Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum and anus. Walls of vessels stretch so much that the veins get irritated and bulge. It is also known as pile and can be of two types which is based on location: internal and external hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids may have a number of symptoms based on the type and the actual cause. It can also be painful and so unpleasant. Consequently, women are more likely to have hemorrhoids than men due to pregnancy. Nonetheless, they are preventable and easily treated.
CAUSES OF HEMORRHOIDS
The veins around the anus tend to stretch under pressure and may bulge or swell. The exact cause of hemorrhoids is not really known. It is known that an increased pressure in the lower rectum due to any of the following may cause it:
- Strained bowel movement
- Spending so much time sitting on the toilet seat
- Constant chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Anal sexual intercourse
- Eating a low-fiber diet
- Regular lifting of heavy object
TYPES AND SYMPTOMS OF HEMORRHOIDS
Internal hemorrhoids are situated inside the rectum, at a place where they can’t be seen or felt. They rarely cause discomfort because there are few pain-sensing nerves at the location. Symptoms of internal hemorrhoids include:
- Painless bleeding when defecating.
- A hemorrhoid that comes out through the anal opening (a prolapse) which can be gently pushed back into place
It is usually situated under the skin around the anus. This location is well supplied with nerve-endings; hence it comes with severe pain. Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include:
- Severe pain
- Itching around the anus
- Leakage of feaces
- Painful bowel movements
If the symptoms don’t go away within 5-7 days or there’s bleeding, consult your doctor.
Your doctor will ask about your past and present medical history and symptoms. They’ll probably need to do one or some of these examinations such as physical exam, digital rectal exam, anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.
Treatment of hemorrhoids
Home remedies and simple lifestyle changes can often provide relieve for mild symptoms within a week. Such as:
- Consume diets high in fiber such as fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- Take over-the counter dietary fiber supplements
- Exercise keeps your blood and your bowels moving. Do it daily.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements;
- Drink at least 6-8 cups of water to avoid constipation.
- Do warm sit baths for about 15-20 minutes at least 2-3 times a day to relieve burning or itching symptoms.
- Ice packs can ease pain and swelling.
- Topical ointments and analgesics: Over the counter (OTC) creams, ointments or suppositories which contain hydrocortisone are readily available in drugstores. They can alleviate swelling and itching.
Analgesics such as ibuprofen, and paracetamol may be used alleviate the pain.
- Nonsurgical treatment options such as rubber band ligation.
- Surgical treatments options such as hemorrhoidectomy. That is surgical removal of the total hemorrhoids.
Complications of hemorrhoids are rare but include:
- Anemia due to excessive bleeding
- Strangulated hemorrhoid which may cause severe pain.
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