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum. They rarely cause discomfort. But straining or irritation when passing stool can cause bleeding.  
  • External hemorrhoids: They are located around the anus, and can cause pain, itching, and sometimes, bleeding.  
  • Prolapsed hemorrhoids: A hemorrhoid that bulges outward from the anus is known as a prolapsed hemorrhoid. 
Causes:
Hemorrhoids occur when pressure increases in the veins of the rectum and anus due to: 
  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea; 
  • Constant lifting of heavy weights; 
  • Eating a low-fiber diet;
  • Sitting for prolonged periods on the toilet;
  • Weakness of the supportive tissues in the anus and rectum. 
Risk factors:
  • As you age, your risk of hemorrhoids increases. That's because the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch.  
  • This can also happen when you're pregnant, because the baby's weight puts pressure on the anal region.  
  • Being overweight, standing, or lifting heavy objects can also aggravate hemorrhoids. 
Symptoms: 
Symptoms depend on the type of hemorrhoids:
External hemorrhoids:
  • Itching or irritation in your anal region 
  • Swelling around your anus
  • Pain or discomfort in the anal region especially when sitting down 
Internal hemorrhoids: 
  • Rectal bleeding: Bright red blood can be seen in your stool  
  • Internal hemorrhoids bulging out of the anus and can cause pain and itching  
Prolapsed hemorrhoids:
Drooping veins from the anus can be seen, causing pain and discomfort. 
When to see a doctor? 
When you notice any of the following symptoms:
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Changes in bowel movement 
  • Changes in stool color
  • Symptoms continue for a week after treatment 
  • Swellings around the anus remain 
Complications: 
Sometimes complications occur as a result of hemorrhoid surgery, which include:
  • Severe bleeding
  • Inflammation 
  • Fecal incontinence; which causes you to lose voluntary control of bowel movements. This is rare, and can sometimes be corrected with another surgery.
  • Anal fistula, which is a small tunnel that develops between the inside of the anus and the surface of the skin near the anus.
Diagnosis: 
Hemorrhoids are diagnosed based on the patient’s medical history, alongside with a physical examination of the anus through which your doctor can spot external hemorrhoids. To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, your doctor may need to resort to an anoscope and a proctoscope. 
Treatment: 
Pain and inflammation can often be eased with over-the-counter treatments, including creams, ointments, and suppositories. Some home remedies can also help your hemorrhoids get better, including:
  • Taking a warm bath; 
  • Gently cleaning the anus after a bowel movement by patting it with wet toilet paper; 
  • Using ice bags to ease the swelling 
  • Using painkillers to help alleviate the pain 
  • Applying an anesthetic ointment with lidocaine to the area;  
Painful hemorrhoids usually get better on their own within 1-2 weeks. If treatments do not work, and the pain does not go away, see a doctor as you may need other treatments such as:
  • Injections (sclerotherapy): A chemical is injected into the hemorrhoid to numb the pain, stop any bleeding, and reduce the size of the hemorrhoids. 
  • Rubber band ligation: This procedure involves the doctor cutting off the circulation of the hemorrhoid by placing a rubber band around it. This causes loss of circulation to the hemorrhoid, forcing it to shrink. 
  • Thrombolytic therapy: Your doctor will use infrared rays or lasers to cause internal hemorrhoids to harden, shrink, and fall.  
There may be a need for a surgical procedure: 
  • Hemorrhoidectomy: In this procedure a surgeon removes the excess tissue that is causing the bleeding. 
Prevention: 
  • Eat foods rich in fiber and drink more fluids.
  • Avoid sitting for prolong periods on the toilet (avoid doing activities such as puzzles, reading, or playing games while you are on the toilet, because this tends to increase the amount of time you spend in there, and puts unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels in the anus). 
  • Avoid strenuous effort and lifting heavy weights. 
  • Exercise regularly.  
FAQ:
  • What foods should I avoid if I have hemorrhoids?
If your hemorrhoids are caused by chronic constipation, avoid foods that contain little or no fiber, such as:
  • Cheese
  • Potato chips
  • Fast food
  • Ice cream 
  • Meat 
  • Ready-to-eat foods (e.g. Frozen food and snacks) 
  • Processed foods (e.g. Sausage) 
Myths & Truths:
  • Hot pepper causes hemorrhoids. 
Truth: Eating hot pepper does not cause hemorrhoids; however, it may cause irritation in people who have anal fissures. 
  • Hemorrhoids can only be treated with surgery 
Truth: Pain, swelling, and mild hemorrhoids inflammation can often be treated with home remedies. If symptoms persist for more than a week, a visit to a doctor should be made. Your doctor may try a simple procedure to treat hemorrhoids before resorting to surgery.  
  • Only constipation can cause hemorrhoids, unlike diarrhea.  
Truth: Both chronic constipation and diarrhea are risk factors of hemorrhoids.    

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Last Update : 25 November 2020 02:59 PM
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