Hemorrhoids are also called as piles. It is a condition in which swollen and inflamed veins are seen in the anus and lower rectum area. They generally result due to straining during bowel movements or due to increasing pressure on the veins near the anal area. Hemorrhoids may be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are present inside the rectum. External hemorrhoids are present under the skin near the anal area.
This is a common problem. About half of the adult population needs to deal with discomfort, itching and bleeding by age 50. This can be a signal of hemorrhoid problem. However, there are different options available for treatment of hemorrhoids and simple lifestyle changes and home treatments can help you to get rid of this problem.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
The signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids are-
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements
- Pain or discomfort
- Irritation and itching in the anal area
- Swelling around the anus
- Leakage of feces
- Painful or sensitive lump near the anus
The symptoms of hemorrhoids generally depend on the location. In case of internal hemorrhoids, which you cannot see, due to straining or irritation when passing stool, bleeding may happen. External hemorrhoids are present under the skin near the anus. If they are irritated, they can itch and bleed.
Some of the factors that help in causing hemorrhoids are-
- Straining during bowel movements
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Sitting for long periods on the toilet
- Anal intercourse
- Low fiber diet
How to treat hemorrhoids
Treatments and drugs
In case of hemorrhoids causing only mild discomfort, the doctor may recommend over-the-counter ointments, pads, creams or suppositories. Witch hazel or hydrocortisones are some of the ingredients of such products. They help in relieving the pain and itching. You should not use any over-the-counter cream or items for more than a week. They may have some side-effects including inflammation, skin rash and skin thinning.
Minimally invasive procedures
If there is a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid, the doctor may remove the clot using a simple incision. It will offer you prompt relief.
Rubber band ligation
One or two tiny rubber bands are used for binding the base of an internal hemorrhoid by the doctor. Within a week the hemorrhoid withers and falls of. This is known as rubber band ligation and it is effective.
Injection or sclerotherapy
The doctor may use an injection of a chemical compound on the hemorrhoids to shrink them. The injection does not cause any pain.
Coagulation (infrared, laser or bipolar)
Coagulation techniques may use infrared, laser or heat. They result in shriveling of small, internal and bleeding hemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoidectomy is the procedure in which a surgeon removes extra tissues that result in bleeding. It is the most effective way to remove and treat severe and recurring hemorrhoids. Some temporary difficulty side-effects may be there but it is a complete way to remove hemorrhoid problems.
In this process, known as stapled hemorrhoidectomy or stapled hemorrhoidopexy, helps in blocking blood flow to the tissues which are hemorrhoidal. It is less painful in comparison to hemorrhoidectomy and you can resume your work within a short duration. However, there is greater risk of the reoccurrence.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You can apply over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or suppositories. They contain hydrocortisone. You can also use pads that contain a numbering as agent like witch hazel.
Keep the anal area clean
Bathe daily and clean the skin around the anal area. You can use warm water for cleaning. Soap is not necessary because it may worsen the condition. You should also avoid perfumed wipes that contain alcohol. After birthing, you should dry the area.
Stop using dry toilet paper
After a bowel movement, to not use dry toilet paper to clean up. Instead, use moist towelettes or wet toilet paper.
Use oral pain relievers
This is a temporary measure. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol etc.), aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB etc.) and other oral pain relievers to get rid of the extreme pain.
Use a warm bath
Soak your anal area in warm water. Keep it there for 10 to 15 minutes. Do it for 2 to 3 times a day. You can also use a sitz bath that fits over the toilet.
Find out the cause of your hemorrhoids
First of all, to treat hemorrhoids, you need to find out why you are suffering from hemorrhoids. Even though the exact reason of hemorrhoid development is not yet known, there are some factors that help in the development of this problem. Prolonged constipation is the most common factor besides obesity and pregnancy. All these conditions create pressure on the veins located inside your rectum and as a result, the veins bulge and swell. People who sit a lot often develop hemorrhoids.
Once you know the main cause of hemorrhoids, it becomes easier to take the necessary steps to remove the pressure on the rectum and treat hemorrhoids.
Improve your diet
Improving your diet will help you to reduce hemorrhoids. It will also help you to prevent the return of the problem.
- Include more fiber in your diet. You will find fiber in beans, whole grains, nuts, vegetables and fruits.
- Stop eating high-fat meats and go for leaner options
- Stop drinking soda and other beverages that contain higher amount of sugar. Instead start drinking water, unsweetened tea and 100% fruit juice.
Drink lots of fluids
You need to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water and fluids every day to keep hemorrhoids away. However, fluids do not include alcohol.
Use fiber supplements
If it is difficult for you to get the recommended amount of fiber, which is 38 gram a day for men and 25 gram a day for women, in your diet, you can always use fiber supplements. There are over-the-counter fiber supplements available, such as Metamucil and Citrucel. They help in removing the symptoms and bleeding due to hemorrhoids. They also keep stools soft and regular. While using fiber supplements it is necessary to drink minimum eight glasses of water and fluids. Otherwise, it can result in constipation or if you already have constipation, it can make it worse.
Change your lifestyle
You can incorporate some easy changes in your lifestyle. Exercise is an element that you need to include in your lifestyle because it helps in prevention of hemorrhoids. If you exercise regularly, your digestive system will work fine. You can exercise for 30 minutes regularly.
While sitting, you can try a cushion instead of a hard wooden or metal chair. It is also good for you if you walk for some time after every hour.
Changing bathroom habits
There are some changes you need to make in your bathroom habits. If you have the urge to go to the bathroom, do not stop or hold it.
- Go to the bathroom when you have the urge. Do not hold it because it will make the constipation problem worse.
- Do not strain when on the toilet
- after a big meal, take a brief trip to the bathroom
- in place of tissue paper you can use wet wipes to clean up
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