Hemorrhoids: Everything You Need to Know

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Hemorrhoids, otherwise known as piles, are a common ailment reported in those over 30. However, just about anybody can get them. They are categorised by swollen veins in the lower rectum; they can be painful, itchy, and embarrassing. There’s a lot of information out there about this condition, so we thought we’d put it all into one article for you. This way you’ll know what they are, how they develop, and how to treat them in a matter of minutes. If you want to learn more about this, read on…

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How Hemorrhoids Develop

You might be surprised to know that experts aren’t yet exactly sure as to why hemorrhoids develop. It is suspected that a few factors have something to do with it. If you develop hemorrhoids, it could be down to one of the following things:

  • Pregnancy. The uterus gets bigger during pregnancy, and this can press on a vein in the colon.

  • Spending a long time on the toilet.

  • Chronic constipation, and any complications from this condition.

  • Straining while you’re on the toilet.

  • Chronic diarrhea.

  • Obesity.

  • Anal intercourse.

  • A diet low in fibre.

Hemorrhoids may not develop because of any of those problems; you may simply develop them. It’s thought that if a member of your family has had them, you are more likely to develop them.

Different Kinds of Hemorrhoids

There are two different types of hemorrhoids; internal, and external. The internal hemorrhoids are the ones you can’t see or feel, and they don’t cause discomfort either. However, if you strain while you’re on the toilet, you can cause internal hemorrhoids to bleed.

External hemorrhoids are categorised as under the skin around the anus. These hemorrhoids can itch or bleed if you irritate them too much. You can also sometimes experience severe pain and swelling with this kind of hemorrhoid.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids can be annoying and uncomfortable, but they don’t put your life in danger. People with this condition usually report that they went away on their own with no treatment. However, if you get them too often, you have a slight chance of developing anemia symptoms. The following symptoms can all be spotted with this condition:

  • Blood on your tissue after a bowel movement. The blood is usually bright red and painless.

  • Irritation and pain around the rectum.

  • Swelling around the anus.

  • Pain while having a bowel movement.

  • Itchiness ranging from severe to mild near your rectum.

  • A lump on the anus.

If you have one or more of these symptoms, there’s a chance you could have hemorrhoids. Remember that they aren’t usually permanent, so you don’t need to worry too much about your health.

Seeing a Doctor

If you’re bleeding during your bowel movements, you more than likely have this condition. However, there are a few other things it could be too; cancer being one of them. You shouldn’t assume that the bleeding is hemorrhoids without going to a doctor first.

If you ever experience severe rectal bleeding, lightheadedness or a faint feeling, then you should seek emergency help right away.

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

It’s important that you follow all of the advice given to you carefully if you’ve decided to see a doctor. You should also try to make the appointment go as smoothly as possible by noting down any key information. Prepare by:

  • Asking the doctors if there’s anything you should do in advance.

  • Noting down your symptoms and how long you’ve had them.

  • Noting down your diet, bowel habits, and anything else that might be relevant.

  • Making a list of everything you’re taking, even if they are just supplements.

  • Making a list of questions you want to ask the doctor.

Here are some ideas for questions to ask the doctor if you’re stuck:

  • Is it possible to take care of my hemorrhoids while suffering with other medical problems?

  • How can I care for them at home?

  • Do I need surgery?

  • Am I at risk of complications?

  • Is this temporary or permanent?

  • What do you think caused it?

By asking these questions you can put your mind at ease and know which steps need to be taken to avoid this condition in future.

Diagnosis of Hemorrhoids

If you go to the doctors to get diagnosed for hemorrhoids, then the doctor may just need to do a visual exam to confirm the condition. However, some doctors might prefer to do a different exam in order to check for any issues inside of the anus. If the doctor spots anything unusual during this ‘digital rectal exam’, you may need another test.

The sigmoidoscopy is an exam using a small camera. This camera helps to diagnose an internal hemorrhoid, as it allows your doctor to see everything close up.

It’s definitely worth getting a proper diagnosis of hemorrhoids to rule out any serious conditions.

Treatment of Hemorrhoids

If it turns out that you do have this condition, you can either treat hemorrhoids at home or have a doctor treat them. There are a number of things you can do, including:

  • Soaking in warm water for 10 minutes each day.

  • An over the counter cream to help the burning, itchy sensation.

  • Hemocyl hemorrhoid treatment.

  • Eat more fibre at home, such as oatmeal, carrots, bran, and brown rice.

  • Use a fibre supplement.

  • Having an injection at the doctors to shrink the hemorrhoid.

  • Having a rubber band ligation at the doctors to shrink the hemorrhoid. You should never try this at home yourself, as you could cause yourself pain and kill off your tissues. This means you could get gangrene. Leave it to doctor.

Preventative Treatment

Sometimes people just develop this condition, so there may be nothing you can do to stop it. However, you can try the following things to maybe prevent it in future:

  • Drink lots of water to keep stool soft.

  • Don’t strain when having a bowel movement.

  • Eat fibre to avoid constipation.

  • Keep your weight at a healthy level.

Now you know everything there is to know about this condition. If you think you might have hemorrhoids, don’t be afraid to go to a doctor!