Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum. When the walls of these vessels stretch, they can become irritated.
Although hemorrhoids can sometimes be painful, they often get better on their own. Lifestyle changes, such as eating more fiber and exercising, can help relieve symptoms and lower the risk of future hemorrhoids.
✨ itching or irritation in the anal area
✨ discomfort, pain, or soreness around the anus
lumps and swelling in the anal region.
✨ dilation, or bulging, of a vein, which may or may not be painful, depending on where it occurs. Symptoms can be uncomfortable or alarming, but they often improve on their own after a few days.
? Pregnancy : During pregnancy, tissues in the rectum become weaker, and hormones cause veins to relax and swell. Hemorrhoids may occur in up to 35% pregnant women.
? Aging : Hemorrhoids are most common among adults over age 50. However, young people and children can also get them.
? Diarrhea : Hemorrhoids can occur after cases of chronic diarrhea.
? Chronic constipation : Straining to move stool puts additional pressure on the walls of the blood vessels, which may result in hemorrhoids.
? Sitting for too long: Spending a long time in a seated position, especially on the toilet, can cause hemorrhoids.
? Diet : Eating low fiber foods may contribute to hemorrhoids.
? Heavy lifting : Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can lead to hemorrhoids.
? Anal intercourse : This can cause new hemorrhoids or worsen existing ones.
? Weight : being overweight gives a higher chance of hemorrhoids. This may result from increased pressure within the abdomen.
? Genetics : Some people inherit a tendency to develop hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be either internal or external. Healthcare professionals use a grading system to describe internal hemorrhoids based on whether they remain in the rectum or protrude out of the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are located inside the rectum and are not visible from the outside. They are typically painless. Often, rectal bleeding is the first sign of internal hemorrhoids.
If an internal hemorrhoid protrudes through the anus, it’s called a prolapsed hemorrhoid. This condition may be due to a weakening of the muscles around the anus and can be painful.
Healthcare professionals grade internal hemorrhoids from 1 to 4, depending on the degree of prolapse:
?️ Grade 1 hemorrhoids remain in the rectum without prolapsing (protruding out of the anus).
?️ Grade 2 hemorrhoids prolapse when a person passes stool, then return inside on their own.
?️Grade 3 hemorrhoids are prolapsed and must be pushed back in.
?️Grade 4 hemorrhoids are prolapsed and cannot be pushed back in.
External hemorrhoids occur in the skin around the anus and are therefore visible.
There are more sensitive nerves in this part of the body, so external hemorrhoids can be very painful. Straining when passing stool may cause external or internal hemorrhoids to bleed.
In most cases, simple measures will alleviate symptoms while hemorrhoids heal on their own. However, medication or surgery may be necessary in certain cases.
The following home treatments may help relieve symptoms of hemorrhoids:
?Topical creams and ointments:
?Over-the-counter (OTC) creams for external hemorrhoids can help reduce itching, discomfort, and swelling.
?Fiber supplements: Taking supplements like methylcellulose (Citrucel), psyllium (Metamucil) can reduce constipation and help with hemorrhoids.
?Ice packs and cold compresses: Applying these to the affected area may help ease pain.
?A sitz bath: A sitz bath involves sitting in a tub of shallow, warm water. Taking one a few times each day may help reduce hemorrhoid pain.
? Analgesics: Painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen may help alleviate pain from hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoid medications come in various forms, including suppositories, ointments, and pads. A person can usually buy them over the counter.
Several common medications include:
Zinc oxide: Creams containing zinc oxide may help with irritation. One ointment, Calmoseptine, combines zinc oxide and menthol. It may be effective for relieving anal itching, which can be related to hemorrhoids.
Witch hazel: Experts say that astringents, such as witch hazel, may provide temporary relief.
Steroid cream: Corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone are commonly used to treat hemorrhoids. They can help reduce inflammation, but they may damage the skin.
A person should talk with a doctor if symptoms do not improve after using these medications for a week.
Written by: Samuel Sobiye