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Harvard Medical School Guides delivers compact, practical information on important health concerns. These publications are smaller in scope than our Special Health Reports, but they are written in the same clear, easy-to-understand language, and they provide the authoritative health advice you expect from Harvard Health Publishing.
- Help for hemorrhoids
What causes hemorrhoids?Any increase in abdominal pressure may produce hemorrhoids however, some people can get hemorrhoids for no apparent reason. Typically, the problem is associated with chronic constipation or diarrhea, accompanied by straining during bowel movements and prolonged sitting on the toiletall of which interfere with blood flow to and from the rectum and the anus. Under these circumstances, blood starts to pool and enlarge the vessels of the hemorrhoidal plexus. We discuss symptoms and treatments for constipation in depth later in this report.
There are some factors associated with the development of hemorrhoids you cannot control, while others you can.
SymptomsSome people with hemorrhoids never have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, you may experience one or several of them, and their severity may vary. The most common symptoms include the following:
Severe pain is not a typical symptom, except in the case of a thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
Why Do Hemorrhoids Occur
Sometimes hemorrhoids develop for no reason, but often they are associated with chronic constipation or diarrhea, straining during bowel movements, and prolonged sitting on the toilet. You can reduce your risk by following these three easy steps:
- Get enough fiber in your diet
- Stay well hydrated
- Exercise regularly .
Warm Bath With Epsom Salt
Warm baths can help soothe irritation from hemorrhoids. Try using a sitz bath a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet seat so you can just immerse the affected area or take a bath in a tub, if you can.
Try a warm bath or a sitz bath for 20 minutes after each bowel movement. Adding Epsom salt to the bath can provide further relief by reducing pain.
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Bleeding During Bowel Movements
There are many underlying causes of rectal bleeding, including hemorrhoids. Blood associated with internal hemorrhoids is typically bright red, causes no pain, occurs with bowel movements, and may be mild to moderate in amount.
You cant assume, however, that your symptoms are due to hemorrhoids. If youve never been diagnosed with hemorrhoids or have noted a change in the characteristics of the bleeding youve associated with hemorrhoids, see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Are Suppositories An Option
Some drugs can also be used in the form of normal suppositories, or suppositories with gauze inserts . These are inserted into the anus, where they stay and release the drug unlike normal suppositories that release the drug further up the bowel. Itâs not clear whether suppositories can relieve the symptoms of enlarged hemorrhoids.
Also Check: How To Tell If You Have Hemorrhoids
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
You may have no noticeable symptoms from internal hemorrhoids. Sometimes, a bowel movement may irritate an internal hemorrhoid and cause bleeding.
If the internal hemorrhoid is pushed outside of your anal opening, you may have bleeding during bowel movements and symptoms in the anal area that include:
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Best For Hemorrhoid Shrinking: Dr Coles Herbal Balm Hemorrhoid Treatment
Chock-full of expert-recommended essential oils and ingredients like witch hazel, beeswax, olive oil, yarrow, and vitamin E, this organic balm numbs and shrinks hemorrhoids gently and effectively. When you open the tin, be sure to stir the contents with a fork, as the beeswax tends to settle on top and needs to be blended into the mixture. Apply a dime-sized amount to the irritated area three to four times a day.
This product has literally saved my life, one reviewer writes. I cant use over the counter or prescription treatments. This is the only product that I dont have a severe allergic reaction to. It soothes and comforts and helps shrink the hemorrhoids.
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How Long Do Hemorrhoids Take To Heal
For many people, hemorrhoids last and last. Ongoing pain is especially common for people over age 50. For many people, hemorrhoidal pain returns years after treatment, and for many others the condition comes and goes, becoming more common over time.
Do Hemorrhoids Ever Go Away on Their Own?
Sometimes they do. Smaller hemorrhoids are apt to go away in just a few days. It’s a good idea during this time to avoid further irritating your rectal area by keeping the area as clean as you can.
How Can You Make Hemorrhoids Go Away?
Tougher cases of hemorrhoids may not go away on their own. After trying home remedies and over-the-counter options without success, you will need to talk to your doctor about other treatment options.
A Noticeable Bulge At The Anus That Seems To Retract Following A Bowel Movement
Internal hemorrhoids can prolapse or fall outside of the anal opening during a bowel movement. Initially, the tissue may retract on its own or be easily pushed back inside. But prolapse can worsen over time and can eventually cause significant irritation, itching, bleeding, and pain as this internal tissue becomes trapped outside of the anus. Early treatment helps prevent the prolapse from worsening.
Recommended Reading: Will Hemorrhoids Ever Go Away
Symptoms Of Thrombosed External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids can be felt as bulges at the anus, but they usually cause few of the symptoms that are typical of internal hemorrhoids.
External hemorrhoids can cause problems, however, when blood clots inside them. This is referred to as thrombosis. Thrombosis of such a hemorrhoid causes an anal lump that is
- very painful,
- tender, and
- often requires medical attention.
The thrombosed hemorrhoid may heal with scarring, and leave a tag of skin protruding in the anus. Occasionally, the tag is large, which can make anal hygiene difficult or irritate the anus. Even after such a hemorrhoid goes away, a residual skin tag may remain, and this may need to be surgically removed.
Don’t Let Hemorrhoids Be A Part Of Your Life Forever
You have hemorrhoids. They last and last. They are painful, annoying, and embarrassing possibly causing itching, discomfort, and bleeding, swelling and difficulty with hygiene. But you are not alone. An estimated 75% of people experience hemorrhoids symptoms, a common problem, at some point, but only an estimated 4% of people go to the doctor for help.
No wonder its a problem so many people cant get rid of once and for all!
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. There are many causes, such as straining during bowel movements or increased pressure on veins during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids may be located inside the rectum , or they may develop under the skin around the anus .
Recommended Reading: Why Are My Hemorrhoids So Painful
Say Good Bye To Painful Piles
Hemorrhoids are a painful condition that affects both men and women and can interfere with your daily life. It is acknowledged that piles can be notoriously difficult to treat and many people resign themselves to living with the condition for years after trying numerous expensive treatments and prescription medications with little success.
Most traditional hemroid treatments, such as over the counter creams, ointments and suppositories do not do what they are meant to do, and simply provide relief from the condition, without actually getting rid of it. If you are experiencing painful bowel movements, burning sensation, itching or irritation after bowel movements, chances are you are already having bleeding piles. Bleeding piles treatment should not be delayed as it can lead to colon cancer in the future.
Although there are many hemorrhoids medication available, natural hemroid cure is becoming more and more popular because of its low cost, fast and effective ways to cure piles naturally.
Consider Having A Clot Removed
External hemorrhoids can result in extremely painful blood clots, and while theyre not dangerous, they can take a couple of weeks to resolve on their own. If yours scores high on your personal pain scale, a doctor can remove a thrombosed hemorrhoid with a relatively simple in-office procedure under local anesthetic in about 10 minutes. Keep in mind: The first 24 to 48 hours are typically the most painfuland the best time to have a clot removed, says Dr. Ky.
Recommended Reading: What Doctor Do I Need To See For Hemorrhoids
Do Hemorrhoids Go Away On Their Own
Unfortunately, hemorrhoids won’t go away without using any treatment options. So many factors will aggravate the condition, and some of them are straining during bowel movement, sitting for long periods, constipation, frequent diarrhea, overuse of laxatives, poor diet, pregnancy, heredity factors and infection of the rectum.
There are two basic types of hemorrhoids:
- External hemorrhoids: Found just under the skin of your anus, these can be felt during examination. They cause serious itching, pain and sometimes bleeding.
- Internal hemorrhoids: Found inside the anus, your doctor cannot see it during a physical examination. These hemorrhoids will eventually push through your anus and turn into external hemorrhoids.
“How long do hemorrhoids last?” There is no single answer to this question though. Most people feel better after a couple of weeks of flare-ups, but that’s not the same for all. They may last until you go for surgery. Pain, itching and tenderness may persist because there is always pressure on rectal veins during bowel movements. Different factors may contribute to healing though.
How Can I Prevent Hemorrhoids
Lifestyle and dietary changes are the best way to prevent hemorrhoids. Staying physically active and eating a nutritious, balanced diet help keep your bowel movements regular.
Eat lots of high fiber foods and drink plenty of water to keep the digestive process moving correctly and prevent constipation. Regular exercise and avoiding sitting for long periods of time can also help prevent hemorrhoids.
The most effective way to avoid constipation is to go to the bathroom when you first feel the urge. Delaying a bowel movement allows the bowel to reabsorb water from the stool. This makes stool harder when you finally do go.
Also Check: What Causes Hemorrhoids In Males
For Seriously Bad Hemorrhoids Talk To Your Doctor About Surgical Options
If youve tried home remedies and in-office procedures but your hemorrhoids are still making you miserable, it might be time to ask your doctor about surgery. Recovery from the surgical removal of hemorrhoids can be extremely painful, notes Dr. Bernstein, but its one of the most effective ways to get rid of hemorrhoids for good.
Another surgical option is having your hemorrhoids stapled into place. This is a less painful procedure compared to a hemorrhoidectomy, but it does come with a greater risk of relapse and is not recommended if you have anal sex, as staples can cause injury, notes Dr. Ky.
When to see a doctor for hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be a massive pain, but thankfully, symptoms typically go away within a week. If you still have symptoms of hemorrhoids after a week of self-care measures or youre experiencing severe pain or bleeding, seek medical attention immediately, says Dr. Thomas.
Its important to note that sometimes what might seem like symptoms of hemorrhoids could indicate something more serious. Less commonly, rectal bleeding can also be a sign of diseases such as colorectal cancer or anal cancer. Make sure to get checked out if you notice large amounts of bleeding or other changes in your bowel habits like a different stool color or consistency.
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Getting Rid Of Hemorrhoids
What Causes Hemorrhoids
Traditionally, hemorrhoids are associated with chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, and prolonged sitting on the toilet all of which interfere with blood flow to and from the area, causing it to pool and enlarge the vessels. This also explains why hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, when the enlarging uterus presses on the veins.
More recent studies show that patients with hemorrhoids tend to have a higher resting anal canal tone that is, the smooth muscle of the anal canal tends to be tighter than average . Constipation adds to these troubles, because straining during a bowel movement increases pressure in the anal canal and pushes the hemorrhoids against the sphincter muscle. Finally, the connective tissues that support and hold hemorrhoids in place can weaken with age, causing hemorrhoids to bulge and prolapse.
Easy Ways To Add Fiber
The tips below offer some simple ways to add more high-fiber foods to your meals.
Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast. Eat a wheat bran cereal along with a sliced banana. Or, try peanut butter on whole-wheat toast.
Eat carrot sticks for snacks. Theyre easy to prepare, taste great, and are low in calories.
Use whole-grain breads instead of white bread for sandwiches.
Eat fruits for treats. Try an apple and some raisins instead of a candy bar.
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What Happens If A Hemorrhoid Bursts
If a hemorrhoid bursts, you should experience relief from pain and discomfort. When this happens, you can expect some bleeding to occur. You should keep the area clean to lower the risk of infection.
If you need treatment for hemorrhoids, please contact Gotham Gastroenterology to schedule an appointment.
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Hemorrhoids Treatment: Rubber Band Ligation
The principle of rubber band ligation is to encircle the base of the hemorrhoidal clump with a tight rubber band. The tissue cut off by the rubber band dies, and is replaced by an ulcer that heals with scarring.
A similar procedure was described in 460 BC by the Greek physician Hippocrates:
And hemorrhoids you may treat by transfixing them with a needle and tying them with very thick and woolen thread, for application, and do not foment until they drop off, and always leave one behind and when the patient recovers, let him be put on a course of Hellebore.
Rubber band ligation can be used with first-, second-, and third-degree hemorrhoids, and may be more effective than sclerotherapy. Symptoms frequently recur several years later, but usually can be treated with further ligation.
The most common complication of ligation is pain. However, bleeding one or two weeks after ligation or bacterial infection in the tissues surrounding the hemorrhoids may occur.
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When Hemorrhoid Surgery May Be Necessary
Very few people fewer than 10 percent of all adults who see a doctor because of symptomatic hemorrhoids will require a surgical operation.
Surgery to remove hemorrhoids is called a hemorrhoidectomy.
Your doctor may recommend a hemorrhoidectomy if:
- You have large external hemorrhoids
- You have both internal and external hemorrhoids
- An internal hemorrhoid has prolapsed
In a hemorrhoidectomy, the doctor makes a small incision to remove the hemorrhoid and surrounding tissue before closing the wound with stitches.
A hemorrhoidectomy is performed in an operating room and can be done under general anesthesia, in which you are unconscious and unable to feel pain.
It can also be done with a spinal anesthetic block while you are awake , or with a combination of relaxing and sedating drugs given intravenously and a local anesthetic injected around the anus.
Hemorrhoidectomy is associated with postoperative pain, but the procedure is successful for 95 percent of cases.
More recently, another option aimed at avoiding the postoperative pain of a hemorrhoidectomy has become available, called a stapled hemorrhoidopexy. A circular stapling device pulls the hemorrhoidal tissue upward and to its normal position, stapling it in place. The staples eventually fall out over time.
There are many options for the treatment of hemorrhoids. Its best to discuss the benefits and risks of each of these with your doctor in order to come up with the treatment plan that is best for your particular case.