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Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. They occur when the blood vessels in the rectum or anus become swollen and inflamed. While hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable and painful, understanding the causes, symptoms, and advanced treatment options can help individuals effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms associated with this condition. In this blog article, we will unravel the mystery of hemorrhoids and provide valuable insights into its causes, symptoms, and advanced treatment options.
Several factors contribute to the development of hemorrhoids, including:
Chronic constipation or frequent straining during bowel movements can increase pressure in the rectal area, leading to the formation of hemorrhoids.
The increased pressure on the pelvic area during pregnancy, along with hormonal changes, can cause hemorrhoids to develop.
Excess weight and obesity put added pressure on the rectal veins, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
Sitting or standing for prolonged periods can impair blood flow in the rectal area, contributing to the development of hemorrhoids.
Age and Genetics:
As individuals age, the tissues supporting the veins in the rectal area may weaken, making them more susceptible to hemorrhoids. Additionally, a family history of hemorrhoids can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids:
Hemorrhoids can present with various symptoms, including:
Bright red blood on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement is a common sign of hemorrhoids. However, it is essential to rule out other potential causes of rectal bleeding and consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.
Itching and Discomfort:
Hemorrhoids can cause itching and irritation around the anal area, leading to discomfort and a constant urge to scratch.
Pain or Discomfort:
Depending on the severity, hemorrhoids can cause mild to severe pain, especially during bowel movements or prolonged sitting.
Swelling and Inflammation:
Swollen and inflamed blood vessels in the rectal area may lead to a lump or swelling around the anus.
You can often relieve the mild pain, swelling, and inflammation of hemorrhoids with home treatments.
Eat high-fiber foods. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Doing so softens the stool and increases its bulk, which will help you avoid the straining that can worsen symptoms from existing hemorrhoids. Add fiber to your diet slowly to avoid problems with gas.
Use topical treatments. Apply an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream or suppository containing hydrocortisone, or use pads containing witch hazel or a numbing agent.
Soak regularly in a warm bath or sitz bath. Soak your anal area in plain warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two to three times a day. A sitz bath fits over the toilet.
Take oral pain relievers. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) temporarily to help relieve your discomfort.
With these treatments, hemorrhoid symptoms often go away within a week. See your doctor in a week if you don't get relief, or sooner if you have severe pain or bleeding.
If your hemorrhoids produce only mild discomfort, your doctor might suggest over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories, or pads. These products contain ingredients such as witch hazel, hydrocortisone, and lidocaine, which can temporarily relieve pain and itching.
Don't use an over-the-counter steroid cream for more than a week unless directed by your doctor because it can thin your skin.
External hemorrhoid thrombectomy
If a painful blood clot (thrombosis) has formed within an external hemorrhoid, your doctor can remove the hemorrhoid, which can provide prompt relief. This procedure, done under local anesthesia, is most effective if done within 72 hours of developing a clot.
Minimally invasive procedures
For persistent bleeding or painful hemorrhoids, your doctor might recommend one of the other minimally invasive procedures available. These treatments can be done in your doctor's office or other outpatient setting and don't usually require anesthesia.
Rubber band ligation
Your doctor places one or two tiny rubber bands around the base of an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. The hemorrhoid withers and falls off within a week. Hemorrhoid banding can be uncomfortable and cause bleeding, which might begin two to four days after the procedure but is rarely severe. Occasionally, more-serious complications can occur.
Your doctor injects a chemical solution into the hemorrhoid tissue to shrink it. While the injection causes little or no pain, it might be less effective than rubber band ligation.
Coagulation (infrared, laser or bipolar)
Coagulation techniques use laser or infrared light or heat. They cause small, bleeding internal hemorrhoids to harden and shrivel. Coagulation has few side effects and usually causes little discomfort.
Only a small percentage of people with hemorrhoids require surgery. However, if other procedures haven't been successful or you have large hemorrhoids, your doctor might recommend one of the following:
Hemorrhoid removal (hemorrhoidectomy)
Using one of various techniques, your surgeon removes excessive tissue that causes bleeding. The surgery can be done with local anesthesia combined with sedation, spinal anesthesia, or general anesthesia.
This is the most effective and complete way to treat severe or recurring hemorrhoids. Complications can include temporary difficulty emptying your bladder, which can result in urinary tract infections. This complication occurs mainly after spinal anesthesia. Most people have some pain after the procedure, which medications can relieve. Soaking in a warm bath also might help.
This procedure, called stapled hemorrhoidopexy, blocks blood flow to hemorrhoidal tissue. It is typically used only for internal hemorrhoids. Stapling generally involves less pain than hemorrhoidectomy and allows for earlier return to regular activities. Compared with hemorrhoidectomy, however, stapling has been associated with a greater risk of recurrence and rectal prolapse, in which part of the rectum protrudes from the anus. Complications can also include bleeding, urinary retention and pain, as well as, rarely, a life-threatening blood infection (sepsis). Talk with your doctor about the best option for you.
It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable treatment option based on the severity of your haemorrhoids and your overall health.
While it may not be possible to completely prevent hemorrhoids, certain measures can help reduce the risk of their development:
Maintain a Healthy Diet:
Eat a high-fiber diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Drink an adequate amount of water and fluids to keep stools soft and prevent straining during bowel movements.
Engage in regular physical activity to stimulate bowel movements, improve blood circulation, and maintain a healthy weight.
Practice Good Bathroom Habits:
Avoid straining during bowel movements, and don't delay the urge to have a bowel movement. Also, ensure proper hygiene by gently wiping the anal area after bowel movements and avoiding harsh or scented toilet paper.
Take Breaks from Sitting:
If your work or lifestyle involves prolonged sitting, take breaks and engage in short walks to improve blood flow in the rectal area.
Avoid Heavy Lifting:
If you engage in activities that involve heavy lifting, use proper body mechanics and avoid straining excessively.
Hemorrhoids are a common condition that can cause discomfort and affect daily life. By understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, and exploring advanced treatment options, individuals can effectively manage hemorrhoids and find relief. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations. With a combination of self-care measures, lifestyle modifications, and medical interventions when necessary, you can improve your quality of life and minimize the impact of hemorrhoids. Remember, early intervention and preventive measures are key to managing this condition successfully.
If you are looking for gastroenterology services, contact Healix Hospitals, Hyderabad, a multi-speciality hospital that offers state-of-the art facilities with expertise in Gastroenterology. We provide world-class treatment and care from our highly qualified and experienced doctors. Our team of professionals strive to ensure a comfortable atmosphere and the highest standards of medical care for all our patients.
This website does not replace professional medical advice or emergency treatment. If you are experiencing a health problem or disease, you should consult your doctor before implementing any treatment plan from these websites.