What Are Hemorrhoids and What are the Symptoms

Hemorrhoids are veins in your anal canal that have been swollen or inflamed. Hemorrhoids are a very common health condition that does not discriminate between age, race, or sex. Symptoms of a hemorrhoid (or Piles) can come and go with time depending on the location and severity of the problem.

piles-prolonged-strainingMost undiagnosed hemorrhoids usually clear themselves up on their own in a day or two. If you have been experiencing pain or discomfort for a few days already you may in fact be experiencing a hemorrhoid. Lets take a minute to talk about some of the most common symptoms and we’ll get into how to get some much needed relief. Some of the most common indicators are…

  • Itching in the area around the anus – This is something that you’ll want to monitor closely. You may get the feeling that you just haven’t wiped well enough and you get a little itchy.
  • Bright Red Blood In Your Stool – You may notice that this appears in the toilet water when you get up to wipe or you’ll find a little blood on your toilet paper after you have wiped. Either can be a symptom of a hemorrhoid.
  • Bumps On The Outside of the Anus – Sometimes a hemorrhoid can surface on the exterior of the anus which are known as prolapsed hemorrhoids. These can appear as a swelling on the anal ridge or look like a knot in front or on the side of the anus.
  • Discharge of Mucus After a Bowel Movement – If after you have just had a bowel movement and notice that a slimy discharge has somehow found it’s way into your under pants this could be a sign of an internal hemorrhoid.
  • Constantly Feeling Like You Need To Go – When you have internal hemorrhoids you will sometimes experience a dull sensation as if you need to make another bowel movement. And this sensation will occur frequently throughout the day.
  • Redness or Soreness of the Anal Area – A person can experience some swelling and redness which makes the area just sore to the touch. Typically a symptom that there is a small amount of trauma to the anal area which hasn’t been exacerbated yet.

You may be experiencing one or two of the above symptoms, but you may in fact NOT have a hemorrhoid. What you could be experiencing could be an Anal Fissure.

What causes hemorrhoids

  • Straining – If you have been experiencing constipation or diarrhea and have been straining, this can result in a breach of the anal wall causing hemorrhoids to form. Any form or abdominal straining can cause a hemorrhoid.
  • Heavy Lifting – As with straining to lift heavy objects, this can cause a hernia or put the same pressures on your anal walls.
  • Pregnancy – Pregnancy can sometimes cause hemorrhoids to form. For multiple reasons from the fetus putting too much pressure on the intestines, to the actual child birth which requires quite a bit of straining to push the fetus out. It is very common to have developed a hemorrhoid during or after pregnancy.
  • Age – Age can also play a factor as your general amount of exercise diminishes and the muscles in your lower abdominal region and anal cavity become weakened and prone to separate.

What are the different types of hemorrhoids

Internal Hemorrhoid – An internal hemorrhoid is when the hemorrhoids point of attachment is past the anal sphincter and inside the colon. There are however different grades of an internal hemorrhoid depending on how badly the area has prolapsed.

  • Grade I: No prolapse, just prominent enflamed
  • Grade II: Prolapse while straining, but retracts while relaxed.
  • Grade III: Prolapse while straining, but does not retract while relaxed.
  • Grade IV: Prolapse in both strained and relaxed positions.

internal external hemorrhoid
External Hemorrhoid – the point of attachment of the hemorrhoid is outside of the anal cavity. You must see a doctor to determine IF in fact you have a hemorrhoid or it is an anal fissure instead. Treatment for these are similar but different.

How to get rid of Hemorrhoids

There are a number of different treatment options to get some relief from the pain and help the swelling subside. The very first thing you will want to determine is the location of the hemorrhoid. Is it internal or external. Seek medical advice prior to any home remedy. Sometimes the hemorrhoid is too far advanced for home remedies and requires surgical removal.

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Stool Softeners/Dietary Change: The best course of action for pain relief is to try to loosen your stool by either eating a fiber rich diet or taking a stool softener supplement. The goal is to reduce the amount of friction up against the swollen area to allow healing to take place. By thinning the stool you will allow the waste to pass by the area without irritating it further. Diet is a factor for the consistency of your stool. For example if you eat a bunch of tortilla chips, spicy food, or corn the night before, you can expect to have fragments in your stool that will scratch either the intestinal walls or the rectum itself while passing through. Dietary changes will be the best long term treatment for dealing with hemorrhoids.

Reduce the swelling: There are quite a few different ways to reduce the amount of swelling that is generated by your hemorrhoid. The first option you have is to use an over the counter hemorrhoid cream. Be sure to purchase one that has numbing medication to also help with the pain. There are some creams out there that only focus on reducing the friction and are nothing more than petroleum jelly. Look for the word “cooling” or “ointment” in the name.

hemorrhoid sitz bath
Sitz Bath: The sitz bath is probably one of the best ways to reduce swelling, dull the pain, relaxes the sphincter muscles, and get instant relief from your hemorrhoid. The sitz bath is just a pan that is placed on top of your toilet seat, that gets filled with warm water. You sit down and let the warm water do its work. It’s an all-natural remedy that you can do repeatedly over and over again until you feel better. They are pretty cheap to purchase at your local pharmacy.

Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel is a natural astringent that you can apply to your anal area to get relief and it also helps reduce the swelling. You should take a cloth or gauze and soak it with witch hazel, then place it on your anal area and let it sit there for a few minutes. Let it work its way in through the skin and into your muscles. It may sting at first if you have an open sores or scrapes but bear through the initial pain while it does its work.

Stop Straining: As we have already discussed, you got into this situation by straining too hard at an earlier time. So please avoid straining to go to the bathroom while you’re trying to repair your hemorrhoid. The easier it is for you to go to the bathroom the quicker the healing will begin.

I wish you well with your healing and I hope that you’ve enjoyed this article. Once again, always seek the advice of a medical professional prior to starting any home remedies. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them below.

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