Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins located in the anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. They can be categorized as internal or external depending on their location. This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of hemorrhoids, including their types, symptoms, and available treatment options.
Types of Hemorrhoids and Their Symptoms
Symptoms of hemorrhoids depend upon type and the degree of hemorrhoid
A) Internal Hemorrhoids:
Painless bleeding during bowel movements, with small amounts of bright red blood appearing on toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl.
Prolapse of internal hemorrhoids, where they extend beyond the anus, leading to pain and irritation.
B) External Hemorrhoids:
Itching or irritation in the anal region.
Pain or discomfort.
Swelling around the anus.
Bleeding during bowel movements.
C) Thrombosed Hemorrhoids:
A hard lump near the anus.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
- Pregnancy:Hormonal changes during pregnancy weaken rectal tissues, while increased abdominal pressure contributes to vein relaxation and swelling.
- Aging:Hemorrhoids are most common in adults over 50, although they can affect individuals of all ages.
- Diarrhea:Chronic diarrhea can irritate and strain the rectal area, potentially leading to hemorrhoids.
- Chronic Constipation:Straining during bowel movements puts additional pressure on blood vessel walls, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
- Prolonged Sitting:Spending excessive time in a seated position,
- Diet:Consuming a low-fiber diet can contribute to constipation and increase the likelihood of hemorrhoids.
- Heavy Lifting:Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can strain the rectal area and lead to hemorrhoids.
- Anal Intercourse:Engaging in anal intercourse can cause new hemorrhoids to form or worsen existing ones.
- Obesity:Excessive weight can put additional pressure on the veins in the rectal area, increasing the risk of hemorrhoids.
- Genetics:Some individuals may inherit a predisposition to develop hemorrhoids.
Diagnosis of hemorrhoid
2)Digital Rectal Examination (DRE):
An anoscope is a short, rigid tube that allows for a more detailed examination of the anal canal and lower rectum. It is inserted into the rectum to visualize and assess internal hemorrhoids, their severity, and any associated complications.
- Colonoscopy: This procedure involves the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera into the rectum and colon to examine the entire length of the large intestine. It is typically recommended if there is a suspicion of other gastrointestinal issues or to rule out more serious conditions.
- Sigmoidoscopy:Similar to a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy involves the examination of the rectum and the lower part of the colon using a flexible tube with a camera. This procedure is useful for assessing the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Treatment of hemorrhoids
Treatment of hemorrhoid broadly divide into two part, surgical and non surgical
A) Non-Surgical Treatment:Finding Relief for Hemorrhoids at Home
Embrace a Fiber-Rich Diet:
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Drinking an adequate amount of water is crucial for maintaining good bowel health. Staying hydrated helps prevent constipation and keeps your stools soft, making them easier to pass without straining. Aim to drink enough water throughout the day to promote smooth bowel movements and reduce the risk of irritating your hemorrhoids.
Soothe with Sitz Baths:
Get Moving with Exercise:
Over-the-Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments:
Steroid cream (hydrocortisone) helps reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort.
Local anesthetic cream (lidocaine/lignocaine), when combined with steroids or other anti-inflammatory agents, can effectively reduce pain, inflammation, and other symptoms.
Zinc oxide is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate swelling and irritation.
Witch hazel, available in various forms, has a soothing effect on hemorrhoids.
B) Surgical Treatment: Advanced Solutions for Hemorrhoid Relief
1)Minimally Invasive Procedures:
- Rubber Band Ligation:This is the most commonly used hemorrhoid treatment. During this procedure, a small elastic band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid, cutting off its blood supply. With reduced blood flow, the hemorrhoid shrinks and eventually falls off, providing relief.
- Sclerotherapy: In this procedure, a chemical solution is injected into the hemorrhoid, causing it to shrink and harden. The hardened hemorrhoid no longer causes discomfort and eventually withers away.
- Laser or Infrared Coagulation: Heat-based techniques, such as laser or infrared coagulation, can be used to shrink internal hemorrhoids. These methods promote the formation of scar tissue, which cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid, leading to its resolution.
In cases of large protruding hemorrhoids, persistently symptomatic external hemorrhoids, or internal hemorrhoids that do not respond to rubber band ligation, a traditional hemorrhoidectomy may be necessary. This surgical procedure involves the complete removal of the hemorrhoids using various techniques, including excision, suturing, and wound closure.