Types Of Hemorrhoids And Associated Symptoms
Dr. Miller: While hemorrhoids aren’t the usual cause, as you pointed out, they’re both internal and external hemorrhoids, my understanding is that the external hemorrhoids can be painful.
Dr. Pickron: They certainly can. The most common thing we see when they are painful is a thrombosis, where you get a big blood clot with the pain and swelling.
Dr. Miller: Ouch. How do you treat that?
Dr. Pickron: Most of the time, we let them these reabsorb on their own. If patients come in within the first two or three days after the event happens, then there is some benefit to removing it surgically because they’ll get better faster, but usually once they’re kind of over the pain curve and their symptoms are getting better, then the pain and swelling will generally just take care of itself.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I have hemorrhoids?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can do that can relieve or prevent hemorrhoids?
- I saw blood on toilet paper. Is this serious?
- Are having hemorrhoids a sign of another health condition?
- Will I always have hemorrhoids?
- Is there medicine I can take for hemorrhoids? Are there side effects?
How Long Do Hemorrhoid Symptoms Last
If your hemorrhoids are small, your symptoms may clear up in a few days without treatment. You may also need to make simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Some internal hemorrhoids become so enlarged that they stick out of the anus. These are called prolapsed hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoids can take longer to heal and may require treatment from a doctor.
Some women will develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy. This is because the increased pressure in your abdomen, especially in the third trimester, may make the veins in your rectum and anus larger.
Pregnancy hormones may also make it more likely for your veins to swell. If you develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, your symptoms may last until you give birth.
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Signs Of External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids are swellings that form under the anal skin and become prominent on or around the outside of the anus. Signs and symptoms that a person may have external hemorrhoids include:
- Lumps around the anus
- Itching around the anus, i.e. pruritus ani
- Discomfort due to sensations felt around the anus
- Bleeding from the anus during and after bowel movement
- A feeling of not having fully evacuated the bowels
- Difficulty fully cleaning the anus after bowel movement
- Discharge of mucus or feces
External hemorrhoids have the following characteristics:
- A small lump just outside the anus
- A rubbery texture
- Skin colored or reddish appearance
- There may be more than one
Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented Or Avoided
Just about everyone has hemorrhoids at some time. But some things may make you more likely to get them. People whose parents had hemorrhoids may be more likely to get them. Pregnant women often get hemorrhoids because of the strain from carrying the baby and from giving birth. Being very overweight or standing or lifting too much can make hemorrhoids worse.
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Treatments For Hemorrhoids Vs Rectal Prolapse
Treatments for hemorrhoids
More severe cases of hemorrhoids may require surgery. Your doctor may recommend treating milder cases of hemorrhoids with the following at-home remedies, including:
- Sit in a bathtub full of plain, warm water several times per day.
- Place ice packs on the hemorrhoids to help with swelling.
- Apply hemorrhoid creams or inserting suppositories.
- Add more fiber to your diet.
- Take stool softeners.
Treatments for rectal prolapse
Treatments for rectal prolapse usually focus on preventing constipation and straining. Kegel exercises and stool softeners can also help. Rectal prolapse will sometimes go away on its own. However, severe cases of rectal prolapse may require surgery, such as:
- Repair can be made through the abdomen to attach the rectum to the backbone to keep it in place.
- Repair can be made through the rectum to remove the prolapsed section.
- Some repairs combine both techniques through the abdomen and rectum.
Talk to your doctor about whether you have hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse so you can get the right treatment and relieve your pain and discomfort.
Different Kinds Of Hemorrhoids Can Cause Similar Symptoms
When internal hemorrhoids do progress, they will often protrude outside the anus, becoming prolapsed hemorrhoids. You can read about prolapsed hemorrhoids in several of our blog posts: Prolapsed Internal Hemorrhoids, What is a Prolapsed Hemorrhoid, and Rectal Prolapse or Hemorrhoids?). An internal hemorrhoid that has reached this stage can cause some external hemorrhoid-like symptoms, such as itchiness and swelling. Since prolapsed hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids can cause similar symptoms, its sometimes difficult to know which is which without a doctors professional diagnosis. It is also not uncommon for both to be present at once.
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Hemorrhoid Blood Clot Tips
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are the product of a blood clot forming inside of a external hemorrhoid.
External hemorrhoids can be painful and uncomfortable, and the formation of a blood clot inside of them certainly does not make it any better.
One of the most important things to remember is that a clot will usually go away on its own.
Dont try to pop a thrombosed hemorrhoid yourself, as you could develop an infection.
Gently soak in a warm bath or a sitz bath for twenty minutes to alleviate the pain of a blood clot.
The best method of dealing with a blood clot is to see your physician or medical care provider.
Your blood clot may need to be lanced and drained, which is best left to a medical professional. Blood clots can leave behind a skin tag, and this can irritate through friction.
A proctologist or gastroenterologist should be able to help remove the blood clot safely and efficiently.
The most common procedures for removal of bloody hemorrhoids include:
Is Blood In Stool Hemorrhoids Or Cancer
Rectal bleeding is usually the sign of the general ailment of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are so common that nearly half of American adults over the age of 50 have hemorrhoids or have previously experienced them.
However, consulting with a physician or hemorrhoid doctor is very important and something we recommend.
The truth is, we all have hemorrhoids, as they are the veins in the lower region of the rectum. The problem arises when they become swollen, damaged, or inflamed.
Having hemorrhoids is not necessarily life-threatening, and hemorrhoids typically go away on their own after just a few days. Maintaining a healthy and fibrous diet can prevent hemorrhoid flare-ups.
Colon cancer, on the other hand, typically comes with a slew of other symptoms, and these symptoms will arise suspicion.
Vomiting, sudden weight loss, change in your daily bowel habits, abdominal painall of these symptoms usually accompany the rectal bleeding and should help you realize that something is amiss.
Of course, rectal bleeding may indicate other lower intestinal issues like IBS, be sure to let your doctor know all of the symptoms you are experiencing.
Regardless of whether or not your rectal bleeding is from the typical issue of hemorrhoids, you should tell your doctor. Depending on your age and other hereditary and genetic factors, rectal bleeding could be a sign of something more serious than hemorrhoids.
Your doctor may want to do additional examinations only to be sure.
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How Can I Treat Hemorrhoids At Home
Hemorrhoids often go away on their own without treatment. Symptoms like pain and bleeding may last one week or slightly longer. In the meantime, you can take these steps to ease symptoms:
- Apply over-the-counter medications containing lidocaine, witch hazel or hydrocortisone to the affected area.
- Drink more water.
- Increase fiber intake through diet and supplements. Try to obtain at least 20-35 grams of daily fiber intake
- Soak in a warm bath for 10 to 20 minutes a day.
- Soften stool by taking laxatives.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and inflammation.
- Use toilet paper with lotion or flushable wet wipes to gently pat and clean your bottom after pooping. You can also use a tissue or washcloth moistened with water.
Herbal And Home Remedies
In addition to OTC and prescription medicated suppositories, you can make and use alternative suppositories. These are designed to provide comfort and relief, but they dont have active ingredients to reduce swelling, irritation, and pain.
Coconut oil suppositories can be used with hemorrhoids. These are formed by freezing coconut oil in small cylinders. When youre ready to insert the suppository, you can remove one and quickly insert it into the rectum.
The cooled oil provides instant relief. Coconut oil may also provide prolonged relief due to potential anti-inflammatory properties.
You can also make your own laxative suppositories. Combine mineral oil and a solid oil, such as coconut oil or cocoa butter. Freeze into cylinders, and remove one when youre ready to insert.
Mineral oil is absorbed by the body and can help ease stool through your intestines.
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Hemorrhoids Are Common So Dont Be Shy About Seeking Relief
Most people dont want to talk about hemorrhoids. But keeping silent could stand in the way getting relief for a condition thats very common. And your doctor certainly doesnt mind addressing the topic of hemorrhoids. In fact, they want to discuss your symptoms. Because what you think is a hemorrhoid could be something more serious. Its best to get your hemorrhoids checked out early, for your peace of mind and to protect your health.Doctors have seen and heard everything, so you dont have to feel embarrassed when talking about hemorrhoids especially since nearly half of all adults experience them by age 50, says Dr. Christopher Buzas, a colorectal surgeon at Geisinger. However, its essential to get a medical diagnosis to rule out other conditions, like colon cancer or irritable bowel syndrome, and not rely on your own opinion about whats causing the problem.
Causes Of Internal Hemorrhoids
In some cases, hemorrhoids can be an unavoidable issue associated with aging.
Hemorrhoids can develop any time there is an extra degree of pressure on the rectum. Some sources of this strain include:
- Constipation and diarrhea: These conditions both put stress on the rectal area, either by straining too much in the case of constipation or by frequent bowel movements in the case of diarrhea. These issues can often be resolved with diet and lifestyle changes but may also be associated with other conditions like IBS and IBD.
- Unhealthy diet: A diet that is high in fat and/or low in fiber can affect our bowel movements, causing constipation or diarrhea. As described above, this can put pressure on the rectum and increase time sitting on the toilet.
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Many women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy due to the increased pressure on the pelvis that a growing fetus can cause. Straining during childbirth can also result in hemorrhoids.
- Obesity: People who are obese are at a higher risk of developing both internal and external hemorrhoids because of increased pressure around the rectum and because obesity may be associated with poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
- Long periods of sitting: Regular activity is an important aspect to prevent hemorrhoids and other anorectal health issues. Sitting for long stretches can put undue strain on your rectal area.
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What Causes Hemorrhoids During Menopause
I mentioned previously that many women develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy because of the weight and position of the baby putting pressure on the rectum and anal area, which increases blood flow and the size of veins. The hormone changes in pregnancy also have a big effect.
Hormones are also villains when it comes to hemorrhoids in menopause, and for many women, this will be their first experience of this tiresome, embarrassing condition. Hormonal and physical changes during perimenopause and menopause can also trigger gastrointestinal problems, like constipation or diarrhea, which increases the chance of developing hemorrhoids.
Whatever your grandma might have told you, you cannot develop piles or make them worse by sitting on cold or wet walls, benches or chairs outdoors. It just might not be very comfortable!
Do I Have Hemorrhoids Or Rectal Prolapse
Hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse can cause similar symptoms in your rectum. However, there are significant differences in how the two conditions manifest. Understanding the signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids versus rectal prolapse can be vital in making sure you receive the proper treatment.
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A Physical Exam Is Usually Done To Make A Hemorrhoids Diagnosis
Hemorrhoids may feel embarrassing to address, which is why many people try to diagnose themselves and avoid seeing a healthcare provider. However, its important to see a healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Hemorrhoids can have symptoms similar to other, more serious conditions, and those should be ruled out before assuming symptoms are from hemorrhoid. In most cases, hemorrhoids can be easily diagnosed with a history and a physical exam.
What Can You Do For Relief
If you have hemorrhoids, lifestyle changes may help them heal faster. One cause of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movements. Adding more high-fiber foods to your diet, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, can help soften your stool and make it easier to pass.
You should also drink plenty of water to help relieve constipation and reduce straining during bowel movements.
Here are some additional things that may help relieve symptoms:
- Minimize the time you sit on the toilet.
- When you feel the urge to move your bowels, go as soon as possible.
- Put your feet on a small stool during bowel movements to change the position of your rectum.
- If youre pregnant, sleep on your side. This will help relieve some of the pressure around your anus.
- Ask your doctor about taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement, such as psyllium or methylcellulose . A tablespoon of mineral oil added to food can also help soften stools.
- Keep the anal area clean. Take regular showers, and use moist wipes to clean the area around your anus after you pass a bowel movement.
- Use a sitz bath or sit in a warm tub for a few minutes to bathe the anal area.
You may also try using over-the-counter topical medications to ease discomfort, such as phenylephrine hemorrhoidal gel . These products are used if the hemorrhoids are bulging and inflamed.
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Is There A Cure For Hemorrhoids
So, despite your best efforts, menopause hormones have done their worst and you have developed hemorrhoids. Luckily, there are a few ways to help ease the discomfort and potentially even completely get rid of hemorrhoids.
Sometimes they just disappear on their own, but if they last more than seven days, it is time to think about consulting your doctor. In the meantime, wipe gently with damp toilet paper and blot with dry, good-quality toilet paper.
Take paracetamol to ease any pain . If the pain and itching is bothering you, try taking a warm bath with plain Epsom salts. This is best done for 20 minutes after each bowel movement.
You can wrap an ice block in an old towel and place it in the area where the hemorrhoids are hurting to ease pain and itching. Some people swear by using frozen peas, which mold themselves in all the right places! You might not want to eat the partly-defrosted peas afterwards though, so mark them with a permanent marker so they are clearly for medical relief only.
You could ask a pharmacist about over-the-counter products which can help with pain, itching and swelling. I found a spray product which really helped without me having to actually touch the area. You can buy medication in cream, spray, gel and lotion form for external hemorrhoids and in suppository form for internal piles. There are products using only a blend of natural products if you prefer that way of dealing with things.
Is It A Hemorrhoid Or Something Else
Dr. Pickron: Most of the patients we see for anorectal pain don’t have hemorrhoids, but everybody has hemorrhoids to some degree.
Dr. Miller: Most don’t.
Dr. Pickron: Most don’t, but the real causes of pain are more things like fissures, an abscess, and other things that aren’t hemorrhoids.
Dr. Miller: Fissures can be incredibly painful.
Dr. Pickron: They’re horrible.
Dr. Miller: What causes a fissure?
Dr. Pickron: Usually it’s a tear and it happens directly in the front or directly in the back. Most of the time these things heal up just fine, but if they don’t and they get deep enough to where the anal sphincter gets irritated . . .
Dr. Miller: Ouch.
Dr. Pickron: . . . then you get a spasm of that muscle and that prevents the tear from healing and then you just enter this vicious cycle that just won’t quit.
Dr. Miller: So you use different therapies to try to repair that.
Dr. Pickron: Yeah, generally we focus not so much on the tear but on the muscle itself because if we could make the muscle relax and stop the spasm then the tear generally heals just fine on its own.
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What Can Be Mistaken For Hemorrhoids
Here are five different causes for hemorrhoid symptoms you need to know about:Colon cancer and rectal cancer. These cancers can occur near the rectum and cause bleeding and discomfort that are similar to hemorrhoid symptoms, says Dr. Inflammatory bowel disease . Anal fissures. Pruritis ani. Genital warts.Jun 23, 2013