When Do I Need To See A Health Care Provider For Hemorrhoids
You should see your health care provider if you
- Still have symptoms after 1 week of at-home treatment
- Have bleeding from your rectum. Hemorrhoids are a common cause of bleeding, but other conditions can also cause bleeding. They include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, and anal cancer. So it’s important to see your provider to find the cause of the bleeding.
Sedentary Lifestyle Can Cause Hemorrhoids
How does the gastrointestinal system push food through, anyway? One of the methods it uses is the bodys own movements. The compression and movement of the abdominal muscles while walking or running helps push blood and food through the intestines. If you sit down for too long, it can seriously slow down the peristaltic movement that pushes stuff through the intestines. If those peristaltic movements slow down, constipation is usually an inevitable result.
A sedentary lifestyle also often leads to weakened circulatory tone because the circulatory system is never stressed and never gets stronger. Each vein has tiny muscles in the walls that expand and contract according to the circulatory demand. Naturally, these muscles arent under your conscious command, but if you exercise then they will inevitably get stronger.
However, too much of using exercises that puts strain down through the rectum, like mountain bike riding and squat weight lifting can be very counterproductive to preventing hemorrhoids. So be discerning in developing a more active life style.
What Do Hemorrhoids Smell Like
As mentioned earlier, the most common cause of the smell of hemorrhoids comes from the fecal particles and bacteria left behind by protruding internal hemorrhoids.
Outside of the smell of fecal matter, hemorrhoids are often associated with a fishy smell.
The toxic, fishy smell associated with hemorrhoids is caused by fecal matter or gas that is excreted from the rectum and product by the mucus membrane.
This is also known as anal discharge.
Patients who have had to deal with a fishy smell associated with hemorrhoids often report that they are embarrassed by the problem.
While you may feel like the smell is very evident, it might not be as noticeable to everyone else as it is to you.
The good news is that there are many ways to deal with the smell of hemorrhoids without seeing a doctor.
But, because a fishy smell can be associated with a number of different illnesses, you should always consult a physician if you can.
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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.
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.
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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
What Do Hemorrhoid Bands Look Like
Hemorrhoid bands are those that are placed on the base of problematic hemorrhoids, cutting off blood supply and forcing the hemorrhoid to fall off.
The bands themselves are small and are installed on the bottom of a hemorrhoid with a specialized application tool by your doctor.
Hemorrhoid bands are usually black, and available in different sizes and materials, like rubber or silicone.
This technique is non-operative and is successful in relieving chronic internal hemorrhoid conditions.
After rubber band ligation, patients may feel some pain and discomfort, bleeding from the anal opening, and the hemorrhoid will fall off in about seven to ten days.
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My Hemorrhoids Keep Coming Back What Should I Do
Having hemorrhoids once in a lifetime is probably more than enough, but what if your hemorrhoids return? What if they return more than once?
For some individuals, having hemorrhoids is unfortunately not a onetime experience. Hemorrhoids can reoccur on and off for various reasonssometimes related to lifestyle habits, and sometimes due to a medical condition.
In terms of lifestyle, hemorrhoids can be caused by a diet low in fiber, obesity, or bathroom habits . Medical conditions that have been connected to hemorrhoid growth include pregnancy, chronic diarrhea, and chronic constipation.
Do I need to see a doctor for reoccurring hemorrhoids?
At-home hemorrhoid relief remedies can help, but sometimes these treatments are not enough, particularly in cases where your hemorrhoids return. Doctors will always recommend improving lifestyle habits in order to aid in the prevention of hemorrhoids, but for relief of reoccurring hemorrhoids, the GI specialists of San Francisco Gastroenterology recommend hemorrhoid banding.
What is hemorrhoid banding?
The hemorrhoid banding procedure gently places a small rubber band around the base of each hemorrhoid, which causes the hemorrhoid to gradually shrink until all symptoms are removed. The procedure is quick, only taking a few minutes, and painless. Sedation is not required during hemorrhoid banding, so those who undergo the procedure are able to resume normal activities immediately after their visit to SFGI.
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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How Can I Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are common as you get older. These steps can help prevent hard stools and constipation that can lead to hemorrhoids:
- Dont sit too long or push too hard on the toilet.
- Go the toilet when the urge hits dont delay bowel movements.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Eat more high-fiber foods or take supplements. Generally, women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men should get 35 grams of fiber.
- Stay physically active. Being on the move keeps bowels moving.
- Take laxatives or use enemas only as recommended by your healthcare provider. Too many laxatives or enemas can make it hard for your body to regulate how you poop.
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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What Do Hemorrhoids Feel Like To Touch
Hemorrhoids usually feel wet to touch. This is because the veins are broken and damaged. Don’t touch your hemorrhoids with your bare hands.
The last thing you want to do is touch your hemorrhoids and pass germs on to them.
If a hemorrhoid gets infected, that can be a problem. If you have to touch your hemorrhoids make sure your hands are clean.
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Hemorrhoids
You should see your healthcare provider if symptoms get worse or interfere with your daily life or sleep. Also seek help if signs dont improve after a week of at-home treatments. Your provider may treat hemorrhoids with:
- Rubber band ligation: A small rubber band placed around the base of a hemorrhoid cuts off blood supply to the vein.
- Electrocoagulation: An electric current stops blood flow to a hemorrhoid.
- Infrared coagulation: A small probe inserted into the rectum transmits heat to get rid of the hemorrhoid.
- Sclerotherapy: A chemical injected into the swollen vein destroys hemorrhoid tissue.
Surgical treatments include:
- Hemorrhoidectomy: Surgery removes large external hemorrhoids or prolapsed internal ones.
- Hemorrhoid stapling: A stapling instrument removes an internal hemorrhoid. Or it pulls a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid back inside the anus and holds it there.
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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.
So Can Anal Sex Cause Hemorrhoids
Since hemorrhoids are natural parts of your anatomy, the short answer is no, anal sex should not cause new hemorrhoids to pop up, says Dr. Ky-Miyasaka. However, the penetration could theoretically irritate hemorrhoids you already have, leading to symptoms like bleeding and tenderness, Suneeta Krishnareddy, M.D., a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Manhattan, tells SELF.
Anal sex can also irritate or tear the lining of your anus, causing anal fissures, according to the Mayo Clinic. Its important to do what you can to prevent this type of outcome, says Dr. Ky-Miyasaka.
That brings us to the key topic of how to have the best and safest anal sex possible. If youre experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms, you may want to hold off on anal sex to avoid increasing discomfort, says Dr. Krishnareddy. Otherwise, you can follow these tips from Jennifer Gunsaullus, Ph.D., a sociologist and sexologist in San Diego and author of the forthcoming book From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women.
Most of all, when dealing with anal play, try not to be embarrassed about anything that feels like it might be weird, such as the fact that, hey, hemorrhoids are just part of being human. Sex is weird and great and messy. Thats how its supposed to be. Trying to remember that will make it a lot easier to focus on the important stuff, like having a really, really great time in bed.
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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.
What To Do When Your Hemorrhoid Comes Out During A Bowel Movement
If your hemorrhoid protrudes out of the anal opening during a bowel movement, there are a few things you can do.
- Internal hemorrhoids that are prolapsed sometimes spontaneously retract on their own.
- In some cases, when prolapsed internal hemorrhoids dont retract on their own, they can be pushed back into place manually.
- Creams, ointments, and suppositories are available to treat hemorrhoids and reduce swelling.
- If you have a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid that does not spontaneously retract or cant be pushed back inside manually, you may need to have hemorrhoid surgery. A hemorrhoid doctor can assess your situation and determine whether you need a surgical procedure called stapling.
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Wiping Too Hard Can Be The Cause Of Hemorrhoids
Yes, even wiping too hard can cause hemorrhoids. When you wipe hard or scrub at the area, your body responds by increasing the flow of blood to the area in an attempt to cushion it. Naturally, that doesnt do your hemorrhoids one bit of good. Excessive wiping is particularly bad for external hemorrhoids and for internal hemorrhoids that have come outside, as if your hemorrhoids become scratched or abraded, they can hurt, bleed and swell even further.
Hard toilet paper can also contribute to causing hemorrhoids, as the hardness of the paper makes it much easier for even gentle wiping to abrade and scratch the area, making hemorrhoids more likely as well as making it much easier for existing hemorrhoids to be damaged and become more symptom prone.
If hemorrhoids are originating from weak tissue close to or on the anal opening, then hard or excessive scrubbing risks causing new hemorrhoids to pop up. Excessive or hard wiping is a cause ofexternal hemorrhoids, which can develop suddenly and out of the blue from the wiping. It happened to me, so I know that for an absolute fact and mine became thrombosed within several hours.
Using something damp to get completely clean is often a good alternative to excessive wiping. Witch hazel wipes, baby wipes, or even dampened toilet paper are all good choices for gentle hemorrhoid hygiene. Dab gently at the area to get as clean as possible, but under no circumstances should you scrub at the area.
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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