Hemorrhoids and itching are considered as a common condition and this usually affect older people as well as pregnant women. However, it is necessary for you to understand that this condition can actually affect anyone. Hemorrhoid problems can also affect individuals suffering from IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease and IBS or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome. The good news, on the other hand, is that this condition rarely result to serious problems and can be easily treated with medications or natural remedies.
What Is a Hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoid is the result of the swelling of the veins in and around the anus and rectum. There are two different types of hemorrhoids: Internal Hemorrhoids and External Hemorrhoids.
- Internal Hemorrhoids: this occurs inside the rectum, does not protrude from the anus and is painless. However, internal hemorrhoids may bleed and may become painful if it extended or prolapsed outside the anus.
- External Hemorrhoids: this, on the other hand, is usually found around the anus and when it becomes inflamed, you may feel a hard lump. External hemorrhoid is covered with skin, extremely sensitive to touch and may bleed, especially when straining due to hard bowel movements.
What are the Typical Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
- Itching of the anus
- Bleeding during bowel movements
- Protrusion of the hemorrhoid during bowel movements
- Pain sensation
- Sensitive lumps in or around the anus
What can Cause Hemorrhoids?
Various situations and conditions can lead to the development of the condition. Some of the common causes of hemorrhoids are:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Excessive use of laxatives
How is the Condition Diagnosed?
Since the symptoms of hemorrhoids are quite similar to that of fistula, anal fissure or abscess, it is necessary to consult a physician for the proper diagnosis of the problem. Some people choose to deal with the condition using OTC medications without consulting the physician. However, take note that in case rectal bleeding is present, medical intervention is necessary in order to determine the cause of the bleeding and to apply proper treatment. For the diagnosis of hemorrhoids, the physician will conduct an examination on the anal area. The affected individual will be asked to take off their lower clothing and lie down on the examination table. Both the anus and the rectum will be examined and a rectal exam is conducted with lubricated and gloved fingers. This is a painful process, especially when external hemorrhoids exist, but is definitely helpful for the proper diagnosis of the condition. In certain cases, the physician will have to take a closer look using an anoscope. This is a small tube with a light attached on its end that is helpful in detecting internal hemorrhoids once inserted into the rectum.
What are the Available Treatments for Hemorrhoids?
As most cases of hemorrhoids are mild, these can be easily relieved by doing some lifestyle and dietary changes. The primary goal of mild hemorrhoids treatment is to make sure that the stool remains soft so that it can easily pass through. Increased consumption of fiber is helpful for this purpose. It is also necessary to make sure that the consumption of water is increased to prevent having hard stools or constipation. For individuals suffering from IBS, consuming soluble fiber like oatmeal, psyllium husks and brown rice is recommended than the consumption of insoluble fiber, such as whole grains, wheat bran, seeds and cereals. People afflicted with IBD and are following a diet that is low on fiber should talk to their physician before deciding to add more fiber into their diet. For both IBD and IBS conditions, it is necessary to address the underlying symptoms of diarrhea and constipation in order to cure hemorrhoid problems. Keeping the area of the anus clean is of utmost importance as well. To relieve the symptoms of the condition, sitz bath might be necessary and this can be done in the bathtub or using a plastic seat that can fit over the toilet bowl. OTC wipes are also available and these contain witch hazel, a natural astringent that is very helpful against the condition. OTC gels, creams and suppositories can also be used to reduce swelling and obtain relief from the symptoms of the condition.
If the hemorrhoid condition is painful and persistent, it might be necessary to opt for other treatment options. These treatments usually have complications and are avoided by physicians as much as possible. Take note that the treatments that will be mentioned below can only be used as a last resort for the condition.
- Clot Removal: this procedure is used for clotted external hemorrhoids. This minor surgical procedure is done under local anesthesia where an incision is made in order to lift out the clot.
- Rubber Band Ligation: this form of treatment is often being used when dealing with internal hemorrhoids that extended beyond the point of the anus. In this procedure, a rubber band is placed around the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply effectively. Both the rubber band and the hemorrhoid tissue will then discharge after several days and the healing period may last for one to two weeks.
- Sclerotherapy: this procedure is often used for internal hemorrhoids. In this process, a hardening agent will be injected to the hemorrhoid to prevent blood circulation, thus causing the hemorrhoid to shrivel.
- Infrared Coagulation: this procedure is done by aiming a light right at the base of the hemorrhoid, thus causing the hemorrhoid to clot, shrivel and recede.
In case you are afflicted with hemorrhoids condition, especially if it is a bleeding hemorrhoids condition, it is necessary to consult the physician, especially if it has become very painful and starts to bleed. Remember that although hemorrhoids are not considered as a serious condition, this can still be very discomforting and may require medical attention eventually.