Hemorrhoids or what you may most likely know as piles are swollen blood vessels that develop in the anus or the lower rectum. The hemorrhoids that develop in the rectum or anus are known as internal hemorrhoids while the ones that develop outside the anus are called external hemorrhoids. But can hemorrhoids bleed?
Hemorrhoids is a common condition that affects an estimated 4.4% of the adult population in the U.S while another 75% have suffered from it at one point in their lives. Everyone has clustered blood vessels in the rectum and anus but when they swell, it results in hemorrhoids which are uncomfortable and sometimes itchy.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
The symptoms and signs of hemorrhoids depend on the type.
Since they are found inside the rectum, they rarely result in any discomfort. However, there are a few symptoms that they do exhibit:
- When the hemorrhoid is pushed out of the anus (prolapsed hemorrhoid), it causes irritation and pain
- Painless bleeding when you strain during bowel movements which can be noticed on the toilet paper or in the toilet
The symptoms that accompany external hemorrhoids include:
- An itchy and irritating feeing
- Discomfort and pain
- Fecal leakage
Can Hemorrhoids Bleed?
If you suffer from hemorrhoids, you may be wondering if these hemorrhoids bleed and the quick answer is yes; both internal and external hemorrhoids bleed. Hemorrhoids bleed when their walls are damaged from straining to pass hard stool.
Blood often pools in external hemorrhoid and it forms a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Bleeding then occurs when too much blood accumulates in a thrombosed hemorrhoid and it bursts. Just before it bursts, you will experience a lot of pain because of the built-up pressure.
Surprisingly, the bursting of a thrombosed hemorrhoid brings immediate relief since the pent-up pressure is released.In some cases, rectal bleeding could be a tell-tale sign of another disease like anal or colorectal cancer. This is why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a doctor and not rely on self-diagnosis.
How Long Will the Bleeding Last?
The bleeding of a burst hemorrhoid usually lasts for a few seconds or even several minutes. In some instances, the bleeding occurs in between bowel movements. However, if the bleeding lasts for more than 10 minutes, that should be cause for alarm.
What Should I Do If a Hemorrhoid Bursts?
When your hemorrhoid bursts, it’s not serious enough to seek medical assistance. If anything, the healing process happens on its own. If you’re keen on accelerating the process and soothing the discomfort, you can use a sitz bath. It helps in soothing, healing, cleaning, and improving blood blow to the area. To take a sitz bath, fill a bathtub with warm water and sit in it for about 15-20 minutes to soak the area. After this, gently pat the area dry and remember to keep it clean. You should do this daily for a week to achieve desired results.
Should I See a Doctor?
If your bleeding goes on for more than 10 minutes, then consult a doctor because it could due to underlying conditions like anal or colorectal cancer. Aside from bleeding, see a doctor if you see the following signs:
- Change in stool color or consistency
- Changes in bowel movements
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
To prevent the development of hemorrhoids and eventual bursting, you need to take measures that prevent pooling of blood and eventual pressure build up. These include:
Foods rich in fiber like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables soften your stool and add to its bulk so you won’t strain in bowel movements. Read more about How to treat Hemorrhoids with correct nutrition.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of water and other fluids daily helps in softening your stool and prevents strained bowel movements.
Straining when passing stool puts pressure on your rectum and anus so it irritates the veins located there.
Don’t Sit Too Long
Sitting for long periods on the toilet puts the pressure on your veins and encourages the pooling of blood in them.
Doing physical exercises prevents constipation and eases the pressure on your veins. It also reduces excess weight that puts more pressure on your veins too. Read more about Kegel exercises for hemorrhoids treatment.
Go As Soon As You Get the Urge
Delaying going to the toilet to pass stool makes it dry out and when you do go, you will be forced to strain.
As we’ve seen, dipping the anal area in a bathtub or sitz bath helps in soothing, improving circulation, and healing the hemorrhoids. You can add Epsom salts or baking soda for better results.
Place an ice pack or ice wrapped in a cloth on your anal area to help in reducing the pain, swelling, and discomfort of hemorrhoids. This should be done for around 15 minutes.
Witch Hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that will help in easing the pain, itching, and swelling of the hemorrhoids. You can use it directly on your hemorrhoids or you can use products that have it as an ingredient like wipes and soaps.
Use Moist and Soothing Wipes
Using toilet paper can aggravate the hemorrhoids. Using moist wipes with soothing ingredients like witch hazel and aloe vera helps in reducing the itch and cleaning the area well at the same time.
Aloe Vera has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that will help reduce the irritation and swelling of the hemorrhoids. Extract the gel from the leaf and apply it to the hemorrhoids. To ensure it doesn’t irritate your skin further, do a skin patch test beforehand.
Hemorrhoids can make your life very miserable but the good news is that there’s a solution. Brief bleeding of the hemorrhoids shouldn’t also alarm you. Take the above-suggested solutions and you’ll be okay.