Personal Stories About Treating Hemorrhoids
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
I have had hemorrhoids for many years, but they have never bothered me much. Once in a while they hurt or bleed, and I know that it’s time to pay more attention to my diet and drink some extra water. My new doctor and I talked about them during my last visit. She asked if I had ever considered having them treated, and we talked about the pros and cons of my options. I decided that since they don’t bother me very much, and because I know what to do if they flare up, I will just keep managing them as I have been. I can always have treatment later if they get worse.
John, age 40
Because I sit all day at work, my hemorrhoids can be a big inconvenience. I get plenty of fibre and water in my diet, but they are still bothering me. My doctor and I agreed that it would be reasonable for me to try the rubber band treatment. I will still have to watch what I eat and drink to keep my stools soft, but I hope that the treatment will take care of most of the pain so I can be more comfortable at work.
Genevieve, age 50
Ricardo, age 38
Barbara, age 47
How Can I Treat My Hemorrhoids
You can most often treat your hemorrhoids at home by
- taking a stool softener or a fiber supplement such as psyllium or methylcellulose
- drinking water or other nonalcoholic liquids each day as recommended by your health care professional
- not straining during bowel movements
- not sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin
- sitting in a tub of warm water, called a sitz bath, several times a day to help relieve pain
Applying over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams or ointments or using suppositoriesa medicine you insert into your rectummay relieve mild pain, swelling, and itching of external hemorrhoids. Most often, doctors recommend using over-the-counter products for 1 week. You should follow up with your doctor if the products
- do not relieve your symptoms after 1 week
- cause side effects such dry skin around your anus or a rash
Most prolapsed internal hemorrhoids go away without at-home treatment. However, severely prolapsed or bleeding internal hemorrhoids may need medical treatment.
Diagnosis And Classification Of Hemorrhoids
The most common presentation of hemorrhoids is painless rectal bleeding during defecation with or without prolapsing anal tissue. The blood is normally not mixed in stool but instead coated on the outer surface of stool, or it is seen during cleansing after bowel movement. The blood is typically bright red since hemorrhoid plexus has direct arteriovenous communication. Patients with complicated hemorrhoids such as acutely thrombosed external hemorrhoids and strangulated internal hemorrhoids may present with anal pain and lump at the anal verge. It is uncommon that patients with uncomplicated hemorrhoid manifest any anal pain. In fact, severe anal pain in patient with hemorrhoids is more likely due to anal fissure and anorectal abscess.
A precise history and thorough physical examination, including digital rectal examination and anoscopy, are imperative for the diagnosis of hemorrhoids. Unless bright red blood is clearly seen from hemorrhoids, any patients with rectal bleeding should be scheduled for flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, especially those being at risk of colorectal cancer.
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Cold Compresses Or Ice Packs
Sitting on a cold compress or ice pack when hemorrhoids feel irritated can help reduce the swelling and numb irritation. Wrap the cold or ice pack in a towel and place it in the area with the hemorrhoid underneath you. Keep it there for up the 15 minutes and repeat hourly to maintain the relief it provides.
Best Ice Treatment: Hilph Perineal Ice Packs For Postpartum
Doubles as a heat pack
Can be hard to keep in place
When you need guaranteed pain relief stat, icing is always the way to go. It numbs the area it touches and can help lower inflammation and swelling. There’s one major problem with this method: its a real acrobatic act to get ice to sitand stayagainst a hemorrhoid.
Hilphs long, flat cold packs, made from soft gel beads, are ideal for molding into the tricky area of your anus. The outer fabric feels nice on your skin and doesnt have any uncomfortable sharp corners. And the small gel beads inside freeze very fast and stay cold for a long timewithout creating a mess from dripping, melting water.
We love that the packs come not just with washable sleeves, but with four of them in case you need back-to-back ice therapy faster than you can do laundry.
Theyre super affordable compared to competitors, and you can pop the pack in the microwave to turn it into a hot pack if needed. Plus, after your hemorrhoid goes away, these are great to use hot or cold to soothe soreness after a workout or an injury.
Active Ingredients: Gel beads | Dose: Place on sensitive area for up to 10 minutes at a time. | Uses: Provides cooling relief for hemorrhoids
Made with soothing natural oils
Safe to use during pregnancy
Offers pain relief
Some customers say its led to rashes
It’s safe for use during pregnancy and postpartum careas well as anyone suffering a painful hemorrhoid, of course.
Offers itch and pain relief
Can stain clothing
Also Check: How To Fix Hemorrhoids After Pregnancy
Acutely Thrombosed Or Strangulated Internal Hemorrhoids
Patients with acutely thrombosed or strangulated internal hemorrhoids usually present with severely painful and irreducible hemorrhoids. The incarcerated hemorrhoids may become necrotic and drain. This situation is quite difficult to treat particularly in a case of extensive strangulation or thrombosis ,3A), or the presence of underlying circumferential prolapse of high-graded hemorrhoids. Manual reduction of the hemorrhoid masses, with or without intravenous analgesia or sedation, might help reducing pain and tissue congestion. Urgent hemorrhoidectomy is usually required in these circumstances. Unless the tissues are necrotic, mucosa and anoderm should be preserved as much as possible to prevent postoperative anal stricture. In expert hands, surgical outcomes of urgent hemorrhoidectomy were comparable to those of elective hemorrhoidectomy.
Complicated hemorrhoids. A: Strangulated internal hemorrhoid B: Acutely thrombosed external hemorrhoid.
What Is An External Hemorrhoid
Hemorrhoids happen when rectal venous structures swell. That can happen if you strain too hard in the bathroom or otherwise place too much pressure on this part of your body.
You can get hemorrhoids inside your rectum or around your anal opening. If you have a hemorrhoid that you can see or feel on the outside of the anus, its an external one.
Medical experts consider the dentate line to be the internal-versus-external transition point. Also known as the pectinate line, this line of demarcation is located about one-third of the way up the anus.
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Medical Procedures For Hemorrhoids That Wont Go Away
If hemorrhoids don’t go away with home treatments, medical procedures may be necessary.
If you visit your doctor with painful external hemorrhoids those located around the outside of the anus that are visible from the outside your doctor may offer to excise them during the office visit. You will be given a shot with a local anesthetic to numb the area before the procedure.
Doctor’s office procedures for internal hemorrhoids those located inside the rectum may include:
Rubber Band Ligation This is the most commonly performed hemorrhoid procedure in the United States. In this procedure, which can be used for grades 1, 2, and 3 internal hemorrhoids , the doctor places a small rubber band around the base of the hemorrhoid, which can be done when your doctor performs an anoscopy examination to better visualize the hemorrhoids. The rubber band cuts off the hemorrhoid’s blood supply.
The procedure typically causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and fall off within about a week, though several short visits to your doctor may be necessary to completely get rid of the hemorrhoid. Minor bleeding and a feeling of pressure may occur, but this can usually be alleviated with OTC pain relievers. This procedure is not associated with significant recovery time.
Causes Of External Hemorrhoids
The most common cause of external hemorrhoids is repeated straining during a bowel movement, leading to the veins of the anus or rectum becoming dilated or enlarged. Because external hemorrhoids result from excessive pressure in the rectums veins, certain factors can increase the chances of external hemorrhoids forming.
Some of the most common external hemorrhoid causes include:
- Heavy weight lifting.
Each of the above places added pressure on the rectal veins, which may eventually cause increased swelling in the external hemorrhoids. For example, in pregnant women, the uterus puts extra pressure on these veins and can cause them to enlarge. To reduce the likelihood of developing external hemorrhoids or prevent symptoms from worsening, limit the amount of time you spend on the toilet to two minutes and make sure you always practice proper form when heavy lifting.
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What Are The Types Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can happen inside or outside the rectum. The type depends on where the swollen vein develops. Types include:
- External: Swollen veins form underneath the skin around the anus. Your anus is the canal where poop comes out. External hemorrhoids can be itchy and painful. Occasionally, they bleed. Sometimes they fill with blood that can clot. This is not dangerous, but can result in pain and swelling.
- Internal: Swollen veins form inside the rectum. Your rectum is the part of the digestive system that connects the colon to the anus. Internal hemorrhoids may bleed, but they usually arent painful.
- Prolapsed: Both internal and external hemorrhoids can prolapse, meaning they stretch and bulge outside of the anus. These hemorrhoids may bleed or cause pain.
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- You’re right! Try eating more fibre, drinking more fluids, using a stool softener, and using ointments to help your symptoms.
- Sorry, that’s the wrong answer. Try home treatment first: Eat more fibre, drink more fluids, use a stool softener, and use ointments to help your symptoms.
- It may help to go back and read “Key points to remember.” Home treatments work for most people: Eat more fibre, drink more fluids, use a stool softener, and use ointments to help your symptoms.
- That’s right. Surgery may help hemorrhoids that bulge from the anus or cause symptoms that don’t get better with home treatment.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Surgery may help hemorrhoids that bulge from the anus or cause symptoms that don’t get better with home treatment.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Surgery may help hemorrhoids that bulge from the anus or cause symptoms that don’t get better with home treatment.
|What are the risks and side effects?|
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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.
Avoid Straining And Go When You Need To
Straining during a bowel movement is never a good thing, and it can be painful and even worsen hemorrhoids. When you need to go number two, dont delay it. Waiting can back up your stool, make it harder, and lead to increased pressure on the weakened veins.
It is always best to go to the bathroom in a relaxed state. In general, it is recommended to set a time for daily bowel movements to help establish a regular routine. For instance, going first thing in the morning or after breakfast are good times to start a regular bowel habit.
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What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like
The appearance of hemorrhoids can vary, and sometimes they cannot be seen without an internal examination. Generally, thrombosed hemorrhoids protrude from the anus as a dark bluish lump. The color is due to a blood clot inside a blood vessel. Non-thrombosed piles, however, lack this color and look more like a rubbery lump at the anal verge.
Maintain Correct Bathroom Habits
Keeping proper bathroom habits is crucial when it comes to treating hemorrhoids. Incorrect bathroom usage can worsen hemorrhoids and even potentially cause additional hemorrhoids to form. Do not strain or push during a bowel movement. If a bowel movement has not occurred after two minutes on the toilet, get up and try again later. You may want to try employing a squatting motion rather than a standard sit when using the bathroom by placing a stool under your feet. This can help to clear the rectum easier. It is also important not to hold off on using the bathroom when your body indicates a bowel movement is happening.
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When Should I See My Doctor
Hemorrhoids are typically easy to treat and clear up on their own. In very rare cases, a hemorrhoid can cause complications.
Chronic blood loss from a hemorrhoid can cause anemia, a shortage of red blood cells. Internal hemorrhoids can also have their blood supply cut off, resulting in strangulated hemorrhoids that can cause extreme pain.
See a doctor if home treatments havent been effective after more than 2 weeks. Your primary care physician can diagnose and treat hemorrhoids. They can write prescriptions for medicated creams, ointments, and suppositories.
If these treatments dont work, a doctor may recommend treatments like rubber band ligation or surgery to remove the hemorrhoids.
Make an appointment to see a doctor right away if you notice rectal bleeding for the first time or if your rectal bleeding increases.
The Three Worst Things You Can Do
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Are There Natural Treatments For Hemorrhoids
First, some very good news: Neither type of hemorrhoid is dangerous, and severe complications that require medical care are rare. Symptoms often can be relieved by trying a few natural and self-care treatments.
- Draw a sitz bath. To relieve itching and irritation, fill a tub with three to four inches of warm water and sit in it with your knees bent for about 10 to 15 minutes. Gently pat yourself dry with a towel, but dont rub the area.
- Take fiber supplements.These draw water into your stool and make it easier to pass, helping to reduce hemorrhoid bleeding and inflammation. A psyllium husk fiber supplement, like Metamucil or a generic version, is a good choice. If psyllium causes gas or bloating, try a supplement with wheat dextrin or methylcellulose .
- Ease discomfort. Apply over-the-counter products that shrink the inflamed tissue and relieve itching. Try pads infused with witch hazel , or soothing creams that contain lidocaine, hydrocortisone, or phenylephrine .
You can also take steps to prevent flare-ups.
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.
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