Hemorrhoids also known as Piles, occurs due to poor diet, lifting of heavy object, pregnancy, recurrent sessions of constipation, difficulty passing stool and diarrhea caused when there is much pressure on the rectal and pelvic veins. Hemorrhoids are inflammation that contain enlarged blood vessels mostly found inside or outside near the anus or rectum.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoid include; swelling, itching and a burning sensation most times which is very uncomfortable and troubling, painful bowel movement, mucus discharge during bowel movement, blood clot in the pile and bleeding through the anus.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Hemorrhoids
There are a lot of commercials on TV about hemorrhoids but these are mainly about medicines and treatment. They do not really explain what hemorrhoids are and how to prevent them.
It is important to know what ails you before you even try to treat yourself, so the best thing that you can do is to actually see a doctor and have yourself checked. A professional diagnosis will not only tell you exactly what you have but the doctor will also give you a prescription for what medication to take.
Although hemorrhoids are usually easy to treat and even easier to prevent, it is always a good idea to be sure that it is the actual problem before you go out and try to self medicate. Your doctor will need to visually examine your anus to give you a diagnosis. He will also ask you about your diet, lifestyle and possibly even your family history.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the anus or the rectum. These veins are located just at the end point of the rectum. When these swell up, the person will feel discomfort especially during bowel movement.
Some medical professionals call this affliction (the swelling of the hemorrhoidal veins) as piles. This is mainly because the veins take on the form of cushions or puffy piles of soft skin.
So basically, the term hemorrhoids refer actually to blood vessels in the rectum while he word piles refer to them when they are swollen. They seem interchangeable but piles is a more accurate description of the ailment. There are two kinds of hemorrhoids, internal and external.
Swollen blood vessels that are inside the rectum (internal) hurt far less, if they even hurt at all, than those found outside. In most cases, they do not hurt at all because pain sensitive veins are not found in this area.
If you have internal swollen veins, you might be surprised to find that there is something protruding from your rectum; these are enlarged hemorrhoids that have prolapsed and have been pushed outside with bowel movement.
Most of the time, these protrusions will go back inside on their own while sometimes they will have to be gently pushed back in.
External hemorrhoids are the ones that usually hurt because the sphincter (the opening that controls passing of bowel movement) is quite sensitive to pain. These swollen blood vessels often bleed and may be purplish or bluish in color.
Bowel movement is often accompanied with extreme discomfort or pain and you will usually see some blood on the tissue.
Although both kinds are not life-threatening, you should have yourself checked just to be sure. The most common is the external kind although a lot of individuals also have the internal one. You might be right in suspecting you have hemorrhoids if you experience some or all of the following symptoms:
Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
- A very itchy anus, usually around the opening
- Discomfort around the anus, especially while seated
- Discomfort during bowel movement
- Signs of blood on tissue after bowel movement
- Fecal leakage
What Causes Hemorrhoids
Although doctors have not found the exact cause of this condition, some possible factors are common in those with hemorrhoids. These include, but are not limited to:
- Straining during bowel movement
- Repeated straining during work (such as lifting, pushing etc.)
- Chronic constipation
- Sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time
How To Prevent Hemorrhoids
If you have already experience having enlarged or swollen hemorrhoids, you will want to know how to prevent it from happening again. One way to prevent piles is to make sure that your diet if made up of lots of fiber. Fiber helps to ease bowel movement for an easier evacuation.
Not only will fiber in the diet prevent swelling of the veins but it can also reduce the pain and discomfort that you feel when you move your bowels while experiencing hemorrhoids. Some examples of sources of fiber include oatmeal, pears, carrots, wheat and brown rice.
Another way to reduce the chances of getting hemorrhoids is to increase your water intake. We often overlook the importance of drinking the right amount of water daily. Less water intake can increase the risk of constipation and straining while seated in the toilet. This will lessen the possibility of swollen veins in the area of the anus.
Another possible way of preventing piles is to lessen your time on the toilet seat. Some individuals enjoy sitting on the toilet and taking their time, reading or browsing on the internet. This can actually contribute to swelling and straining even if you think taking your time will not.
Having hemorrhoids is not a life-threatening condition but it can affect your daily life and lifestyle. It is always a good idea to eat properly and to know what contributes to a good diet. If you suspect you have piles, consult your doctor and have a proper checkup. It is not a good idea to self medicate because you may not have hemorrhoids and you might exacerbate the situation.
Treating Hemorrhoids (Treatments For Hemorrhoids)
Treating the swollen blood vessels is mainly about easing the pain and discomfort that you might feel. Most of the time, when you make an effort, the swelling just as suddenly as it appeared.
The constant recurrence of hemorrhoids might be a cause of concern and you should consult your doctor about how to manage it. A prescribed ointment or cream can ease the intense itching that often comes with the pain and swelling around the anus.
To prevent intense pain and discomfort during bowel movement, you might want to take in more fluids and fiber through your diet for less constipation.
If you are experiencing swelling in the hemorrhoidal veins way too often, your doctor might recommend a medical procedure to correct this. The procedure is called a rubber band ligation and it entails cutting off blood circulation to the enlarged blood vessels causing these to shrink.
Another procedure is to inject a solution directly into the veins and this will help to shrink the enlarged blood vessels. These procedures are usually reserved for individuals who suffer from chronic piles and extreme discomfort. Doctors will only recommend these if there are no other options.
How To Get Rid Of Hemorrhoids
1. During bowel movement avoid straining: One main cause of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movement which is related to constipation. You can use Colace if experiencing difficulty passing stool, this acts as a stool softener.
2. Have a sitz bath: It is a very effective method for getting rid of hemorrhoid pain. This can be done by soaking yourself in a warm bath, this will help ease the pain and inflammation. You can get a sitz bath chair at a pharmacy which fits your toilet seat or fill your bathtub with warm water, add Epsom salt and sit in tub for about 15 minutes after bowel movement, then clean affected area with clean tissue. This will help reduce the itchy feeling after bowel movement.
3. Warm Compress: Get a clean wash towel, soak in lukewarm water and apply compress directly on the hemorrhoids for about ten to fifteen minutes. Repeat four to five times daily, this will help ease discomfort.
4. Cream or Ointment: Go to a nearby pharmacy and get an ointment or cream to stop the itching and relief pain. Creams that have hydrocortisone or lidocaine as an active ingredient are very effective at getting rid of the itching. Apply a bit of the cream on your anus to test if the cream is fit for you to use or not.
5. Using an astringent: After bowel movement, soak a cotton pad astringent such as witch hazel and apply directly on the affected area to help reduce inflammation. Repeat this as often as possible at least four to five times daily.
6. Clean up properly: Make sure you clean up properly after a bowel movement to avoid irritation around your anus or rectum. It’s best to use a pre- moistened tissue paper or baby wipes instead of using a dry tissue paper to clean up.
7. Ice Pack: To help reduce swelling when you have a pile, you can apply an ice pack on the swelling but make sure you do not leave for too long, you can leave the ice pack for about 5-10 minutes whenever you use it.
8. Be attentive to nature’s call: Once you feel the urge to pass a stool, use the toilet immediately but don’t sit and wait for long as sitting is also related to increasing risk of hemorrhoids.
9. Cushion therapy: Get a foam-covered cushion to sit on, this will help ease the pressure related with hemorrhoids. This is not a cure for hemorrhoids, but it provides great relieve for your pain.
10. Over-the-counter pain relieving medications: When experiencing painful hemorrhoid, pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen can be used to ease pain inflicted by hemorrhoids
11. Eat lots of fiber in your food: Fiber aids water retention in your stool and bulks it up. This helps soften stool, thereby passing stool through your anus or rectum with lot of ease and less pain. Best way to feed on lots of fiber is by introducing lots of vegetables and fruits to your diet. Examples of food that are god source of fiber are;
- Whole grains such as barley, rye, corn, oatmeal, bulgur wheat, brown rice and buckwheat
- Vegetables such as spinach, lettuces, collard greens, beet greens and Swiss chard
- Legumes and beans, for some people eating a beans and legumes helps increase intestinal gas production.
- Fruits with rinds.
You can also try a fiber supplement such as Metamucil or Citrucel or add one to two teaspoonful of grounded flaxseeds to your cereal, smoothie or shake.
12. Increase your water intake: Drink lots of water 8-10 glasses of water daily to work with fiber. Stool contains certain amount of water, the more water stool contains will soften the stool and make it pass easily.
13. Avoid using laxatives: Laxatives can be addictive and it can also make the bowels really weak, thereby leading to a chronic constipation. Try an herbal laxative such as psyllium or senna. Senna is a gentle or natural stool softener, and can be used as a tablet or in form of a tea. Another alternative is using a psyllium fiber a natural bulking agent found in metamucil.
14. Medical intervention
Non-surgical therapies: If hemorrhoids persist for more than a week after trying all home remedies. You can seek medical attention on possible ways to get rid of hemorrhoids without surgery. Most common non-surgical methods includes;
- Injecting a fluid to shrink hemorrhoid. This is effective most especially if bleeding from hemorrhoid is small.
- Burning the hemorrhoid (Cauterization)
- Rubber band litigation: Using a rubber band place it at the base of the pile, which deprives it supply of blood. Sooner or later hemorrhoid will get dried and fall off. This technique has a high success record for treating hemorrhoid.
- Using a surgical staple: Place surgical staple at the base of hemorrhoid to help stop flow of blood to hemorrhoid. This procedure is referred to as hemorrhoid stapling.
15. Hemorrhoidectomy: This is a surgical procedure which involves hemorrhoid and surrounding blood vessels being removed by your doctor. Once this is done you can resume daily activity within a short period. After undergoing this surgical procedure, make sure you use a stool softener to avoid injury or relapse when you pass a stool.
Other useful tips
- Get plenty exercise. Movement from a simple walk can help pass food effectively through your digestive system and make bowel movements comfortable. On the other hand, avoid heavy weight lifting that can strain your anal and rectal veins.
- Hemorrhoids are very common with women especially during pregnancy and after delivery. Do not take any drug without doctor’s prescription. At times lying on your left side will tend to ease pressure on veins that lead to your anus or rectum and this will reduce hemorrhoid symptoms.
- Avoid anal intercourse when you have hemorrhoid. This act will not only irritate your hemorrhoids but bleeding hemorrhoid can easily spread blood-borne disease.
- Some people are very sensitive to analgesic or astringents present in hemorrhoid cream or ointment, so be extremely careful when using these creams or ointments.