Hemorrhoids, sometimes called piles, is a condition where blood vessels in the anal and rectal canal become distended. Hemorrhoids found in the lower rectum are known as internal hemorrhoids while those found outside the anus are external hemorrhoids. In some cases, hemorrhoids with blood clots may develop in both external and internal hemorrhoids and this article will explore how this happens, what you can do about them, and treatment options to reduce the symptoms and discomfort of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids form as a result of excess pressure being exerted on blood vessels in the rectum and anus so the smooth flow of blood is hindered. Therefore, blood pools and the blood vessels swell up. The pressure can be caused by straining during bowel movements or having excess body weight. Hemorrhoids sometimes cause discomfort, pain, and bleeding and according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, 5% of Americans experience these symptoms.
What is a Thrombosed Hemorrhoid?
When the blood vessels in your hemorrhoids are too full of blood, a blood clot may develop inside a vein. A hemorrhoid with a blood clot is what is called a thrombosed hemorrhoid. This is not a necessarily dangerous situation but it does cause you extreme pain. A thrombosed hemorrhoid may eventually burst to ease the pressure of the build-up of blood and this leads to bleeding for a short time. Bursting of a thrombosed hemorrhoid actually gives you relief because the pressure is uncomfortable.
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Thrombosed Hemorrhoids Symptoms
The following are symptoms that will let you know that you have a thrombosed hemorrhoid:
- You’ll notice blood in your stool in the toilet or on toilet paper after you wipe. If it’s painless bleeding, it’s from an internal hemorrhoid where pain receptors don’t exist.
- For an external hemorrhoid, you’ll feel a hard lump as you wipe after bowel movements.
- A thrombosed hemorrhoid is usually dark blue or purple because of the blood in it.
- Extreme pain, inflammation, and discomfort for thrombosed hemorrhoids within external hemorrhoids. You feel pain because of the pain receptors around the anus.
Is it Normal to Have Blood Clots with Hemorrhoids?
Having blood clots in hemorrhoids is not uncommon. It happens in some people with hemorrhoids although the real reason why they develop is unknown. Therefore, you shouldn’t be alarmed by them. However, rectal bleeding could be a sign of a more serious condition like colorectal cancer so seek a doctor’s help just to make sure.
When Should I be Worried about Blood When I Wipe?
When a thrombosed hemorrhoid bursts, bleeding usually lasts a few seconds to several minutes. However, if bleeding goes beyond 10 minutes and even causes you dizziness, you should immediately seek medical assistance.
Home Remedies for Easing Discomfort
You don’t need to seek to always go for medication or medical procedures to treat hemorrhoids. There are several home remedies you can try to reduce the pain, discomfort an even reduce bleeding. They include:
Wrap ice in a towel or cloth and press it on the hemorrhoids. This will help with reducing inflammation and pain. It does this by shrinking your blood vessels. Ice also helps to reduce the occurrence of blood clots and tissue damage. Apply ice to your hemorrhoids for 15 minutes at a time. Putting ice directly on the hemorrhoids will cause skin damage so avoid that.
Warm water is soothing to hemorrhoids and it relieves pain and inflammation. It also improves the circulation of blood so the problem of blood pooling in your veins is solved. Soak in warm bathwater for 15 to 20 minutes daily until you feel better. You can also fit a sitz bath over your toilet seat and sit in it for the same amount of time.
Witch hazel is a shrub that is well-known for its ability to soothe inflammation and skin irritations. It’s usually found in liquid form that can be applied directly on the hemorrhoids. Witch hazel is also used as an ingredient in anti-itch creams, soaps, and wipes.
Aloe vera gel which is extracted from the leaves of the aloe vera plant, has anti-inflammatory effects. It will reduce the pain and inflammation of hemorrhoids. Make sure you do a skin patch test to make sure it doesn’t cause an allergic reaction.
Over-the-counter Topical Medications
You can find ointments, suppositories, and creams that will help in reducing the irritation of hemorrhoids. They are usually made from anti-itch compounds such as hydrocortisone and witch hazel.
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Get stool softeners and fiber supplements like psyllium which will make bowel movements much easier so you won’t develop any new hemorrhoids or make existing ones worse.
Include Enough Fiber and Water in Your Diet
Fiber helps in bowel movements because it adds to the bulk of your stool. Fiber-rich foods you should eat include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts. Water also helps the digestion process and reduces constipation. Fiber absorbs water and together they make stool soft and bulky so passing it becomes easy.
Physical activity is very helpful in the digestion process so it prevents constipation. It also keeps blood flowing seamlessly. Exercise also manages your weight so that excess body weight doesn’t put too much pressure on blood vessels. The exercises that you can try are like aerobic exercises, walking, swimming, or cycling.
Good Bathroom Habits
Do not delay going to move your bowels when you need to. This will make stool harden and when you go, you end up having a hard time and this makes you develop hemorrhoids. As soon as you feel like going to the bathroom, do so promptly.
Employing the above remedies will help in relieving the symptoms of hemorrhoids and so the chances of developing hemorrhoids with clots are significantly lowered. They are cost-effective,sometimes even free and their natural nature ensures that you don't suffer from any dangerous side effects.
If the symptoms persist even after using home remedies, you may need medical intervention so seek your doctor's help. Hemorrhoids need not bother you for the rest of your life yet solutions are available.