Hemorrhoids are commonly known as piles which is nothing but lump in the rectal area. They are painful causing inflammation of veins present in the lower portion of the rectum. This condition is quite common during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth.
They are irritated when the walls of veins get stretched especially when you poop. Though hemorrhoids are painful and unpleasant but they are easily treatable and preventable. Rarely they are dangerous and generally clear up in few weeks but they are recurrent and painful. As a precautionary measure one should visit doctor to make sure it is not a serious condition. Hemorrhoids are one of the main reasons of rectal bleeding.
Piles can occur either inside the body called as internal hemorrhoids present in the anus or starting point of the rectum. Sometimes it is present externally at the anal opening or it might hang out of the anus.
There are two types of hemorrhoids
- Internal hemorrhoids
- External hemorrhoids
They lie far inside the rectum, not visible and one cannot feel them generally. Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless because presence of few pain sensing nerves there but the only symptom could be bleeding while passing the stool due to straining and irritation. Stool covers with blood and one can find blood on toilet paper, toilet bowl because of dripping of blood.
Other symptoms can be
- Mucous discharge
- Perianal mass
- Fecal incontinence
Sometimes straining pushes the internal hemorrhoids into the anal opening called as protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid which causes pain and irritation. They are painful when they are thrombosed or necrotic.
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They are present around anus which are painful and bleed because of presence of more pain sensing nerves there and they are visible. They are less problematic when not thrombosed but they are very painful if thrombosed. Usually pain resolve in few days but it takes few weeks for swelling to disappear; however anal skin tag may present after healing.
Blood clot can be formed in the external hemorrhoid and turn it into purple or blue known as thrombosis. It causes itching, inflammation, pain and bleeding, even when the clot gets dissolved, a skin tag may present and cause irritation and discomfort. They are known as thrombosed hemorrhoids.
Pictures of Hemorrhoids :
Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Hemorrhoids
The major cause for hemorrhoids is due to the strain while passing stool. Constipation, infection in the rectum and anus, straining bowel movements, sitting for long time and liver disease can cause hemorrhoids.
Exact causes are unknown but it is believed that numerous factors play a role in causing hemorrhoids. They are
- Irregular bowel moments
- Strain during bowels
- Prolonged sitting
- Pelvic floor dysfunction
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Anal intercourse
- Low fiber diet
Pressure from fetus on abdomen along with hormonal changes enlarges hemorrhoid vessels during pregnancy; symptoms resolve after the delivery, rarely it need treatment.
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Signs and Symptoms
The signs of hemorrhoids are itching anus, anal pain, and bloody discharge while passing stool, frequent pain during bowel movements, formation of lumps in and around anus. The doctor will confirm the illness after seeing the result of anoscopy.
Common symptoms include
- Painless bleeding
- Rarely anemia
- Mucous in stool
- Leaking feces
- Anal discomfort and soreness
Number of preventive measures can be taken to prevent hemorrhoids; however the best way to prevent is to make your stool soft. Follow the below measures to prevent and reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids.
- Avoid Straining While Defecation : While passing stool avoid straining and holding breath create huge stress on veins in the lower rectum.
- Avoid Constipation and Diarrhea : prevent constipation and diarrhea to stay healthy to reduce pressure on veins in the lower rectum.
- Regular Exercise : physical activity and regular exercise helps in losing weight and also aid in stool passage in bowels making stool passage easier.
- Fiber Rich Diet : Take food containing soluble fibers which form gel like goo with water making stool softer and passes easily without irritation.
Take vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Aim for 25-30 gm of fiber a day by taking ½ cup beans (7gm fiber) like kidney, black beans, Lima etc. along with 20 almonds and ½ cup edamame. Keep beans, lentils and nuts in your diet to fulfill the fiber needs.
Too much fiber causes bloating and gas, so gradually increase the fiber in your diet.
- Use Of Fiber Supplements : Citrucel and Metamucil are the over the counter fiber supplements which keep stool softer.
- Take Plenty Of Liquids : In order to stay hydrated take adequate liquids (except alcohol) which makes your stool soft. Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day along with other liquids.
- Losing Weight If Obese : Obesity raises the risk of hemorrhoids significantly.
- Avoid Heavy Lifting : It is advised to avoid heavy lifting to reduce strain on veins.
- Go To Toilet When Needed : Do not wait if need to go to toilet, the longer you wait the drier the stool becomes
- Anal Hygiene : Keep anal hygiene to prevent infection and other diseases.
Home Remedies For Hemorrhoids
Patients affected from pain, itching, and rectal bleeding due to Hemorrhoids can also use home remedies for immediate relief. There are several home-based options available for the treatment of Hemorrhoids. Few most-effective of them are mentioned below:
1. Aloe Vera – Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, pure aloe vera gel will be effective at treating Hemorrhoids. While using, you should be cautious in case you are allergic to aloe vera. To avoid any allergic reaction, first rub a pea-sized amount of aloe vera gel onto your forearm. Wait few hours and use further if no reaction occurs.
2. Coconut Oil – It is one of the most effective home-remedies for Hemorrhoids. Patients suffering from pain due to Hemorrhoids can apply coconut oil, a natural moisturizer, to reduce pain, irritation & swelling. It may also help in reducing the urge to scratch.
3. Apply Cold – Appling cold compress or ice packs on the anus will be the most effective home-based treatment for the patients of Hemorrhoids. One round of applying cold can provide relief from pain and swelling for up to 15 minutes. It is advised that never apply cold directly on the skin.
4. Take Oral Pain Killers – For instant relief, you can also use ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or aspirin (Advil, Motrin IB, others).
5. Sitz Bath – Soak anal area in warm water for 10-15 minutes for around two to three times a day to get relief.
For mild forms of hemorrhoids, you can buy over the counter topical creams for reducing pain. Ointments that contain lidocaine can reduce swelling and alleviate pain. For controlling itching, apply witch hazel and wear cotton loose fitting undergarments. Do not use strong perfumes or toilet tissue. Sitting in lukewarm water can provide great relief from pain. Medical treatment is given depending on the seriousness of the disease. Infrared coagulation is done to shrink the lumps present in the anus region. Surgery is done in case of severe bleeding and pain caused by hemorrhoids.
External Hemorrhoid Thrombectomy : To remove blood clot from the hemorrhoid, doctor will make simple incision and drain the blood clot to give instant relief. It is effective if done within 72 hours of blood clot formation.
Other minimal invasive procedures include :
- Rubber band ligation
- Sclerotherapy/ injection
- Coagulation (laser, bipolar or infrared)
Surgical methods include :
- Hemorrhoid removal
- Hemorrhoid stapling