Hemorrhoids is a condition that 75% of the population has experienced at some point in their lives. It is characterized by the distending or enlarging of blood vessels in the anus and rectum. Among other concerns, this article will answer questions like ‘are hemorrhoids painful?’ and give you solutions on how to get rid of them for good.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins in the anus and rectum are subjected to too much pressure until they swell with a backflow of blood. This can occur because of many reasons and they are as follows:
Straining During Bowel Movements
Struggling to pass stool is a result of constipation which occurs when stool takes a long time to go down the digestive canal so it becomes dry and hard. When you struggle to pass stool, the blood vessels in the anus and rectum become strained so blood flow in them is interfered with and they swell.
As you age, the body doesn’t remain in the same tiptop shape that it had while young. Most muscles wear out and stop functioning effectively. The tissue between the rectum and anus that provides them with support is one of the body parts that weakens. The lack of support makes the veins of the anus and rectum more vulnerable to sources of pressure such as constipation and excess weight. So when the slightest pressure is applied, hemorrhoids develop.
Excess Body Weight
When you’re obese or overweight, the excess weight exerts a lot of pressure on the blood vessels in the lower regions of the body. This includes the rectum and anus and consequently, hemorrhoids may develop.
Sitting for Prolonged Periods
Sitting on a chair or on the toilet for too long may result in hemorrhoids. This is because the muscles of the anus and rectum are stretched in the process so blood vessels bulge and distend.
As the baby weight gets heavier towards the end of pregnancy, many pregnant women are likely to develop hemorrhoids. This is because the fetus lies on a major blood vessel that transports blood from the lower regions of the body to the heart so the smooth flow of blood is hindered. Blood vessels in the rectum and anus are also affected so they end up swelling.
When you have family members that have hemorrhoids, you may get them too. Hemorrhoids sometimes run in genetic lines.
Passing stool repeatedly because of diarrhea strains the veins in the anus and rectum. When diarrhea occurs too often, hemorrhoids may develop as a result.
What are Signs of Hemorrhoids?
The signs of hemorrhoids differ according to the type of hemorrhoids. Here are the signs of the respective types:
Signs of Internal Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids that are found inside the anus are known as internal hemorrhoids and their signs are:
- Painless rectal bleeding that you notice in the toilet or tissue after passing stool. They don’t elicit pain because the rectum lacks pain receptors
- Internal hemorrhoids sometimes protrude out of the anus and they are referred to as prolapsed hemorrhoids. Since the anus has pain receptors, a prolapsed hemorrhoid causes pain and discomfort
Signs of External Hemorrhoids
External hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids found in and around the anus. Their signs are as follows:
- Pain especially when passing stool
- Itchiness and irritation
- Hard lumps that you feel as you wipe
- Bleeding accompanied by pain
Are Hemorrhoids Painful?
Yes. External hemorrhoids often cause pain, especially when passing stool because pain receptors are in the anus. Another type of hemorrhoids that causes extreme pain is a thrombosed hemorrhoid. It refers to a hemorrhoid that has a blood clot inside. It forms when existing hemorrhoids are subjected to more pressure from constipation, excess weight, pregnancy, and chronic diarrhea. The extreme pain of the thrombosed hemorrhoid is caused by the immense pressure inside it. It eventually bursts and bleeds and this results in relief from the pain.
Can Natural Home Remedies Treat and Prevent Hemorrhoids?
Indeed, you can use natural home remedies to treat hemorrhoids and prevent them from ever developing or recurring after treatment. The treatment is aimed at treating the symptoms of hemorrhoids such as inflammation, pain, and itchiness. Prevention, on the other hand, reduces the chances of constipation and takes the pressure off the blood vessels in the rectum and anus.
Natural home remedies are as follows:
When you sit in a bath of warm water, it will help to soothe the irritation and pain of hemorrhoids. It also improves blood circulation and so reduces inflammation. Soak in warm water for 15-20 minutes at a time to relieve the discomfort.
Ice helps to shrink blood vessels and so relieve pain, itchiness, and inflammation. Never place ice directly on the hemorrhoids but wrap it first in a towel and then press it for 15 minutes.
The tannic acid in tea leaves helps in reducing pain, inflammation, and itchiness. It also stops bleeding by boosting the clotting function of blood. To use a tea bag as treatment, dip it in warm water and then place it on the hemorrhoids.
Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory plant that can be used to treat hemorrhoids. Extract the gel from a fresh aloe vera leaf and apply it directly to the hemorrhoids. Leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse off. You may also use aloe vera gel.
Eat More Fiber
Fiber adds bulk and softens stool so that you don’t strain during bowel movements. Therefore, you need to eat foods rich in fiber to prevent hemorrhoids. The fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole-meal grains, root vegetables, and legumes.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water hydrates the digestive tracts so the stool is able to draw water as it passes and this softens it. It, therefore, passes through the rectum and anus with no trouble at all. Drinking water will help prevent the development of hemorrhoids.
Practice Proper Toilet Habits
When you ignore the need to pass stool, constipation occurs because the stool dries up and hardens. Learn to go to the toilet immediately you feel the urge and so prevent hemorrhoids. You should also avoid sitting on the toilet for too long. You can do this by restraining yourself from taking things like your phone or a book that makes you lose track of time. If you stay in the toilet for too long because of constipation, take more fiber and water.
Exercising boosts bowel function because it keeps stool moving down the gut at a proper pace and prevents constipation.
Exercise also helps you manage your weight which takes the pressure off the veins in the anus and rectum.
How are Hemorrhoids Treated?
Medically, hemorrhoids can be treated using surgical or non-surgical procedures. Surgical procedures take care of large hemorrhoids that keep on recurring after other treatments while non-surgical are done on smaller hemorrhoids.
The methods that doctors use to treat hemorrhoids without surgery include:
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation is also known as banding and the doctor uses a device called a ligator to put a tight rubber band on a hemorrhoid. This starves it off of blood and nutrients so it shrinks.
In this method, the doctor uses a laser, extreme heat, or cold to shrink a hemorrhoid down.
The doctor injects a chemical or medicine into the hemorrhoid to make it shrink.
Surgery on hemorrhoids requires that you are under anesthesia because it’s painful. The treatments include:
Hemorrhoidopexy or Stapling
This is a treatment specifically done on prolapsed hemorrhoids. A surgical staple is used to pin the hemorrhoid in its place in the rectum. This not only gets it out of the way but also stops its blood supply so it shrinks.
This procedure involves the making of incisions at the sides of the hemorrhoids and then the swollen blood vessels are removed. It can be done using a scalpel, scissors, or laser.
Once you start any of the treatments recommended above (or read more here to find out 4 simple steps to treat hemorrhoids), it will only be a few days or weeks before you attain full recovery. It all depends on the size of the hemorrhoids or the method of treatment. You can then start living life normally and pain-free!