What you need to know about hemorrhoids
Do you feel pain and bleeding when defecating?
Hemorrhoids arise from abnormal dilation of the veins in or around the anus. Even if they do not have serious health consequences, they cause crises that can be painful.
Hemorrhoidal disease is the inflammation and excessive stretching of the hemorrhoidal veins, primarily causing pain and bleeding.
Other symptoms may be associated, for example, prolapse. One in two people over the age of 50 suffers from hemorrhoids. This disorder usually subsides within a few days, but it can recur.
It does not cause serious health complications. Some lifestyle and diet advice, supplementing if necessary with analgesics and topical treatment (in the form of tablets, suppositories, or cream) can relieve hemorrhoids.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels located in the anal canal.
Hemorrhoids: a rather embarrassing health problem that some do not dare to talk about openly, believing that pathology is a source of shame.
However, it is a common disease that affects many of the population. Bringing up the topic can help you prevent or even treat hemorrhoidal disorders, swelling, and inflammation of the anal veins.
Anatomy of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoidal veins are normal tubular veins, appearing in 3 specific places of thickness called "pedicles" or "hemorrhoidal bundles."
Each bundle consists of an internal hemorrhoid (so-called because it is very high in the anus) and external hemorrhoid (so-called because it is located almost outside the anus).
The role of hemorrhoids is to hold in gas and loose stools, which doctors call "thin fecal incontinence." The rest of the continence is ensured by the anal sphincter.
What is its origin?
The causes of the disease are only partially known. However, several causative factors have been put forward: intestinal transit disturbances, prolonged sitting, spicy food, high consumption of coffee and alcohol, being overweight, and heredity.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
This disease is often characterized by bright red blood in the stool, but it can also be found on toilet paper or underwear if the bleeding is significant.
It can also cause a hard lump or painful swelling to appear in the anus. Finally, blood loss and painful sensations can also lead to unbearable itching and leakage of mucus from the anus.
There are two different types of hemorrhoids because we are talking about a crisis of internal hemorrhoids or external hemorrhoids.
Type of hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids, which are less common than external, develop inside the anus or in the lower part of the rectum. Thus it forms a small bump, and it tends to develop in 4 stages if not treated in time:
- In the first degree, hemorrhoid remains inside the anus and is often painless.
- In the second degree, hemorrhoid comes out of the anus at the time of stool, but it recovers on its own once the defecation ends.
- In the third degree, it has become more extensive. It, therefore, must automatically be replaced in the anus with the finger because it no longer returns to its initial position on its own.
- In the fourth and final degree, the hemorrhoids are enormous and cannot be replaced inside the anus; they look like external hemorrhoids.
- Internal hemorrhoids do not contain nerve cells, unlike external ones. Therefore, they are challenging to detect because they do not necessarily cause pain, which means that the patient is often unaware of them. A painless medical examination using an anoscope reveals the presence of these growths.
External hemorrhoids, the most common, form around the anus and grow directly under the skin.
This creates a ball, which can visually resemble a swollen bag. They are often painful because of the nerve cells in them, and most of the time, they lead to bleeding during bowel movements.
Whatever the type of hemorrhoids, it is essential to consult a doctor when the first tangible symptoms appear to not worsen the situation, especially in the event of anal bleeding.
It is also necessary to verify that the cause of the pain and discomfort is indeed a hemorrhoidal attack because anal pain or bleeding can also be a symptom of colorectal cancer or anal fissures.
Causes and symptoms of hemorrhoids
- The causes and symptoms of hemorrhoids vary between individuals. The cause of varicose veins in this area is the force pushing of stool, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
- But they can also be favored by other factors such as pregnancy, vaginal childbirth, poor diet, excessive cycling or horseback riding, often carrying heavy loads, or practicing sodomy.
- There may be other causes, but in general, hemorrhoids are caused by errors in lifestyle or a physiological change.
- Regarding symptoms, the pathology of external hemorrhoids is indicated first of all by itching, irritation, and pain in the anal part.
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
- In the early stages, internal hemorrhoids often go unnoticed.
- Symptoms are often noticeable for a few days before recovery and then recur during the next episode.
- There is often a noticeable swelling in the anal area. In more advanced cases of internal hemorrhoids, bumps protrude from the anus (all the time or during bowel movements).
- Hemorrhoids are not always painful. If there is pain, complications can be suspected.
- There may be bleeding and pain during bowel movements.
- It happens that one notices fluid flows from the anus.
- Symptoms can be relieved in different ways.
- For itching, cold water compresses are recommended.
- Some over-the-counter products are available on the market to relieve itching. Those based on shark liver oil do not relieve pain, while products containing hydrocortisone or benzocaine should only be used with caution for short periods.
- To relieve pain, it is possible to use acetaminophen, which is non-irritating. However, it is recommended to avoid acetylsalicylic acid and ibuprofen, as these products can aggravate bleeding. Topical pain relievers may also be used if needed.
- Codeine and other opiate derivatives should be avoided, as they predispose to constipation and may exacerbate symptoms.
- Of course, if you are prone to developing hemorrhoids, applying the preventive measures listed below is recommended.
- Surgery is sometimes used when a venous thrombosis affects the external hemorrhoid, and the pain is bothersome.
- However, this procedure is not unanimous because the inconveniences that will result from the surgery can be more annoying than the original problem.
- In the case of internal hemorrhoids that are very bothersome and do not resolve their symptoms, some medical treatments may be considered: Ligation, coagulation, sclerotherapy, and removal of the tissue that hosts hemorrhoid.
- Hemorrhoidal attacks occur most of the time without real danger to health, but some complications can occur if they are not treated promptly or adequately.
- The most common is hemorrhoidal thrombosis, which forms a blood clot in a vein. This does not pose any danger to the body but often causes severe pain challenging to bear.
- So it is recommended more than treating the crisis at the first signs to avoid reaching this stage. In the case of external hemorrhoids, resorption of the clot can lead to the formation of minor strains, which are small, painless, and benign swellings.
- It is also possible to see the appearance of hemorrhoidal bleeding, which is difficult to detect because the blood does not mix with the stool.
- When this occurs, it can lead to anemia if the bleeding is severe enough, but it cannot be fatal. The last complication, which rarely occurs, is ulceration of the wound, its extension over a larger area.
- Several reasons may explain the onset of the hemorrhoidal crisis, among which we find.
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea leads to defecation disorder and thus inflammation due to the abnormal stimulation of the veins.
- Pregnancy and the puerperium, because about 4 out of 10 women suffer from hemorrhoidal attacks during their pregnancy. This is explained by the pressure imposed by the weight of the child and childbirth, which generates a significant momentum.
- Gender, in general, men are more susceptible to this disease than women.
- Genetics is also responsible for the emergence of these crises. In fact, there is a tendency if several members of the same family have already fallen victim to this phenomenon.
- Age, because after the age of fifty, the chances of developing a hemorrhoidal crisis are much more significant due to the loss of tissue color.
- Weight gain, as the pressure on the hemorrhoidal veins in a sitting position, is more significant, and thus the possibility of infection.
- Poor sitting postures or regularly lifting heavy weights because the spasms of the veins again are abnormal or very violent.
- kernicterus, because it can lead to fibrosis, leading to an increase in blood pressure in the portal vein.
- Eat spicy foods as this causes irritation and can cause additional burns.
How do you treat hemorrhoids?
Many solutions exist to treat hemorrhoidal crises, whether through medications, natural solutions, simple tricks, or even surgery as a last resort. However, it is still highly recommended to consult your doctor regarding this type of ailment, who can accurately guide you towards the appropriate treatment that you should adopt.
Some tips that may help you:
- Mild hemorrhoids often resolve without treatment. Adopting healthy lifestyle habits and having good hygiene often relieves the discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.
- It is necessary to wash (shower) daily.
- Clean the anal area well with a soft cloth dampened with water after defecation.
- Avoid scented toilet paper.
- Avoid underwear made of synthetic fibers.
- Try as much as possible to exclude annoying foods from your diet. Alcohol, caffeine, and strong-tasting spices should be avoided. It is also not recommended to eat a lot of dietary fiber during seizures, although patients with hemorrhoids benefit from eating enough fiber to prevent constipation.
How do you prevent hemorrhoids?
- To prevent hemorrhoids, recommended dietary measures to prevent constipation are essential, including increasing your dietary fiber intake and drinking enough fluids.
- If necessary, take a dietary fiber supplement.
- Regular physical activity is recommended.
- It is best not to sit continuously for long periods. If you have a job that requires you to do this, take regular breaks.
- Have a bowel movement as soon as you feel the urge, and avoid sitting on the toilet seat after a bowel movement. This is not a good place to read or do crossword puzzles!
- Do not force unnecessarily while passing the stool.
- Avoid as much as possible taking therapeutic laxatives, whether orally or in the form of suppositories.
Hemorrhoids and pregnancy.
Pregnancy is one of the best-identified risk factors. More precisely, in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the uterus, having a large size, presses on the abdominal veins. The child is not afraid of any consequences.
On the other hand, no medication should be taken without medical advice. Note that childbirth and the postpartum period (the time between childbirth and the return of menstruation) also lead to the onset of hemorrhoids.
Why are hemorrhoids more common during pregnancy?
Pregnant women are more likely to get hemorrhoids because they suffer from constipation a lot and also because the weight and size of the uterus impede the return of venous blood to the heart.
In addition, the risk of developing hemorrhoids is high in the days following childbirth due to the motivational effort necessary for childbirth.
The information in this article is provided to you for information purposes only and will allow you to ask your doctor informed questions.