The anus and the lowest area of the rectum have cushion-like tissues that are filled with blood vessels. These are located right beneath the mucus membrane lining. Although hemorrhoids refer to these cushion-like tissues, the term is often used as a reference to the condition. This condition is the swelling and protrusion of these tissues due to straining when moving bowels.
Straining can lead to the development of the condition, thus causing the veins to become enlarged and bulge out along with the surrounding tissues. Hemorrhoids come in two types – internal and external – and these are referred to as h-drops, plies, devil’s berries or anus grapes. Internal hemorrhoids, as the name suggests, develops inside the anus while external hemorrhoids occur on the skin surrounding the anus.
Causes and Symptoms
As already stated above, hemorrhoids are due to the excessive amount of pressure exerted on the veins that causes it to protrude and enlarge. Various factors contribute to the development of the condition. Strained bowel movements and constipation are some of the reasons why an individual develop the condition. Hemorrhoids are very common to individuals suffering from diarrhea as well. Smoking, heavy weightlifting, chronic cough due to asthma conditions and other lung problems can also result to the development of the condition, due to intra-abdominal pressure. The increase of pressure can affect the circulation of blood within the veins. Hemorrhoids can also develop in obese individuals due to the exerted pressure on the blood vessels because of the weight on the abdominal wall. Pregnancy and childbirth are considered factors to the development of the condition as well. Sitting for long periods on the toilet seat is another causative factor of the problem.
Hemorrhoids conditions are usually asymptomatic. However, once it became ulcerated or thrombosed, symptoms like rectal bleeding, pain and itching can be experienced. In cases of internal hemorrhoids, some of the symptoms may include anal itching, rectal bleeding, mucus discharge and the feeling of incomplete bowel emptying. Ulcerated and thrombosed hemorrhoids can lead to bleeding, itching, rectal pain and swelling.
Hemorrhoids and Itching
Hemorrhoids and itching usually goes hand in hand. If there are internal hemorrhoids, the itching sensation is due to the excessive secretion of mucus from the membrane on the anal canal. The secreted mucus can dry up within the anus and the surrounding region, thereby causing itching. The swollen veins can grow and result to the itching and burning sensation as well. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, can cause itching when insufficient care is given to the condition and the area is not kept clean. The itching can also be due to the soap used or other disinfectants that can irritate the affected region.
The itching sensation due to hemorrhoids can be treated in several ways. One can opt for anti-itch creams to relieve the itching. These creams or ointments contain 1% hydrocortisone and this has to be applied on the affected area. One can also follow an anti-itch diet that can help lower the pH levels of the stools. In this type of diet, it is necessary to avoid carbonated, decaffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Fruits and vegetables should be increased in the diet, especially the ones that are loaded with vitamin C. Aside from that, it is also necessary to consume lots of water and fresh fruit juices.
Sitz baths can also provide quick relief against hemorrhoids and itching. However, take note that it is necessary to make use of warm water for this purpose. Be sure to soak the affected area in the water for at least 10 minutes whenever you do a sitz bath and do this up to four times daily. One can also opt for alternative medicines, such as homeopathy. However, bear in mind that a diet that is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, proper and regular exercises and consumption of high amount of fluids are the best methods that one can opt for to relieve the condition.
In case the condition is severe or bleeding hemorrhoids are present, along with severe pain and discomfort, it is advisable to avoid self-medicating and consult a physician instead, before deciding to opt for any form of treatment. For chronic hemorrhoids conditions, proper diagnosis is necessary to determine if the condition is hemorrhoids alone or if the hemorrhoids problem is due to an underlying medical condition. Being able to determine the root cause of the condition can make it easier for the patient to find the right treatment for it.
If creams or ointments, home remedies, lifestyle changes and dietary alterations or other hemorrhoids treatment failed to provide relief against the condition, surgery might be necessary. The physician might require the patient to undergo thorough diagnosis of the problem and suggest the most suitable surgical procedure for it. Surgeries can be done as the last resort for the condition. This can provide long-term relief against the condition but preventive measures should still be taken to prevent the condition from recurring.