Hemorrhoids are engorged veins inside or outside of your rectum.
They usually cause itching, bleeding, pain and they are actually quite common.
There are 2 types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids
- External Hemorrhoids
In some cases, you can see or feel hemorrhoids around the outside of the rectum, known as external hemorrhoids. In other cases, you cannot see them because they are hidden inside the rectum, these are known as internal hemorrhoids.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
- Lack of exercise
- Insufficient fiber in the diet
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Irregular bowel habits
- Insufficient hydration
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids do not always cause symptoms. But when they do, the symptoms can include:
- Itching of the skin around the anus.
- Bleeding – Bleeding is usually painless. You might see bright red blood after using the toilet.
- Pain – If a blood clot forms inside a hemorrhoid, this can cause pain. It can also cause a lump that you might be able to feel.
Should I See A Doctor
You should see a doctor or nurse if you have any bleeding or if your bowel movements look like tar. Bleeding could be caused by something other than hemorrhoids, so you should have it checked out.
If you do have hemorrhoids, your doctor or nurse can suggest treatments. But there some steps you can try on you your own first.
How You Can Prevent Hemorrhoids.
The most important thing you can do is to keep from getting constipated and straining during bowel movements;
- Have regular bowel movements.
- Do not strain or push too much during bowel movements.
- Drink adequate water, juice, teas etc.
- Eat more Fiber, e.g., fruits, vegetables.
- Avoid dehydrating beverages like caffeinated drinks, alcohol, etc.
Being constipated and having hard bowel movements will usually make hemorrhoids worse.
You need 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day to keep your bowel movements regular. If you do not get enough fiber from your diet, you can take fiber powders, wafers, or pills.
Over the Counter (OTC) Aids:
- Psyllium, Metamucil, Konsyl,
- Citrucel) or Methylcellulose
- Wheat dextrin or Benefiber
- Tucks Medicated Wipes
- Witch Hazel
Stool Softeners & Tips
Medicines called “stool softeners” such as docusate sodium (sample brand names: Colace, Dulcolax. These medicines increase the number of bowel movements you have. They are generally safe to take and can prevent problems later.
There are also medicines that you can get without a prescription. These are usually creams or ointments that you rub on your anus to relieve pain, itching, and swelling.
Some hemorrhoid medicines come in a capsule (called a suppository) that you insert into your rectum. Other relief comes in wipes, in a cream or in a bottle with a nozzle that you put inside your rectum.
It is generally OK to try these medicines so long as you have no other condition present, otherwise check with your doctor before trying any new medications.
But do not use medicines that have hydrocortisone (steroid medicine) for more than a week, unless your doctor or nurse approves.
A Warm Soak
You may soak your buttocks in 2 or 3 inches of warm water. You can do this up to 2 to 3 times a day for 10 to 15 minutes. Do not add soap, bubble bath, or anything to the water, too irritating.
If you still have symptoms after trying the steps listed above, you might need further evaluation by your doctor. to destroy or remove the hemorrhoids.
A few medical options for hemorrhoids inside the rectum are:
- Rubber band ligation. For this treatment, the doctor ties tiny rubber bands around the hemorrhoids. A few days later the hemorrhoids shrink and fall off.
- Doctors can also use lasers, heat, or chemicals to destroy hemorrhoids. But if none of these options works.
- Surgical excision (removal), your doctor might suggest surgery to remove the hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids on the outside of the rectum can only be removed with surgery.
High Fiber Foods:
Foods with a lot of fiber include prunes, apples, oranges, bananas, peas, green beans, kidney beans, cooked oatmeal, almonds, peanuts, and whole-wheat bread.
Seek Medical Advice
Do not use over-the-counter treatments for more than one week without speaking to your doctor. They can damage your skin.
Follow instructions carefully – for example, it’s important to clean and dry your skin before using creams or ointments.
You can use an unscented baby wipe to clean your anus after a bowel movement.
If you have rectal bleeding, or if your bowel movements look like tar, see your doctor or nurse.
These problems could be caused by something other than hemorrhoids.
You should also see your doctor or nurse if your hemorrhoid symptoms still bother you after you have tried taking care of them yourself.
Check with your doctor for medical questions, treatments and follow up.