Hemorrhoids: A Source of Pain and Blood

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Hemorrhoids are also referred to as piles, and they are swollen blood veins in the rectum. They can be caused by many things and can range from mild to severe. Some are painful and can bleed. They can be inside the rectum or on the outside of the anus. They are common and typically clear up quickly. They can sometimes turn into clots that are even more painful and need to be lanced and drained.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

Many different things can cause hemorrhoids, and it is often hard to determine the cause. The most common cause is straining while trying to pass a bowel movement or due to too much pressure caused by pregnancy. Other common causes include:

  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

The symptoms of hemorrhoids can vary with each person. Many people experience hemorrhoids multiple times in their lives and can have different symptoms each time. Some people have them and don’t know it, and others have such severe symptoms that they can barely function. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Bloody stools
  • Blood when wiping
  • Itching anal region
  • Pain or discomfort in the anal region
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • Swelling around the rectum
  • Sensitive, painful, or itchy lumps around the rectum

Diagnosis of Hemorrhoids

Most people diagnose themselves with hemorrhoids. Once someone has had them once, they typically recognize the symptoms when they appear again. People who are suffering from hemorrhoids for the first time, especially painful hemorrhoids, are more likely to seek medical attention. Doctors can diagnose them by doing a physical exam. If the hemorrhoids are internal, the doctor may need to do a digital exam to find them and make a proper diagnosis.

Treatment of Hemorrhoids

Treatment is focused on the symptoms of hemorrhoids as well as preventing them. Most treatments can be done at home by the sufferer, but severe or chronic hemorrhoids might require a different approach. Some common treatments for hemorrhoids include:

  • High-Fiber Diet – Fiber can help make bowel movements more regular and softer so there is no need to strain to pass them.
  • Topical Creams – There are many over-the-counter creams that can be applied directly to the hemorrhoids to help prevent pain and itching.
  • Warm Bath – Sometimes doctors will suggest that patients simply soak in a warm bath to help relieve the symptoms and reduce swelling.
  • Cleaning the Anus–Doctors may recommend that patients spend more time cleaning and drying the anal region to help prevent hemorrhoids and reduce irritation if they are already present.
  • Avoid Toilet Paper –Toilet paper can irritate the anus and cause hemorrhoids or make them worse. Instead, moist towelettes are a better option.
  • Ice Packs – Ice packs can help reduce swelling and ease the pain.
  • Oral Pain Relievers – Oral pain medication can help with painful hemorrhoids.
  • Surgery – Some hemorrhoids require surgery.

Prognosis of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are not a serious disease, and the prognosis is good for those who seek treatment. Some people are more susceptible to hemorrhoids than others and find themselves dealing with them chronically. Preventative steps are the best way to avoid hemorrhoids.