What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids
Usually, bleeding when having a bowel movement or frequent anal itching are the first signs of enlarged hemorrhoids. However, some hemorrhoid symptoms can be very uncomfortable depending on their severity.
According to Dr. Scott C. Thornton, Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine, hemorrhoids can cause a number of symptoms. Some of these are:3
- Drops of blood in the toilet water or on paper after wiping
- A visible lump of soft tissue at the anal opening that is pink or blue
- An urgent urge to scratch the anus
- Pain when having a bowel movement
- Extreme pain caused by prolapsed hemorrhoids that may last for 3 or 4 days
Dr. Thornton explains that the severity of hemorrhoids is graded by their symptoms. These are as follows:3
- Grade 1 hemorrhoids. Some bleeding with a bowel movement and the swollen rectal veins are generally unseen.
- Grade 2 hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoids may protrude when straining to pass stool. The enlarged hemorrhoid will disappear when you cease straining.
- Grade 3 hemorrhoids. Larger hemorrhoids that pop out of the anus while straining during a bowel movement. The hemorrhoid lump will need to be pushed back in.
- Grade 4 hemorrhoids. Prolapsed hemorrhoid where the large lumps stay on the outside of the anus. May require surgery or other procedure to get rid of hemorrhoids permanently.
Increasing Your Fibre Intake
You can gradually increase the amount of fibre in your diet by eating foods including:
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
Commercial fibre supplements are also available and can be useful if you think you are not getting enough of the above foods in your diet.
Make sure you increase your fibre gradually so your digestive system has time to adapt.
Its also important to increase your fluid intake at the same time. This is because fibre in the stools acts like a sponge, absorbing moisture from the body. Try to drink lots of water. Cutting down on sugary drinks will also help you to cut down on calories that cause weight gain.
Soak It Off In A Sitz Bath
A sitz bath comes from the German word sitzen, meaning sit, and it refers to a 10 to 15 minute soak in warm water that comes just up to your bottom and hips. Sitz baths can relieve irritation and itching as well as spasm of your anal sphincter muscles, says Dr. Thomas. Take a shallow soak in your bathtub or buy a small plastic tub from your pharmacy to give yourself a portable sitz bath two to three times a day.
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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.
How Are Haemorrhoids Diagnosed
Diagnosis of haemorrhoids usually involves an examination of the anal passage to look for any swollen blood vessels. Your doctor may conduct one of the following tests.
- Digital rectal examination, where your doctor puts on gloves and places a lubricated finger inside the back passage to gently feel for any abnormalities. This is likely to be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
- Proctoscopy, where your doctor examines the inside of the rectum using a proctoscope to look for any swelling or other symptoms. Again, this may be uncomfortable but will probably not be painful.
There is no need to feel embarrassed about these tests haemorrhoids are a common problem and your doctor is used to diagnosing and treating them.
In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a surgeon who can assess your haemorrhoids and recommend a treatment.
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What If A Hemorrhoid Won’t Go Away
Most people will get relief from at-home treatments. However, sometimes these remedies do not work, or don’t work well enough. In that case, there are treatments that the doctor can provide. These can range from pills to prescription creams to minimally invasive procedures, and even to hemorrhoid removal surgery.
Whom Do Hemorrhoids Affect
Although most people think hemorrhoids are abnormal, almost everyone has them. Hemorrhoids help control bowel movements. Hemorrhoids cause problems and can be considered abnormal or a disease only when the hemorrhoidal clumps of vessels enlarge.
Hemorrhoids occur in almost everyone, and an estimated 75% of people will experience enlarged hemorrhoids at some point. However only about 4% will go to a doctor because of hemorrhoid problems. Hemorrhoids that cause problems are found equally in men and women, and their prevalence peaks between 45 and 65 years of age.
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Can I Pop A Hemorrhoid
Although a hemorrhoid may feel like a firm pimple, it is not recommended that you pop it to release blood and reduce its size. Its very easy to damage the delicate tissue of the anus. Given the area is exposed to high amounts of bacteria thanks to bowel movements, popping a hemorrhoid would cause an open wound extremely vulnerable to infection.
Work Wonders With Witch Hazel
A dab of witch hazel applied to the rectum with a cotton ball is one of the very best remedies available for external hemorrhoids, especially if theres bleeding, says Marvin Schuster, MD. Witch hazel causes the blood vessels to shrink and contract. While anything cold, even water, can help kill the pain of hemorrhoids, icy cold witch hazel provides even more relief. Chill a bottle of witch hazel in an ice bucket or the refrigerator. Then take a cotton ball, soak it in the witch hazel, and apply it against your hemorrhoids until its no longer cold, then repeat, suggests Schuster.
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What Should I Eat If I Have Hemorrhoids Diet
Individuals with hemorrhoids should soften their stools by increasing the fiber in their diets.
Fiber is found in numerous foods, including
- fresh and dried fruits,
- whole grains, and
In general, 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day is recommended, whereas the average American diet contains less than 15 grams of fiber. Fiber supplements, like psyllium, methylcellulose, and calcium polycarbophil, also may be used to increase the intake of fiber.
Stool softeners and increased drinking of liquids also may be recommended, as well as bulk-forming laxatives. Nevertheless, the benefits of fiber, liquids, and stool softeners have not been well-tested with respect to hemorrhoidal control in scientific studies.
What Role Does Hygiene Play
Stool that is left behind after wiping can aggravate enlarged hemorrhoids even more. So its important to carefully cleanse the anus after going to the toilet, for example by wetting toilet paper with water first, and drying the anus afterwards. This can help avoid wiping yourself too roughly and making the symptoms worse.
Exaggerated hygiene can make symptoms worse too, though. Many people use things like liquid soaps and alcohol-based or perfumed wipes. But these often contain substances that can irritate the skin and lead to allergic reactions.
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What Are Two Types Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are enlarged, swollen veins in the lowest part of the rectum and anus. These veins bulge and get irritated, especially when the patient defecates, and cause bleeding. Hemorrhoids are also commonly called piles. It is one of the most common causes of rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids occur in adults. It can cause significant pain and discomfort if left untreated.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
- Internal hemorrhoids: They are present deep inside the rectum. They are usually not seen externally or felt and are painless.
- External hemorrhoids: They are present under the skin surrounding the anus. They are painful because of the painful, sensitive nerves surrounding the anus.
Hemorrhoids may go away on their own or with home remedies in a couple of weeks. If the hemorrhoids dont improve or the symptoms worsen, it is advised to consult a doctor to seek medical treatment.
Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented
You can help prevent hemorrhoids by:
- Eating foods that are high in fiber
- Taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement
- Drinking enough fluids every day
- Not straining during bowel movements
- Not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Recommended Reading: How Do You Treat Internal Hemorrhoids
About Author: David Pruitt
David Pruitt is a writer for the Marketing & Communications division of OSF HealthCare. He has a bachelors of journalism from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and worked as a reporter before joining OSF HealthCare in 2014. An avid golfer and fisherman, David was born and raised Alton, Illinois, which is where he currently resides with his son, James.
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.
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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.
Precautions On How To Get Rid Of Hemorrhoids
A common concern is that hemorrhoids increase the risk of colorectal cancer, but thats not true. However, the two conditions do cause similar symptoms. This is why its important to mention your hemorrhoids to your health care provider. Even when a hemorrhoid is healed completely, a colonoscopy may be done to rule out other causes of rectal bleeding. According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons , every person age 50 and older should undergo a colonoscopy to screen for colorectal cancer.
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How Can You Prevent Constipation
To avoid constipation and straining during bowel movements, people are often advised to change their diet, drink plenty of fluids, and get enough exercise. High-fiber foods like fruits, cereals, vegetables and legumes are generally recommended to try to make stools softer.
Studies suggest that plant fibers such as psyllium husk can reduce the frequency of bleeding. Whether or not they relieve other symptoms too hasnt been well studied. People who use psyllium husk must make sure that they drink enough fluids. But fiber can also cause diarrhea, which in turn leads to hemorrhoids being irritated even more by frequent bowel movements.
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.
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How To Treat Bleeding Hemorrhoids
Though its not a very pleasant topic to think about, the fact is that hemorrhoids are one of the most common gastrointestinal problems. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 1 in 20 Americans will develop hemorrhoids at some point during their life. For most people, though, getting hemorrhoids is a temporary problem that isnt much of a cause for concern. Sometimes the problem is more severe and the hemorrhoids cause rectal bleeding in those cases, a more proactive treatment approach is usually necessary.
Related Resources For Hemorrhoids
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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.
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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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What Treatments Can You Get From Your Doctor
Treating hemorrhoids involves a combination of reducing symptoms and preventing them from coming back. If your hemorrhoids dont respond to at-home treatments and the cause is constipation-related, your doctor may recommend taking laxatives or stool softeners, which make stool easier to pass.
When youre pregnant, its always best to get the go-ahead from your doctor before taking a medication, even if its available over-the-counter.
According to the journal , there havent been many studies about the safety of laxatives in pregnancy. However, because of the way many of the treatments work , doctors usually regard them as safe.
- bulk-forming agents, such as bran and psyllium
- stool softeners, such as docusate sodium
However, its important to be aware of the side effects of any medications you may take. For example, some of the medications can cause lots of fluid losses through your stool. As a result, you may need to up your water intake to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
While there are surgical treatments for hemorrhoids, your doctor wont usually recommend any type of surgical approach while youre pregnant. Ideally, after you have your baby, your hemorrhoid symptoms should improve.
For most expectant moms, some at-home steps can help to reduce hemorrhoids and their symptoms. Some examples include:
Always check with your doctor before upping your exercise routine to ensure you can exercise safely during your pregnancy.
Getting Restful Sleep Without Triggering Hemorrhoid Pain
Depending on your preferred sleeping position, your hemorrhoid pain can make it difficult for you to get a good nights rest. In addition to clean cotton underwear and loose-fitting pajamas, we recommend you sleep on your stomach to reduce anal pain and place a pillow under your hips to prevent yourself from rolling over onto your back.
A full-body sitz bath right before bed may also ease discomfort, help you feel more relaxed, and make it easier for you to fall asleep. In addition, reading or listening to soothing music may take your mind off your hemorrhoids and your discomfort, which may help you get to sleep faster.
How To Ease Hemorrhoid Pain While Pooping
Constipation is one of the leading causes of hemorrhoid pain. For those with external hemorrhoids, bowel movements can be particularly painful.
To ease the pain associated with hemorrhoids, include more fiber in your diet to ensure your stool is soft. Drink plenty of fluids and exercise regularly. Avoid laxatives, as they can make your hemorrhoids worse.
Dont wait too long to use the bathroom. If you need to have a bowel movement, waiting to go will cause your stool to become drier and harder.
Practice proper hygiene, especially after your bowel movement. Rinsing in the shower can be helpful to both hygiene practices and easing the pain of wiping.
Avoid straining during your bowel movements. Elevating your feet can also be very helpful.
Place a step stool at the base of your toilet to change the position of the rectum and allow easier stool passage.
Dealing with hemorrhoids after pregnancy can be very trying. Be sure to take a ganders at our full guide on dealing with hemorrhoids when pregnant.
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A Quick Cure For Hemorrhoids With Horse Chestnut
Last on our list of fast remedies for hemorrhoids is horse chestnut, a traditional solution with proven effectiveness in reducing skins irritation and inflammation, strengthening blood vessels walls and relieving swelling and pain caused by piles.
Usually used in the form of capsules but also available as tea, this natural cure is generally free of side effects, so you can get the plant from any over-the-counter store without requiring medical prescription. However, make sure to use the products as indicated on labels, as improper use may lead to mild bruising, liver and kidney damage and bleeding.