Hemorrhoids: causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment & prevention

Hemorrhoids, often known as piles, are bulging veins in the lower rectum and anus. They are a frequent ailment with symptoms including itching, pain, and rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids are produced by increased pressure in the anus and lower rectum veins, which can be caused by a number of reasons such as constipation, diarrhea, or pregnancy.

Hemorrhoids are classified into two types:

Internal hemorrhoids: These are internal hemorrhoids that are not generally visible or painful. They can induce rectal bleeding but seldom produce any additional symptoms.

External hemorrhoids: These are apparent as tiny, bulging veins outside the anus. They can be excruciatingly unpleasant, causing itching, irritation, and bleeding.

Causes

Increased pressure in the veins of the anus and lower rectum causes hemorrhoids. This pressure can be caused by a number of reasons, including:

Constipation: Straining during bowel movements can put pressure on veins in the anus and lower rectum, causing hemorrhoids to form.

Diarrhea: Because frequent bowel movements put pressure on the veins in the anus and lower rectum, chronic diarrhea can contribute to the formation of hemorrhoids.

Pregnancy: Due to the increased strain on the veins in the anus and lower rectum caused by the developing uterus, hemorrhoids might develop.

Anal intercourse: Anal intercourse can cause irritation and inflammation in the anus and lower rectum, increasing the risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Aging: As the veins in the anus and lower rectum weaken with age, the chance of developing hemorrhoids increases.

Obesity: a sedentary lifestyle, and a family history of the ailment are all risk factors for getting hemorrhoids.

Symptoms

Hemorrhoids symptoms might vary based on the location and severity of the problem. Hemorrhoids can cause the following symptoms:

Rectal bleeding: After a bowel movement, hemorrhoids can cause bright red blood to appear on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl.

Anus irritation or pain: Hemorrhoids can produce anus itching or discomfort, which may be exacerbated after a bowel movement.

Swelling or a lump near the anus: Swelling or the growth of a lump near the anus can be caused by external hemorrhoids.

Discomfort or pain during bowel movements: Hemorrhoids can cause discomfort or pain during bowel movements.

Mucus or pus discharge from the anus: Hemorrhoids can induce a mucus or pus discharge from the anus.

Diagnosis  

Examining the patient physically and taking a history of their symptoms are the two most common steps in making a diagnosis of hemorrhoids. A healthcare physician would often inspect the anus and rectum for visual indications of hemorrhoids, such as swelling or lumps, during the course of a physical examination.

Additionally, the healthcare professional may inquire about the particular symptoms that are being experienced, such as bleeding in the rectal area, itching, or discomfort. In certain instances, it may be necessary to do additional tests in order to rule out the possibility that the symptoms being experienced are being caused by another ailment, such as cancer of the rectal gland or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A digital rectal examination, a sigmoidoscopy, or a colonoscopy might be among the tests that are performed here.

Treatment

The location and severity of the hemorrhoids determine the therapy. Some typical hemorrhoid treatment methods include:

Natural cures: To assist minimize swelling and discomfort, over-the-counter lotions or ointments, such as hydrocortisone, can be administered to the anus. Sitz baths, which entail sitting in warm water for 15-20 minutes, can also aid in the reduction of swelling and pain.

Changes in lifestyle: Increasing fiber consumption and staying hydrated can help avoid constipation and lower the risk of future hemorrhoids flare-ups. Avoiding extended periods of sitting and standing can also assist to relieve pressure on the veins in the anus and lower rectum.

Medications: Medication may be recommended to assist decrease swelling and discomfort in more severe cases of hemorrhoids. These may include pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as well as topical treatments like hydrocortisone.

Surgery: In severe cases of hemorrhoids, surgery to remove the afflicted veins may be required. Hemorrhoids can be treated surgically using a variety of techniques such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, and hemorrhoidectomy.

Hemorrhoid prevention measures

There are various precautions you may take to lower your chances of acquiring hemorrhoids:

Eat a high-fiber diet: A high-fiber diet can help avoid constipation, which can place undue strain on the veins in the anus and lower rectum and raise the risk of hemorrhoids. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are high in fiber.

Stay hydrated: Drinking enough of water can help avoid constipation and improve digestive health.

Regular physical exercise can assist improve bowel motions and lower the risk of constipation.

Avoid prolonged sitting or standing: Prolonged sitting or standing can put pressure on the veins in the anus and lower rectum, causing hemorrhoids to form.

Avoid straining during bowel movements: Straining during bowel movements can put pressure on the veins in the anus and lower rectum, resulting in hemorrhoids.

Avoid anal intercourse: Anal intercourse can cause irritation and inflammation in the anus and lower rectum, increasing the risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your chances of getting hemorrhoids. This risk can be reduced by maintaining a healthy weight through a nutritious diet and frequent physical activity.[1]hemorrhoids.pdf (ucsd.edu)[2]https://www.ccjm.org/content/ccjom/86/9/612.full.pdf[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2219055/pdf/canfamphys00169-0163.pdf[4]hemorrhoids_2.pdf (utmedicalcenter.org)[5]Journal of the Anus, Rectum and Colon (journal-arc.jp)

Reviewed by:

Dr. Amjad Hayyat

MBBS, FCPS

Medical specialist

Makhdoom medical complex, Sargodha, Pakistan

For our experts information click here

References

References
1hemorrhoids.pdf (ucsd.edu)
2https://www.ccjm.org/content/ccjom/86/9/612.full.pdf
3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2219055/pdf/canfamphys00169-0163.pdf
4hemorrhoids_2.pdf (utmedicalcenter.org)
5Journal of the Anus, Rectum and Colon (journal-arc.jp)

Leave a Comment