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Hemorrhoids

Overview

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are enlargements of the veins in the lower rectum or around the anus that are extremely painful. Hemorrhoids are reported to affect approximately half of all adults by the age of 50, in the United States.

Rectum is the portion of your colon that is located at the bottom (large intestine). The tissues that hold arteries in place get swollen since the supporting vessels start stretching. As a result of the swelling, the walls of the vessels get thin, resulting in hemorrhoids bleeding. As the stretching and pressure continues, weak vessels begin to show signs of wear and tear.

They can appear on either the inside or outside of the body, depending on their location. External hemorrhoids are distinguished from internal hemorrhoids by the location as they either appear in the rectum, or develop outside of the anus.

External hemorrhoids are the most common and bothersome type of hemorrhoids. In addition to pain and itching, they are characterized by difficulty in sitting. Nevertheless, they can be treated if they are diagnosed early.

Causes

There are a range of factors that can be listed as Hemorrhoids causes. Our standing or sitting position puts pressure on rectal veins, making them bulge.

  • Straining during activities that press on the belly or lower parts of the body can lead to this condition, causing hemorrhoids bleeding over time.

     

  • Pregnancy is another factor. The growing uterus can push on the colon vein, increasing the chances of developing hemorrhoids.

     

  • Constipation is a common cause. Straining during bowel movements and consistent pressure on the anal area can lead to swollen rectal veins and, consequently, hemorrhoids.

     

  • Lifting heavy things or intense weightlifting can also contribute by putting too much pressure on the rectal area.

     

  • Genetics matter too. If your parents had hemorrhoids, you might be more likely to get them, although they are not contagious.

     

  • Certain lifestyles also play a role. People who lift heavy things often, are overweight, or deal with high stress may have a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Symptoms

In most cases, internal hemorrhoids symptoms do not include discomfort unless they prolapse. And since there are no specific internal hemorrhoids symptoms, most affected people are unaware that they even have them.

When experiencing internal hemorrhoids symptoms, you may notice blood on your toilet paper, in your stool, or in your toilet bowl.

Listed below are the external hemorrhoids symptoms:

  • Itching in or around the anus
  • There are hard lumps near the anus that are unpleasant or sensitive to the touch
  • Itching or soreness in the back that is exacerbated by sitting
  • Hemorrhoids bleeding is also a common occurrence

Experiencing prolapsed hemorrhoids can be a very uncomfortable and painful experience. They should not protrude outside of the anus, so gently press them back into the anus.

Diagnosis

In some cases, a visual examination of your anus may be sufficient for hemorrhoids diagnosis. It is possible that your primary care physician will perform another examination to check for any abnormalities within the anus to further confirm the diagnosis. This procedure is referred to as a digital rectal exam. Your primary care physician inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum of your genital area during this examination.

To rule out any potential problems, your primary care physician may recommend further tests such as an endoscopy, colonoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy, depending on your individual risk factors. Your physician uses a small camera to determine whether you have any abnormalities and examines the entire anus, the rectum, as well as the colon.

An anoscopy is a procedure that examines the inside of the anus, a colonoscopy is a procedure that examines the colon in its entirety, and sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that examines the last foot and a half (40 centimeters) of your colon, among other things.

When you go through one of these tests, a small fiber-optic camera is placed in a small tube and inserted into your rectum to gather information. Your primary care physician will be able to get a clear view of the inside of your rectum because of this procedure, which will allow them to examine hemorrhoids in detail as well.

Treatment

Symptoms can be alleviated with the hemorrhoids treatments listed below:

  • Topical creams and ointments containing hydrocortisone are available over-the-counter. Witch hazel or a numbing ingredient is also available in the form of pad applications for providing hemorrhoid relief.
  • Swelling can be reduced in the affected area with the use of ice packs.
  • A sitz bath filled with warm water is placed over the toilet. They may be of assistance in alleviating the burning and itching.
  • To avoid aggravating the problem, wet towelettes should be used instead of dry toilet paper.
  • Pain relievers can help to alleviate pain and discomfort in a variety of situations.
  • Rubber band ligation is the most commonly used nonsurgical hemorrhoid elimination treatment:
    It is possible to perform an outpatient procedure to treat internal hemorrhoids by placing an elastic band around the base of the hemorrhoid and cutting off the blood supply to the area. Either the hemorrhoid will shrink or it will rupture and fall out of the body.
  • Other options include the use of sclerotherapy, which is the injection of a solution into a hematoma that is internal in nature. The hemorrhoid’s blood supply is cut off because of the formation of a scar.
  • A hemorrhoidectomy is a surgical procedure that completely removes hemorrhoids.
  • Another option is stapling, which involves stapling a prolapsed hemorrhoid back into place with a surgical stapler.

When To See A Doctor

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you should see your primary care physician as soon as possible.

  • Discomfort in the abdomen
  • Constipation on a regular basis
  • Hemorrhoids bleeding and discomfort that are extremely uncomfortable


Hemorrhoids are painful and may cause complications at times, thus it is necessary to see your physician for early treatment.

Disclaimer

This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about Hemorrhoids or any other medical condition, please see a physician for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions. 

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