Hemorrhoids: Types, Causes and Treatments

By | February 29, 2020

Please Note: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.

Hemorrhoids are clumps of enlarged blood vessels located in your lower rectum. Also known as piles, these are the most common and troublesome diseases you may experience.

When not swollen and inflamed, Hemorrhoids actually help control your bowel movements. However, when your hemorrhoidal clumps of vessels become enlarged, you can consider it a disease.

Throughout human history, Hemorrhoids have caused severe pain and irritation. However, the good news is: they are treatable.

This article looks into the types, causes, and symptoms of hemorrhoids and the ways to treat them.

Types of Hemorrhoids 

Generally, Hemorrhoids are classified into two categories: internal and external.

Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal Hemorrhoids usually occur inside your rectum or anus. It’s difficult to feel or understand these types of Hemorrhoids as they are less painful. However, it can still cause irritation, pain, and bleeding.

External Hemorrhoids

External Hemorrhoids develop outside your anus. These are the most common and unfortunately the most painful types you will ever experience. Apart from itching and bleeding, you may also have trouble sitting.

If diagnosed early, the disease can be treated successfully. However, to be sure when you need to go to the doctor, you need to learn more about the causes and symptoms of Haemorrhoids.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

If you’re experiencing excruciating pain and irritation in your anus, you’re not alone. About 50% of adults have had Hemorrhoids at least once in their lifetime.

Experts aren’t sure what the exact cause is. However, there are some possible factors that cause pain and swelling, including:

  • Chronic constipation
  • Obesity
  • Straining continuously during a bowel movement
  • Sitting for a longer time, particularly in the toilet
  • History of Haemorrhoids in your family
  • Pregnancy
  • Eating a low-fiber diet
  • Having anal intercourse

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

The symptoms vary depending on the types of Hemorrhoids you’re suffering from. You’re highly likely to develop piles if you’re having the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Irritation and itching in your anus
  • Painful, itchy, and hard lump around your anus
  • Bleeding
  • Fecal leakage
  • Inflammation

Treatments of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids aren’t life-threatening and can be cured if diagnosed in time. While they can be easily diagnosed by a visual examination of your anus, your doctor may conduct some more tests such as a digital rectal exam and sigmoidoscopy.

Starting from home remedies to dietary change and medical treatments, there are several ways to treat hemorrhoids or piles. Some of them may not provide a complete cure, but they will relieve the pain and discomfort.

Dietary Change

Straining due to chronic constipation can worsen the symptoms of Haemorrhoids. That’s why you need to bring some changes in your food habits.

Add more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your regular meal. These types of foods soften your stool and increase its bulk. Some commercial supplements of fiber will do the same.

Make sure you slowly add the fiber in your food as it might create problems with gas.

Home Remedies

Whether it’s a warm sitz bath or an over-the-counter cream, these home remedies can help soothe the pain and discomfort while you’re undergoing treatment for hemorrhoids.

One of the best ways to reduce the pain is to soak your anus in a sitz bath for 10-15 minutes every day. Also, using a cold compress in your anus can reduce the inflammation.

You can try a hemorrhoids cream or hydrocortisone that can ease the discomfort of your existing hemorrhoids. You can find them in any drug store. However, do consult with your doctor before using such creams.

Medical Treatment

If the home remedies and dietary changes can’t reduce the pain and discomfort, you have to see a doctor for proper treatment.

Your doctor may conduct several procedures such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, or doppler-guided artery ligation, etc. based on the severity of your piles.

Sclerotherapy

It’s one of the oldest forms of treatment where a liquid is injected into the base of your hemorrhoids. The liquid is mostly phenol or quinine urea that helps shrink the size of the piles.

You may experience some pain after getting injected, which usually goes away the next day. However, sclerotherapy isn’t a permanent solution. You may require further treatment as the symptoms tend to come back after a few years.

Rubber Band Ligation

The rubber band ligation procedure involves cutting off the circulation of the piles by placing a rubber band around it. It will then be replaced by an ulcer for healing.

This procedure may cause scarring, bleeding, and even bacterial infection,  meaning that only an expert doctor should perform it.

Doppler-Guided Artery Ligation

A minimally-invasive procedure that cuts off the blood supply to your hemorrhoids instead of removing them. It’s safer than rubber band ligation and sclerotherapy.

While it is said that doppler-guided artery ligation doesn’t cause any further pain, around 20% of the patients still feel some pain during bowel movements.

Heat Coagulation

Some medical procedures, such as direct-current electrotherapy and bipolar diathermy, use heat to destroy the tissues around the hemorrhoids. These procedures also cause frequent pain and scarring.

If you want to go for heat coagulation, consult your doctor first regarding the possible outcome.

Surgery

If the non-surgical methods don’t work, you may have to go for surgery. A hemorrhoidectomy requires cutting off both the internal and external Haemorrhoids.

The doctor may also suggest you go for a proctoplasty. This procedure will expand the removal of the tissue higher into your anus so that the doctor can remove the prolapsing anal lining.

You are highly likely to suffer from severe postoperative pain. Take some painkillers after discussing it with your doctor.

Prevention of Hemorrhoids

If you want to avoid Haemorrhoids at a certain age, you need to be careful from now on. You can actually reduce the risk of piles by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  • Consume high-fiber foods and supplements, which will help soften your stool.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do not stand or sit for a long time.
  • Go to the bathroom whenever needed.
  • Do not strain during bowel movements.
  • Do regular exercise.

Final Thoughts

Hemorrhoids are extremely painful and can cause further complications such as blood clots and anemia if you’re not careful. However, successful treatment is possible based on the severity.

The best way to get rid of this painful disease is to follow the prevention methods. With regular exercise and dietary change, you can reduce the risk of getting Haemorrhoids.

This content is brought to you by Shawn Richard.

Photo: Shutterstock

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