Almost everyone has suffered from diarrhea as it's one of the most common conditions that doctors receive with a staggering 2 billion cases occurring every year! Some of its symptoms are similar to hemorrhoids which is a fairly common condition as well. This article will take an in-depth look at hemorrhoids vs diarrhea symptom, as well as their causes to help you figure out which of the two conditions you could be suffering from.
Hemorrhoids vs Diarrhea Symptoms
The symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Discomfort in the anal area while sitting
- Painless rectal bleeding
- Hard lumps around the anus
- Pain around the anus
The signs and symptoms of diarrhea are as follows:
- Passing loose, watery stool 3 or more times
- The stool may have pus, mucus, too much fat, or blood
- Abdominal cramps
- A feeling of weakness
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Clammy skin
- Urinating less than usual
What Is a Diarrhea?
Diarrhea is a condition characterized by bowel movements becoming very frequent, loose, and watery. It can be a mild and temporary condition or it can get so serious that it leads to death. In fact, diarrhea is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5 in developing countries.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are also known as piles and they are swollen or distended blood vessels in the rectum and the anus. There are two main types of hemorrhoids; internal hemorrhoids which are inside the rectum and external hemorrhoids which are found in and around the anus.
What Causes Diarrhea and What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Most cases of diarrhea are brought about by a bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection in your bowels. These infections are mostly picked up from eating contaminated foods or water.
Diarrhea may also occur because of other reasons like:
Some people get diarrhea because of eating foods their bodies can’t tolerate like lactose or fructose.
You may suffer from chronic diarrhea if you have conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic bowel infection, or bowel cancer.
Diarrhea may occur when nutrients are not absorbed well and this can happen because of problems with the pancreas.
Taking some medicines could result in diarrhea as a side effect. Antibiotics, for example, cause an imbalance in gut bacteria so they could cause diarrhea.
Hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are caused by the pressuring of blood vessels in the anus and rectum until blood flow in them is interfered with. This causes a backflow of blood so the blood vessels swell with blood. This pressure may be caused by:
Struggling to pass hard stool is very taxing to the veins in the rectum and anus. It hinders proper blood flow so hemorrhoids may develop as a result.
With age comes a lot of wear and tear of body organs including the supportive tissue of the anus and rectum. Thus, when little pressure is applied to the rectum and anus, hemorrhoids can easily develop.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Carrying a baby for nine months and the eventual delivery process can easily cause hemorrhoids. This is because of the baby weight presses on the blood vessels in the rectum and anus, especially in the third trimester. Pushing out the baby strains these vessels even further and may cause hemorrhoids.
How to Prevent and Treat Diarrhea
You can prevent the occurrence of diarrhea in the following ways:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after visiting the toilet, before you cook, and before you eat.
- Avoid preparing food when you have diarrhea
- Cook your meats thoroughly
- Avoid eating raw meat
- Store perishable foods inside a refrigerator
- Disinfect benchtops, chopping boards, and stovetops before and after use
The treatment options that you could go for when suffering from diarrhea are:
You lose a lot of water when you have diarrhea and you can easily become dehydrated. Therefore, you need to drink lots of fluids to replace it. In severe diarrhea, fluids are administered intravenously.
When you’re vomiting, you should be careful with what you eat to avoid vomiting further. Eat bland foods, foods low in fiber, and those low in fat.
For diarrhea that’s caused by a bacterial infection, taking antibiotics will help with treating it.
You can buy medicines like Imodium and Pepto-Bismol to help with treating diarrhea. They help to reduce the frequency of passing stool.
Probiotics like yogurt and kombucha help increase the growth of healthy bacteria. These bacteria will help get rid of infections causing diarrhea.
How to Prevent and Treat Hemorrhoids
You can prevent hemorrhoids by eating plenty of fiber and drinking a lot of water to soften stool and prevent constipation. You can also exercise to keep stool moving down the gut smoothly. Additionally, you can prevent hemorrhoids by avoiding straining during bowel movements. Wait for the natural urge to come and act on it immediately to prevent stool from hardening and becoming difficult to pass.
Hemorrhoids can be treated at home using natural remedies or by a doctor using various procedures.
Most of the home remedies are used to reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids like inflammation, itching, pain, and bleeding. Some of the remedies you can apply to hemorrhoids to relieve them include ice, warm water, aloe vera, witch hazel, anti-itch creams, and essential oils. Read here How to get rid of hemorrhoids for good: types, causes and treatments
Doctors can intervene to help you get rid of hemorrhoids when other remedies don’t work. Hemorrhoids can be removed through a surgery known as hemorrhoidectomy. They can also be shrunk using chemicals using a method called sclerotherapy.
Banding is another popular procedure where a tight rubber band is tied on a hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply and shrink it.
When diarrhea becomes chronic, it can lead to hemorrhoids but the two conditions are distinct. They’re also very treatable so you can choose from the above tips which option works best for you.