Ever encountered suspicious growths on your body? If you're wondering what growths you have, then you're in luck. This article will be all about hemorrhoids vs hernia, their differences and similarities, and it'll educate you on how you can treat and prevent both conditions.
Hemorrhoids vs Hernia Symptoms
Comparing the symptoms of hemorrhoids is one good way of differentiating them. The very first difference between them is their location- while hemorrhoids are swellings in the rectum and anus; a person with hernia has a bulge in the groin, upper thigh, chest, hip, or abdominal areas.
Hemorrhoids are mostly felt as discomfort or pain while passing stool or sitting down but hernia bulges are felt while standing up, coughing, or bending down. When you lie down, the hernia may temporarily disappear until you rise up again.
What is a Hernia?
A hernia is a bulge of an organ through a weakened point in the muscle or tissue that’s holding it in place. There are different types of hernias depending on where they are found in the body. They include:
This is the commonest type of hernia. It occurs when intestines push through a weakened point or tear in the inguinal canal which is found in the lower abdominal wall. It's mostly found in men's groins in the region where the spermatic cord passes to the scrotum from the abdomen.
This hernia occurs when a part of the bowel or fatty tissue protrudes out of the groin or upper thigh. Femoral hernia is often associated with aging since the abdomen is subjected to repeated pressure over time.
As the name suggests, this hernia results from an incision made during abdominal surgery. Intestines poke out of the incision scar or the weakened tissue around it. It occurs when a surgical wound doesn't heal completely.
This kind of hernia occurs when part of the bowel or fatty tissue pushes through the abdominal wall near the belly button. Umbilical hernia occurs in babies and children and it typically goes away at around 1-2 years when the abdominal walls get stronger.
This is the hernia in which a portion of the stomach pokes past the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. It mostly occurs in older people and it can result in gastroesophageal reflux where the contents of the stomach leak into the esophagus and causes a burning sensation on the heart.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are distended blood vessels in and around the rectal and anal canal and they affect about 20% of the general population. The hemorrhoids found in the rectum are internal hemorrhoids while those in and around the anus are external hemorrhoids. Sometimes, the internal hemorrhoids protrude out of the anus and these are known as prolapsed hemorrhoids. They can retract on their own or require that you push it back using your finger. If that doesn’t work, a surgical procedure should be your last resort.
What Causes Hernia and What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hernias occur because of muscle weakness and strain and it may take a short or long time to develop. Muscle weakness and strain may be caused by:
- Strenuous physical activity such as lifting heavy objects
- It may be a congenital condition that develops in the womb
- Aging that weakens body muscles and tissues
- Surgery or injury that weakens muscles or tissues
- Straining during bowel movements
- Chronic coughing
- Carrying multiples in pregnancy at once
- Fluid in the abdomen
- Being obese or overweight
Hemorrhoids are caused by the straining of the blood vessels when too much pressure is applied to them. This pressure could be caused by constipation, pregnancy, obesity, or being overweight, sitting for too long, and aging. More information HERE.
How to Prevent and Treat Hernia
You can prevent the occurrence of hernia in the following ways:
- Avoid lifting objects that are too heavy
- Seek treatment for a persistent cough
- Eat more fiber and drink more water to prevent constipation
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising
- Quit smoking because it puts a strain on your abdomen and raises the risk of developing an inguinal hernia
In most cases, hernias do not pose a life-threatening risk. However, when your hernia is causing you pain, is growing in size, or is an inguinal hernia which may result in bowel strangulation; you may need to undergo surgery.
Two types of surgery can be done to correct a hernia. The first is an open surgery where the hernia is closed using sutures, staples, mesh, or surgical glue. The second is laparoscopic surgery where miniature surgical equipment is used to make a few tiny incisions on the hernia so as to minimize damage to surrounding tissues.
How to Prevent and Treat Hemorrhoids
You can avoid getting hemorrhoids by taking the following measures:
Include Fiber and Water in Your Diet
Having plenty of fiber and water in your diet will soften stool and keep it moving out the anus without a struggle.
When you are active food and stool move quickly down your gut so there’s no time for it to harden and cause constipation. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight so the pressure on the anus and rectum is eased. You can practice special exercises for pelvic floor Kegel exercises for hemorrhoids.
Avoid Sitting for Long
If you have the tendency to sit for long periods, make an effort to stand up and walk around every once in a while to take the pressure off the anus and rectum.
Hemorrhoids can be treated using at-home remedies or medical procedures. The at-home remedies aim at relieving pain, inflammation, bleeding, and itching. Some of these remedies include aloe vera gel, witch hazel, warm baths, cold compress, over-the-counter creams or ointments, using soothing wipes, coconut oil, H-Hemorrhoids Formula Oil and essential oils. More information about How to get rid of hemorrhoids for good: types, causes and treatments
The medical treatment can either be simple office procedures or full-on surgery. Office procedures include sclerotherapy and banding. Sclerotherapy is where a chemical is injected into the hemorrhoid to shrink it while banding is where a rubber band is tied on a hemorrhoid to starve it and shrink it. The surgical procedures include hemorrhoidectomy and stapling. Hemorrhoidectomy involves the opening of hemorrhoids to remove swollen veins while stapling is used to stick prolapsed hemorrhoids to the rectum.
Knowing the difference between a hernia and hemorrhoid is crucial because they each require different treatments. If in doubt, consult your doctor and you’ll get a proper diagnosis and treatment.