Hemorrhoids are swollen veins located around the anus or in the lower rectum. About 50 percent of adults experienced the symptoms of hemorrhoids by the age of 50.
Hemorrhoids can either be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids develop within the anus or rectum. External hemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. Hemorrhoids are also known as piles.
External hemorrhoids are the most common and most troublesome. Hemorrhoids cause pain, severe itching, and difficulty sitting. Fortunately, they are treatable.
Piles are inflamed and swollen veins or collections of tissue located in the anal area.
They are the result of a number of different factors they can be extremely painful and may need to be treated by surgery.
Hemorrhoids, to give them a full title, come in a range of sizes and they may be found internally or externally on the body.
The main causes are usually straining during bowel movements, staying too long on the toilet or from the increased pressure on veins down below during pregnancy. Other causes include: Chronic diarrhea or constipation and obesity.
Symptoms of piles and hemorrhoids
- Bleeding during bowel movements and noticing bright red blood on your toilet tissue or in the toilet
- Your anal region is red, itchy and sore
- Pain or discomfort when sitting and using the bathroom
- Swelling and redness around your anus
- A hard lump near your anus, which may be quite sensitive or painful to touch.
- Excessive bleeding when passing a stool
- After passing a stool, feeling that the bowels are still full
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Having anal intercourse
- Maintaining a low-fiber diet
- Sitting for long periods of time, including in the car and office work
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting low long on the toilet, this causes extra pressure on the veins down there
- Lifting heavy weights
Internal and external piles
The most common form of piles- Internal piles- are located inside the rectum and are usually see between 2 and 4cm above the opening of the anus.
While you can’t see them, straining when going to the toilet can push them through or result in bleeding.
External piles develop under the skin and they can be found on the outside edge of the anus. They are known to be very itchy and can become painful if a blood clot develops into what is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. This may require minor surgery as a result.
A hard lump near your anus, which may be quite sensitive or painful to touch is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. They are not dangerous but can be extremely painful and sometimes need to be lanced and drained in order to clear the area.
Signs to look out for are swelling and inflammation.
Getting Help for Hemorrhoid Symptoms
You should seek treatment for hemorrhoid symptoms if:
- You have rectal bleeding for the first time.
- You have heavy rectal bleeding.
- You have rectal bleeding that is not responding to home care.
- You have other hemorrhoid symptoms, such as pain, pressure, itching, and burning, that do not respond to home care after a few days.
- You have hemorrhoid symptoms along with other symptoms such as fever, weight loss, abdominal pain, or a change in bowel habits.
“Hemorrhoids are common, but hemorrhoids symptoms that do not clear up quickly with home care or that keep coming back do need to be evaluated,” Hall says. “The best place to start is with your primary caregiver. In many cases, a primary caregiver can make the right diagnosis and start you on the best treatment. If you need a diagnostic evaluation by a specialist, you may be sent to a gastroenterologist or a colon and rectal surgeon. If you need any surgical treatment, it should be done by a colon and rectal surgeon.”
Knowing the differential diagnosis of hemorrhoid symptoms can help you prevent a minor complaint from becoming a serious problem.
Dramatic relief for most hemorrhoid symptoms can be found with simple, home remedies for hemorrhoids. To avoid occasional flare-ups, try the following.
Get more fiber. Add more fiber to your diet from food, a fiber supplement (such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Fiber Con), or both. Along with adequate fluid, fiber softens stools and makes them easier to pass, reducing pressure on hemorrhoids. High-fiber foods include broccoli, beans, wheat and oat bran, whole-grain foods, and fresh fruit. Start slowly, and gradually increase your intake to 25–30 grams of fiber per day. Also, increase your fluid intake.
Exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking 20–30 minutes a day, can help stimulate bowel function.
Take time. When you feel the urge to defecate, go to the bathroom immediately; don’t wait until a more convenient time. Stool can back up, leading to increased pressure and straining. Also, schedule a set time each day, such as after a meal, to sit on the toilet for a few minutes.
Sitz. A sitz bath is a warm water bath for the buttocks and hips (the name comes from the German “sitzen,” meaning “to sit”). It can relieve itching, irritation, and spasms of the sphincter muscle. Pharmacies sell small plastic tubs that fit over a toilet seat, or you can sit in a regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water. Most experts recommend a 20-minute sitz bath after each bowel movement and two or three times a day in addition. Take care to gently pat the anal area dry afterward; do not rub or wipe hard. You can also use a hair dryer to dry the area.
Seek topical relief for hemorrhoids. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams containing a local anesthetic can temporarily soothe pain. Witch hazel wipes (Tucks) are soothing and have no harmful effects. A small ice pack placed against the anal area for a few minutes can also help reduce pain and swelling. Finally, sitting on a cushion rather than a hard surface helps reduce the swelling of existing hemorrhoids and prevents the formation of new ones.
Treat the clot. When an external hemorrhoid forms a blood clot, the pain can be excruciating. If pain is tolerable and the clot has been present for longer than two days, apply home treatments for the symptoms while waiting for it to go away on its own. If the clot is more recent, the hemorrhoid can be surgically removed or the clot withdrawn from the vein in a minor office procedure performed by a surgeon.