Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. This embarrassing health problem has many causes, but the main one is often unknown. For example, hemorrhoids can result from increased pressure on veins during pregnancy or bowel movements. This problem is quite common, and it affects many people. They often don’t notice any symptoms until hemorrhoids start causing discomfort, itching, and bleeding. There are many effective treatment options, so you can get fast relief from annoying and painful symptoms.
Common Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Irritation and itching in the anal area;
- Swelling around the anus;
- Discomfort and pain;
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements;
- Painful or sensitive lumps near the anus.
Types of Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum and rarely cause discomfort. However, irritation and straining when passing stools can damage their surface and lead to bleeding or even push them through the anal opening (prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoids).
External hemorrhoids are under the skin around the anus and cause bleeding or itching when irritated. Sometimes, blood may start pooling in external hemorrhoids and forming clots, thus, resulting in severe swelling, pain, and inflammation. This condition is associated with thrombosed hemorrhoids.
Veins around the anus stretch under pressure and can swell or bulge. Hemorrhoids can be caused by increased pressure in this area because of:
- Pregnancy or obesity;
- Sitting for a long period of time;
- Low-fiber diet plans;
- Anal intercourse;
- Chronic constipation and diarrhea;
- Straining during bowel movements.
The risk of having this health condition increases with age because the tissues supporting veins in the anus and rectum start stretching and weakening.
Complications associated with hemorrhoids are quite rare, and they include:
- Strangulated hemorrhoids (extreme pain because the blood supply to internal hemorrhoids is cut off);
- Anemia (chronic blood loss because patients don’t have enough red blood cells).
Effective Prevention Options
The most effective option to prevent this disease is to keep stools soft to make them pass easily. Follow these helpful guidelines:
- Drink enough fluids (it doesn’t mean alcohol drinking because it keeps your stools soft);
- Consume high-fiber food products, such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits;
- Take special fiber supplements;
- Avoid holding your breath or staining when passing stools because it increases pressure on veins;
- Do regular exercises to stay active, reduce pressure on veins, and prevent constipation;
- Avoid long periods of sitting because they also increase pressure.
External hemorrhoids are easy to diagnose by simply looking at this area. Internal hemorrhoids require specific diagnostic procedures and tests, including examining the rectum and anal canal.
This embarrassing health problem can be treated effectively. Available treatment options include healthy lifestyle changes and home remedies. Try applying topical treatments and keeping your anal area clean. Avoid using any dry toilet paper, apply cold, and use oral painkillers. Doctors often suggest their patients use special ointments, creams, pads, or suppositories. In more serious cases, it’s worth considering minimally invasive or surgical procedures, such as stapling and removal.