Naturally, there are pillow-like clusters of blood vessels that are found just under the mucus membrane of the lower parts of your rectum and anus called hemorrhoids. They form at the point where small blood vessels merge into veins. The big question is, if they are a normal part of the human anatomy, then are hemorrhoids bad? The condition that is referred to as piles or hemorrhoids occurs when these veins become distended or swollen, the same way it happens in varicose veins on the legs.
Hemorrhoids are caused by blood pooling in the veins due to increased pressure on them that hinders smooth blood circulation to and from the heart to the area. A number of factors can lead to the increased pressure on the hemorrhoids like sitting on the toilet for too long, being overweight, or being pregnant.
There are two main types of hemorrhoids depending on their location; internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the rectum while external hemorrhoids are found under the skin around your anus. In some instances, straining during bowel movements pushes an internal hemorrhoid out of your anus. When this happens, it is referred to as a prolapsed hemorrhoid. Another type of a hemorrhoid is a thrombosed hemorrhoid which occurs when blood pools inside an external hemorrhoid forming a clot. If the blood becomes too much, it may even burst and bleed.
Signs of Hemorrhoids
The signs of hemorrhoids are specific depending on the type of hemorrhoids. Below we will explore the types of hemorrhoids and each of their signs:
Signs of Internal Hemorrhoids
Although they cannot be seen, internal hemorrhoids can be detected through:
- Blood in the stool from the scraping of hemorrhoids during the passing of hard stool. This is painless because there are no pain receptors in that area of the rectum.
- A prolapsed hemorrhoid that causes pain and discomfort since it is pushed to where pain receptors are.
Signs of External Hemorrhoids
These signs can be seen around your anal region:
- Itchiness and irritation
Signs of Thrombosed Hemorrhoids
When an external hemorrhoid forms a blood clot, the following signs follow:
- Swelling or inflammation
- Extreme pain
- A hard lump forms around the anus
Pain Around the Anus
Pain in the anus is a common characteristic of hemorrhoids but other conditions may also cause it. Some of the possible causes could be anal fissures, Crohn’s disease, anal cancer, anorectal fistula, levator ani syndrome, anal sex, diarrhea, perianal abscess, among other conditions.
To confirm the diagnosis, doctors perform a digital examination and/or a visual inspection of the rectum or anus.
This is a physical examination of the rectum to feel for any unusual growths. The doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger for around two minutes. It’s not a painful process, just slightly uncomfortable.
At times, internal hemorrhoids are too soft to be felt during a digital examination so the doctor might use medical instruments such as an anoscope, proctoscope, or a sigmoidoscope. They are inserted into the anal and rectal canals and they have illumination to allow for a clear view of any lumps or growths.
Are Hemorrhoids Bad?
Hemorrhoids may cause you pain, itchiness, and discomfort but they are rarely ever dangerous. If anything, by age 50, about half of the population will have suffered from some of the symptoms of hemorrhoids. The good news is - it’s a treatable condition.
How Long Do Hemorrhoids Take to Heal?
Hemorrhoids can go away on their own after a few days if they are small enough. Larger hemorrhoids may take longer to heal but if they don’t, you can seek medical assistance or use natural remedies.
How Can I Treat My Hemorrhoids?
Natural remedies that you can try at home are available for you to try from the comfort of your home:
It’s a bowl of water that fits over your toilet and can be acquired at your local pharmacy or on Amazon. Sit in warm water for 15 minutes, especially after bowel movements. It will help in soothing, speeding the healing process, improving blood circulation, and cleaning the anal area. do this daily for about a week and you’ll notice a marked improvement. Read more how to use sitz bath here.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in relieving pain, itchiness, and inflammation instantly. However, don’t use it in concentrated form or overuse it because it burns the skin. Dilute it in water or carrier oil before applying.
Witch hazel is a shrub that was used by Native Americans for centuries to treat many skin conditions. It is very effective in reducing swelling, pain, itchiness, and bleeding. Doctors are okay with you applying it directly to your skin.
It’s a fiber made from the husks of seeds from the Plantago ovata plant that is commonly used as a laxative. It will soften your stool and make it easier to pass. Find it here.
They help in reducing pain so you should add them to your warm bath and soak in it. You can also mix them with glycerine and apply the mixture directly to the hemorrhoids.
H-Hemorrhoids Formula's homeopathic ingredients have been selected for their function on the vascular engorgement associated with hemorhoids. The formula will relieve engorgement and inflammation of the rectum, thereby providing relief from discomfort and shrinkage of the hemorrhoidal veins. Find it HERE.
Engaging in physical exercises like aerobic exercises and walks helps in stimulating bowel movements. It also helps you manage your weight so that undue pressure is not exerted on the hemorrhoids.
Eating plenty of fibers softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. Some foods rich in fiber content include oat and wheat bran, broccoli, fresh fruits, and beans.
Drink Lots of Fluids
Drinking lots of fluids like fresh juices and water softens stool and make bowel movements less of a task. Experts advise that you take around 4-6 glasses of water daily.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Waiting for too long before you go to pass stool makes it harden. When you finally do, you’ll strain and cause damage to your hemorrhoids.
Read more: how to get rid of hemorrhoids types causes and treatments
If the symptoms of hemorrhoids still persist after home remedies, see a doctor because it may be an underlying condition. Furthermore, consult your doctor to give you a go-ahead on what natural remedies are safe for you.