What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are caused when the veins in the rectum, just above the anus, get blocked due to external pressure. This causes obstructions in the blood flow and also leads to swelling of the veins. Hemorrhoids are classified as internal hemorrhoids which are within the anal canal and external hemorrhoids which are under the skin just outside the anus. Hemorrhoids can affect men and women. While not life threatening hemorrhoids can be quite uncomfortable and even painful. Further complications like thrombosis and infection can occur if left untreated.
What causes hemorrhoids?
- Constipation - The number one cause of hemorrhoids is constipation. The straining during bowel movements exerts a lot of pressure on the veins in the rectum.
- Excessive sitting - Sitting for long periods of time including on the toilet can also cause hemorrhoids
- Anal intercourse - The act can often put a lot of strain on the anal canal
- Diarrhea - Hemorrhoids can be caused by chronic diarrhea
- Pregnancy - The excessive pressure on the lower abdomen during pregnancy and lead to hemorrhoids
- Obesity - Overweight people often suffer from hemorrhoids because of all the side effects excess weight can have of the body and digestion
- Low fibre diet - A poor diet affects digestion and stool formation
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
- Blood in the stools
- Bleeding from the anal canal
- Mucus in the stools
- Burning sensation
- Pain in the anal area
- Painful swelling around the anus
- A hard lump around the anus
- Anal abscesses
Just as it is with all other diseases, prevention of hemorrhoids is better than curing it. However, you may still get hemorrhoids after taking all the necessary precautions, and you are left with no option but to treat the condition. Hemorrhoids will not usually go away on their own; the effort of the individual is key to ending the condition. Treatment of hemorrhoids can be done with natural home remedies. In fact, it is very unlikely that you will need anything more than home treatment and herbal remedies for your hemorrhoids.
As mentioned in the causes a low fibre diet can cause hemorrhoids. The right diet can prevent the development of hemorrhoids, and can also treat them once you get them. Changing your diet will end or at least reduce the severity of your condition within two weeks. Basically, what you need to do is increase the amount of fiber that you consume. This will reduce the strain you impose on your anus and rectum, and thus improve the flow of blood in these sections of your body. Increasing the amount of fiber you consume will prevent constipation, which is one of the common causes of hemorrhoids. A high fiber diet helps in the formation of soft stools making them easier to pass thus reducing the strain in the rectal area during bowel movements. Combining a high fiber diet with adequate exercise could prove to be an effective cure for hemorrhoids. If an increase in the amount of fiber consumed does not improve your condition within 2 weeks, then you should pay a visit to your doctor.
2. Sitting in warm water
Sitting in warm water is also advised, especially after visiting the toilet. Sitting in warm water improves the flow of blood in the bowel, and also helps to reduce the pain and discomfort that is brought by hemorrhoids and also reduce some of the inflammation. Make sure that the water is not too hot. Sit in the warm water for about ten to fifteen minutes at a time. Ideally, you should combine this with a high fiber diet for optimum results within 2 weeks. If this does not reduce the severity of your condition, then you should see your doctor.
It will then be necessary to take one of the procedures below.
3. Over the counter creams
There are several creams which are available that can be applied inside the rectum to treat hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoidectomy is traditional surgery for severe cases of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoidectomy is effective in removing both internal and external hemorrhoids. This is usually resorted to in cases where the hemorrhoids are prolapsed and too painful to cope with in daily life. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are those that are no longer inside the anus, but hang outside, and can be strangled when the sphincter muscles of the anus contract. This usually causes extreme pain. Hemorrhoidectomy is highly effective in the treatment of hemorrhoids, however there could be some risks involved, as with any surgery. Trust your doctor to decide on the best course of action for your particular situation.
5. Injection or Sclerotheraphy
A solution can be injected to the hemorrhoids. This will end the hemorrhoids and only leave a scar.
Also known as rubber band ligation (RBL) Banding is a procedure carried out by a qualified doctor to block the blood supply of the hemorrhoids. This is done using rubber bands and will cause the hemorrhoids to die and shrivel off within a week. This is the most effective non surgical procedure for the treatment of hemorrhoids and is most commonly performed in all stages and progressions of the condition.
This procedure is only used to treat internal hemorrhoids and is only effective for small to medium sized hemorrhoids. This can be done using infra red lights, a laser beam or an electric probe. This procedure aims to close off the end of the hemorrhoid, and through this, the hemorrhoid dies and falls off.
In addition, if you have hemorrhoids, it is important to keep clean, especially when it comes to your anal area. Also, do not use ordinary tissue paper. Instead, use baby wipes or wet tissue paper. Using ice packs on the affected area can also help reduce the pain and discomfort caused by the hemorrhoids. Simply get some ice packs and wrap them in a towel, then apply on your bottom for about ten minutes three or four times a day. Since you may also experience pain, you can take OTC pain relievers to reduce the discomfort.