Related Conditions And Causes Of Hemorrhoids
Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea can lead to or worsen hemorrhoids. The prolonged sitting or straining that may occur when you’re dealing with these issues puts pressure on the hemorrhoidal tissue.
Hemorrhoids also often develop during pregnancy. This is similarly due to greater pressure in the area but can also be due to an increase in blood volume and as a result of hormonal changes that increase the likelihood of swelling. Constipation during pregnancy is a common cause of hemorrhoids.
Both Age & Gender Can Affect The Chances Of Hemorrhoids Developing
It should be pointed out that both a persons gender and age can affect a their chances of developing hemorrhoids. For example, as we get older the connective tissues that hold and support the veins in our anus and rectum can weaken and cause hemorrhoids to form.
Hemorrhoids can also affect women more than men in that they are very common during pregnancy. However, hemorrhoids are also extremely common in men in that sitting for long periods of time, improperly lifting heavy objects, or straining while on the toilet can cause them to form.
It is important to note that while hemorrhoids do not typically affect one gender more than the other, women are more prone to report the presence of hemorrhoids to their doctors than men, but tend to receive less treatment for hemorrhoids.
How Do You Treat External Hemorrhoids Diagnosis
External hemorrhoids appear as bumps and/or dark areas surrounding the anus. If the lump is tender, it suggests that the hemorrhoid is thrombosed. Any lump needs to be carefully followed, however, and should not be assumed to be a hemorrhoid since there are rare cancers of the anal area that may masquerade as hemorrhoids.
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Severe Hemorrhoids Vs Mild Hemorrhoids: Stages
Many physicians use a grading system to categorize hemorrhoids along four stages:
- First-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that bleed, but do not prolapse. These are slightly enlarged hemorrhoids, but they do not protrude outside the anus.
- Second-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that prolapse and retract on their own . These may come out of the anus during certain activities like passing stool, and then return back inside the body.
- Third-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that prolapse and must be pushed back in by a finger.
- Fourth-degree hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids that prolapse and cannot be pushed back in the anal canal. Fourth-degree hemorrhoids also include hemorrhoids that are thrombosed or that pull much of the lining of the rectum through the anus.
Knowing The Facts Can Help You Deal With Hemorrhoids Better
Hemorrhoids swollen veins in or around the anus or lower rectum are a common problem that many people experience but few openly discuss. This secrecy can create embarrassment and even mystery around something thats actually not complicated. If you have hemorrhoids, there are things you can do. But first, youll want to sort fact from fiction when it comes to reducing symptoms and preventing more hemorrhoids.
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What Medications And Other Products Treat Hemorrhoids
Medications are used to control symptoms by softening the stool, decreasing the inflammation of the hemorrhoids, and treating the pain. Stool softeners work by increasing the water and fat content within the stool allowing it to be passed more easily. Docusate sodium is the most often recommended drug in this class .
Inflammation can be controlled with over-the-counter creams or suppositories. Some brand ingredients include low dose topical anesthetics to help with symptoms. Others contain astringents that help shrink the swollen tissues. Both may contain low dose steroids to decrease inflammation. People with diabetes should check with their pharmacist or health care professional before using OTC hemorrhoid treatments. If the medication contains a vasoconstrictor it may elevate blood sugar levels if absorbed in large amounts. Prescription-strength lidocaine or hydrocortisone may be offered by the health care professional.
Grade 2 and 3 hemorrhoids are initially treated the same way, using techniques to destroy hemorrhoids. These include injecting the hemorrhoid vein to make it sclerose or harden, using rubber bands to choke off the blood supply and make the hemorrhoidal tissue shrivel, or other procedures that cause the mucosa to shrivel and die.
High Fat And Low Fiber: The Diet Behind Hemorrhoids
For men, hemorrhoids are commonly connected to the diet. It can be easy to slip into a bad diet and connectively, bad habits to go along with it.
Sometimes, though, men dont realize the impact the bi-weekly, high-fat burger has on their health, and ultimately, their hemorrhoids.
High-fat diets limit the number of nutrients you consume, and this can be detrimental to your health.
Yes, bacon every morning sounds good, but what is it really doing to your health?
Foods that are high in fat limit your metabolism and your ability to push foods through your body, hence the risk of constipation. A combination of constipation and meals that dont chalk up to the daily recommendation of fiber consumption leads to one thing for men, inflamed hemorrhoids.
And as you already know, constipation is one of the leading causes of a painful hemorrhoid flare-up.
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Myth: Hemorrhoids Increase The Risk Of Cancer
Fact: Theres no evidence that hemorrhoids increase the risk of cancer, Kimbrough says. The only concern with hemorrhoids is that people with a history of hemorrhoids can sometimes be dismissive of having bleeding with bowel movements and miss warning signs.” If youre older than 50 or have someone in your immediate family with a history of colorectal cancer, you should be mindful of any changes in symptoms or any new digestive symptoms that accompany common hemorrhoid symptoms. Make sure you share this information with your doctor.
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get hemorrhoids?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What lifestyle changes can I make to keep from getting hemorrhoids again?
- When will symptoms improve?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An estimated 15 million Americans have sought treatments for hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. But many more suffer needlessly. Dont be too embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. If hemorrhoids cause pain or discomfort, your provider has treatments that can help. You can also take steps to keep hemorrhoids from coming back.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
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Myth: What You Eat Doesnt Affect Hemorrhoids
Fact: Constipation is one of the biggest risk factors for developing hemorrhoids, Kimbrough says. Eating a high-fiber diet and staying well hydrated can help keep bowel movements soft and prevent constipation and straining, he says. The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommends consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. If you arent getting enough dietary fiber, talk to your doctor about fiber supplements that may be beneficial.
Hemorrhoid Treatment In A Doctors Office With Or Without Surgery
Medical procedures may be needed for hemorrhoids that dont go away with home treatments.
Painful external hemorrhoids can be excised during an office visit following a shot of local anesthetic to numb the area.
For internal hemorrhoids, a few office procedures may be considered. In rubber band ligation, the most common hemorrhoid procedure performed in the United States, the doctor places a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off the hemorrhoid’s blood supply. The hemorrhoid typically shrinks and falls off within about a week, though several quick follow-up visits may be required to completely get rid of the hemorrhoid.
Other procedures include sclerotherapy, in which a chemical injected into the hemorrhoid causes scar tissue to form, shrinking the hemorrhoid and infrared coagulation, in which an intense beam of infrared light causes the scar tissue to form, cutting off the blood supply and shrinking the hemorrhoid.
If you have a large external hemorrhoid, both internal and external hemorrhoids, or an internal hemorrhoid thats prolapsed , a surgical operation called a hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary, though few patients require this procedure.
Another option that aims to reduce postoperative pain is a stapled hemorrhoidopexy, in which a device pulls the hemorrhoidal tissue upward and to its normal position, stapling it in place.
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When Is It Time To See Your Doctor
While most people think of hemorrhoids as a minor problem, they can be very painful, explains Dr. Buzas. Knowing when to treat conditions such as hemorrhoids on your own and when its better to seek help can help you avoid unnecessary complications.If youre experiencing any of the following situations related to your hemorrhoids, make an appointment to see your doctor:
- You experience rectal bleeding or see bright red blood on your toilet paper.
- You have pain and discomfort in your rectum or anus.
- Youve tried over-the-counter remedies for more than one week without relieving your symptoms.
- You have bowel movements that are maroon or dark like tar in color, which can be a sign of bleeding.
If your rectal bleeding wont stop and you feel dizzy or faint, you should consider it a medical emergency that warrants a trip to the emergency room.When you see your doctor for hemorrhoids, youll first discuss your symptoms. Be sure to answer any questions directly and honestly, to get the best diagnosis. Your doctor will then examine you for external hemorrhoids, internal hemorrhoids and other potential issues.
Getting your hemorrhoids checked out is no different than and as important as getting a routine colonoscopy, Pap test, mammogram or prostate exam, Dr. Buzas notes. Theres no reason to be reluctant or delay your care.
Why You Get Hemorrhoids: You Don’t Get Enough Fiber And Water
Anything that limits your time in the bathroom and makes your stools more pliable is a good thing, says Dr. Bernstein. Fiber has been touted endlessly as a make-you-go tool, and for good reason: Fiber adds bulk to your digestive system, shortening the time it takes for waste to travel through the colon.
Water, too, speeds the process by keeping your intestines smooth and flexible.
Ideally, your poop should be soft and easy to pass, Dr. Bernstein says. Check out the Bristol Stool Chart for some insight on how you rate.
Anything that involves having to push is usually an indication that youre not as hydrated as you could be, adds Dr. Bartlett.
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How To Prevent Hemorrhoids
First, make your bathroom time into an express experience, says Mitchell Bernstein, M.D., Director in the Division of Colon & Rectal Surgery at NYU Langone Health. In fact, you shouldn’t spend longer than 15 minutes on the toilet.
The longer you linger, the more pressure youll be exerting in your intra-abdominal region, he says. That can cause blood to pool in the veins in and around your rectum, leading to hemorrhoids.
Also, increase your water and fiber intake. Shoot for at least 25 grams of fiber per day from sources such as oatmeal, prunes, fruits, vegetables, and beans, says Dr. Sheth.
Youve heard that directive before, and heres just one more reason to focus on it. With that combo, your stools will become more pliable, shortening the time of transit through your digestive system, and also making it easier to poop.
That reduces or even eliminates the need for any straining or pushing when youre on the toiletan action that causes significant pressure on the veins and can lead to inflammation.
When your time to poop arrivesalways a joyous eventdont put it off. The longer you delay, the more water will be reabsorbed into the colon, making your stool harder to pass. That increases your chances of constipation and hemorrhoids.
How to Tell If Your Poop is Normal:
Hemorrhoid Symptoms: What To Look For
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that form in your lower rectum, usually as a result of excess strain. This strain can be caused by constipation, hard bowel movements, pregnancy, or jobs or other activities that involve long periods of sitting or standing. Being overweight or obese can also increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids, since the extra weight around your torso increases the pressure on your lower belly and bowels. Internal hemorrhoids form inside your rectum, while external hemorrhoids form in the skin around your anus. Sometimes, a clot will form in the hemorrhoid area, causing whats called a thrombosed hemorrhoid .
As noted, rectal bleeding can be a symptom of a hemorrhoid, but not all hemorrhoids bleed. When bleeding does occur, the blood will be bright red. Darker blood typically indicates a problem somewhere in your colon or small intestine. Since bleeding can also be a sign of rectal or colon cancer, it’s always a good idea to have bleeding evaluated by one of our team to determine what’s causing it.
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How Do You Treat Haemorrhoids
Haemorrhoids are usually easily treated, either through making simple changes to your lifestyle as weve talked about, or through over-the-counter creams, ointments and suppositories, like Germoloids, which help to numb the pain and itching as well as shrink piles.
Sometimes, if other methods of treatment have not been effective, your doctor may recommend other surgical or non-surgical treatments to remove them, however, this is usually only for very large and painful haemorrhoids.
If you think you might have piles, its worth going through your symptoms with your local pharmacist so they can help you find a suitable treatment and make sure that the symptoms are not a sign of anything more serious.
Signs Your Hemorrhoids Warrant A Doctor’s Visit
Your doctor may also check for blood in the stool, examine the muscle tone of your anus, and perform a rectal exam to diagnose internal hemorrhoids. This is done in the doctor’s office with a gloved, lubricated finger and an anoscope . Your doctor may also recommend additional tests to rule out other causes of bleeding, especially if you are over age 40.
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Do Gay Men Get More Hemorrhoids
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Procedures For Hemorrhoids Treatment
Some hemorrhoids can’t be managed with conservative treatments alone, either because symptoms persist or because an internal hemorrhoid has prolapsed. Fortunately, a number of minimally invasive hemorrhoid treatments are available that are less painful than traditional hemorrhoid removal and allow a quicker recovery. These procedures are generally performed in a surgeon’s office or as outpatient surgery in a hospital.
Band it. The most commonly used hemorrhoid treatment in the United States is rubber band ligation, in which a small elastic band is placed around the base of a hemorrhoid . The band causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and the surrounding tissue to scar as it heals, holding the hemorrhoid in place. It takes two to four procedures, done six to eight weeks apart, to completely eliminate the hemorrhoid. Complications, which are rare, include mild pain or tightness , bleeding, and infection. Other office procedures include laser or infrared coagulation, sclerotherapy, and cryosurgery. They all work on the same principle as rubber band ligation but are not quite as effective in preventing recurrence. Side effects and recurrence vary with the procedure, so consult your physician about what’s best for your situation.
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Alcohol Consumption And Hemorrhoids
There is a dehydrating factor in alcohol that is an indirect link to inflamed hemorrhoids.
In excess, alcohol can bring about the symptoms of hemorrhoids, and this is because its consumption prevents the body from properly absorbing fluids.
Through dehydration arises the main source of hemorrhoid causation hard stools. Stools that are difficult to pass may tear the delicate lining of the lower rectal area, disrupting the hemorrhoids and resulting in bleeding during a bowel movement.
Instead of reaching for the extra cocktail or beer, go instead for a glass of water.
Better yet, drink at least eight glasses of water a day and avoid the overindulgence of alcohol. By doing so, you will, in turn, make your stools softer and easier to pass.
Men can take steps in the prevention of inflamed and uncomfortable hemorrhoids.
Simple changes like drinking more water, slowly increasing the amount of fiber in the diet, and exercising regularly can all help keep the colon regular and soften stools, eliminating straining during bowel movements.
Now that you know what causes hemorrhoids, do your best to work to address them.
These small steps can greatly reduce and prevent inflammation in the hemorrhoids, and with these, men can hopefully avoid flare-ups altogether.