Hemorrhoids: Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis
Study shows that 75% of adults will experience hemorrhoids occasionally. So, there are about 3 out of 4 adults who get subjected to this disease from time to time.
There are various causes of hemorrhoids, but unknown in most cases. Fortunately, effective treatment options are available, and the study further shows that many people get relief over a few remedies and changes in lifestyle.
Perhaps, you might want to know what exactly are hemorrhoids and the different effective treatment options. Set your mind at rest, as you will know everything in this article.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids, often referred to as piles is a disease caused by swollen veins in the body’s lower rectum and anus. This condition happens when irritation occurs due to stretched vessels walls in the area mentioned above. They can be painful and uncomfortable. However, they can be prevented and easily treated.
Nevertheless, hemorrhoids can get worse in a span when untreated. For this reason, doctors highly suggest that immediate treatment is best right at the moment they appear.
Below are a few relevant facts on hemorrhoids for your further reference.
It is more likely that women will get to have hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
As a person ages, the chances are high for hemorrhoids to happen.
Enlargement of the veins that surround the anus caused by irritation is when hemorrhoids occur.
Often, treatments for hemorrhoids can include medicines and surgeries.
After knowing what hemorrhoids are, and how they can occur, it is now best to know the symptoms for urgent care. Learning the signs or indications is the most effective way to the first step of treating piles.
So, here are the predominant manifestations that you might have hemorrhoids:
- Unexplainable and persistent irritation or itchiness occur in the anal area
- Soreness, pain, and discomfort in the same area
- Painless bleeding
- Lumps or swelling in the lower rectum and anus
- Dripping stools
The symptoms may come off as disturbing and unpleasant. Nonetheless, they are usually not something to raise serious concerns.
In some cases, the causes of hemorrhoids may not be known or unclear. However, one thing’s for sure the enlargement of veins surrounding the lower rectum and anal area cause piles, and below is a list of some of the usual conditions or reasons that can lead to having hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids usually occur as a person ages. It is most common among individuals whose age ranges from 45 to 65 years old. Nevertheless, children and young people can still get them.
The veins around the wall of the anal area are sensitive, and thus, it can cause new hemorrhoids to occur and aggravate the existing piles.
Speaking of the sensitivity of the veins in the anus and lower rectum area, forcing to remove wastes can take a toll as you are placing additional pressure.
Hemorrhoids can happen after several cases of chronic diarrhea.
Piles can also be hereditary, as some people may get the tendencies of developing hemorrhoids from such genes.
Lifting heavy objects in a repeated manner can also lead to having hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are more common in pregnant women, and this is because the veins in the colon get pressed, as the woman’s uterus enlarges during pregnancy, causing it to bulge.
Sitting for too long
The more and longer you stay seated, the higher the chances that you will get hemorrhoids.
Once you experience the symptoms listed above, it is always best to contact your doctor. Some of the indicators or signs may be caused by underlying serious medical conditions.
Anal or colon cancers can also cause your rectal to bleed. Your attending physician or doctor can execute a thorough physical examination and conduct other necessary tests to determine what is the cause of the bleeding or other symptoms.
Normally, the tests can include a digital rectal exam, which is a manual inspection performed by your licensed doctor. When the symptoms come with the feeling of too faint or lightheadedness and heavy bleeding, a person should seek immediate care.
Examinations for Diagnosis
The examinations performed by any certified physicians for the referenced symptoms include the following enumerated list below. The test results will provide an accurate diagnosis for corresponding patients.
Digital Examination (Rectal Exam)
This test involves a manual check executed by the doctor to feel for anything unusual growths or others. The doctor will use a glove with a lubricated finger, as mentioned above.
Due to the softness of internal hemorrhoids, a rectal or digital examination may be difficult to execute and produce the diagnosis. In such cases, the doctor may use the following medical instruments to inspect the lower part of the colon and rectum:
Nonetheless, there is a possibility that the doctor may need to examine the whole colon area with the use of the colonoscopy procedure in the cases listed below.
The symptoms may suggest another disease in the digestive system.
The risk of getting colon or colorectal cancer is high.
When you are a middle-aged person whose age is from 45 to 65 years old and didn’t undergo colonoscopy recently.
External or Internal Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids come in two types. These are:
As its name suggests, this is the type of hemorrhoids or piles found deep inside the rectal area. Hence, these hemorrhoids are not visible from the outside. They are usually not painful, and their first symptom is rectal bleeding.
Straining like forcing your body wastes out often leads to internal hemorrhoids and causes protrusion. This hemorrhoid, which can be painful, is referred to as prolapsed.
These are the hemorrhoids or piles that are visible as they are under the skin surrounding the anus. Unlike the internal type, this type is more painful because the nerves in this part are more sensitive. So, forcing a stool to pass may cause them to bleed.
What Are The Treatments?
There are 4 popular treatments for hemorrhoids, and they are listed below.
1. Home Treatment
The inflammation, swelling, and pain of having hemorrhoids can easily be treated with basic home remedies, such as a warm bath, numbing agents, topical creams, pain relievers, and healthy food intake.
The doctor will prescribe over-the-counter medications, such as suppositories, pads, ointments, or creams. It is also advisable not to use over-the-counter steroids for over a week unless your doctor told you to do so because these medications can thin your skin.
3. Invasive Procedures
The licensed physician may recommend a minimally invasive procedure for hemorrhoids that are persistently bleeding or painful.
Minimally invasive treatments include the following procedures:
- Coagulation Technique
This type of minimally invasive procedure uses advanced medical technologies, such as bipolar, heat, infrared, and laser.
- Rubber Band Ligation
It involves placing a couple of tiny rubber bands nearby the internal hemorrhoid’s base to cut off its circulation. This procedure will shrink the piles and eventually will fall off within a few days.
This minimally invasive treatment involves injecting a chemical solution into the tissue of the hemorrhoids to wither it.
Other treatments for hemorrhoids include surgical procedures. These operations include the following surgeries:
This procedure removes external hemorrhoids using local anesthesia when a painful blood clot exists.
It’s the removal of excessive tissues that caused the bleeding using local anesthesia coupled with general or spinal anesthesia as well as sedation.
- Stapled hemorrhoidopexy
This surgical treatment blocks the flow of blood to the tissue of the internal hemorrhoids.
How Can I Treat Hemorrhoids At Home?
Treating hemorrhoids at home comes easy with these 4 simple steps and tips.
1. Sitz Bath
It’s a warm and shallow bath that cleanses the space between your rectum and scrotum. It provides relief from the pain caused by hemorrhoids. You can do this method in your bathtub or over your toilet using a plastic kit that will fit the bowl.
You can also use a much simpler method, and that is by soaking the anal area in some warm clean water for a duration of 10 to 15 minutes for around 2 to 3 times on any given day.
2. Topical Remedies
There are safe and effective over-the-counter creams for hemorrhoids. You can also use the suppository method that contains hydrocortisone. Another option would be using witch hazel pads for relieving inflammation.
3. Pain Relievers
You can also take pain relievers orally to help relieve any discomfort.
4. Consuming High-Fiber Content Foods
A healthy diet is also an effective treatment and prevention of hemorrhoids. Eating high-fiber content foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, can also help soften the stool, which greatly helps in avoiding strains that will create or worsen the symptoms of piles.
What Happens When You Don‘t Get A Hemorrhoid Treated?
Hemorrhoids may not usually pose a danger or a serious concern, but it doesn’t mean that disregarding them is okay. Leaving hemorrhoids untreated can cause more discomforts and pain as protrusions, irritations, and more bleeding may occur as complications arise.
You will have a hard time when you will do your regular toilet routines. It will be painful, and for some people, it might come as extremely painful, as people have different pain tolerance.
Untreated hemorrhoids are huge bothersome in your daily activities or workarounds. Even sitting will be difficult. Sadly, the pain and inflammation will get worse as they don’t go away without any treatment.
Hence, it is a must that you should not let hemorrhoids go untreated.
Do Hemorrhoids Smell?
Among the many symptoms of hemorrhoids is the dripping of stools or the leakage of your body wastes, and when you have them, cleaning your anus after a bowel movement may come more difficult. Hence, hemorrhoids may give off a foul or bad smell.
Can You Pop Hemorrhoids?
Technically, you can pop hemorrhoids. However, it is not advisable. The tissue surrounding the anal area is delicate, and so, popping hemorrhoids may cause a skin lesion and worsen the problem. When you pop them, you are exposing yourself to bacteria, leading to infections and other complications.
Significant signs of infected hemorrhoids:
- Increased pain when sitting
- Extreme Pain
Does Walking Make Hemorrhoids Worse?
Rigorous exercise will make hemorrhoids worse. Heavy weight lifting or any physical exercise that will require you to exert, strain, or bear down can cause the piles to swell. By saying so, exercise may worsen the symptoms temporarily, but not permanently.
Walking, on the other hand, doesn’t need you to exert more effort to the extent of straining, and so, it will make your hemorrhoids worse.
What Foods Irritate Hemorrhoids?
The food intake can pose positive and negative effects that could lead to treating or worsening hemorrhoids. Hence, it is of great advantage for people who suffer hemorrhoids to know the food to eat.
Foods that have little fiber contents can cause constipation, and therefore, can form hemorrhoids or make them worse. These are white bread, bagels, milk, meat, cheese, processed food, and other dairy items.
These foods are the types of fiber that you don’t want to consume when you have hemorrhoids. Soluble and insoluble fibers are those food contents that can soften and bulk up your stools, giving you a smoother and easier bowel movement.
Taking everything into consideration, hemorrhoids occur when the sensitive veins around the rectal area walls get irritated. This condition occurs when they get stretched out by straining or other unknown causes.
However, it is not a serious medical condition that anyone should worry, but should not be disregarded. If left untreated, it may worsen and create complications like bacterial infections
Moreover, there are effective and simple tips that you can follow to prevent occurrences and reoccurrences of hemorrhoids. One of the most significant preventions is keeping your stools soft.
Consuming high-fiber food will greatly help lessen the chances of piles. Another way to prevent it is to drink plenty of water, about 6 to 8 glasses.
When you feel the need to poop, do it immediately. Don’t let time passes by, as the stool can turn hard and difficult to let out. Straining can also cause hemorrhoids. Thus, avoid it. Lastly, live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid sitting for a longer period and exercise, except lifting heavy weights often.
Do you have any other questions about hemorrhoids? Ask them in the comment section down below.