For about 20% of the population in the US, hemorrhoids or piles are a daily struggle. The condition is characterized by swollen veins in the anus and rectum that result in discomfort, pain, and irritation, especially when passing stool and soon afterward. Here, you'll know more about a type of hemorrhoids known as thrombosed hemorrhoids and get advice on how you can treat them on your own as well as prevent them.
What is a Thrombosed Hemorrhoid?
A thrombosed hemorrhoid is a hemorrhoid with a blood clot inside it that hinders the flow of blood in it. The clot mostly occurs in external hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids around the anus) but it can also be in internal hemorrhoids (hemorrhoids in the rectum). Since circulation is limited in thrombosed hemorrhoids, pressure builds up until they burst, resulting in bleeding. In other cases, the blood clot may be absorbed back into the body and the symptoms disappear.
Thrombosed Hemorrhoids Symptoms
The following symptoms indicate the presence of a thrombosed hemorrhoid:
- Extreme pain around the anus when defecating, sitting, or walking because of the build-up of pressure
- Bleeding when the hemorrhoid bursts which actually brings relief from the pain
- For internal thrombosed hemorrhoids, bleeding is painless because pain receptors are absent in the rectum
- The hemorrhoid is dark bluish in color
- An itchy sensation around the anus
- You feel a swollen lump in the anus
The reason hemorrhoids develop blood clots is unknown to doctors but hemorrhoids form as a result of too much pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus. This may be because of:
Straining to pass stool puts pressure on the blood vessels in the rectum and anus so hemorrhoids may develop if constipation is prolonged.
Passing stool too often because of chronic diarrhea also strains the anal and rectal blood vessels. Coupled with frequent wiping, hemorrhoids are likely to develop.
Being Overweight or Obese
When a person is overweight or obese, the excess body weight puts undue pressure on blood vessels in the anal and rectal region so hemorrhoids may form.
Pregnancy and Postpartum
Hemorrhoids are very common in pregnant women in their third trimester. This is because the baby gets heavy and rests on the inferior vena cava, a major blood vessel that takes blood from the lower regions of the body to the heart. This interferes with the flow of blood to the rectum, anus, and legs so their blood vessels swell.
Women also commonly suffer from hemorrhoids after giving birth because of the intense pressure put on the muscles of the rectum and anus during vaginal delivery.
Thrombosed Hemorrhoids Home Treatment
Your local drug store most likely has hemorrhoid cream or ointment that you can apply on the hemorrhoids to relieve the pain, bleeding, itchiness, and swelling. There are also soothing witch hazel wipes you can use instead of your ordinary toilet paper. You can also take pain relievers like ibuprofen and Tylenol to help you deal with the pain.
Pressing an ice pack onto your hemorrhoids will relieve the inflammation, pain, and itchiness because it will contract your blood vessels. Do this for 15-20 minutes after bowel movements.
A sitz bath is a small bowl of warm water you can fit over your toilet and sit in it for 20 minutes after bowel movements. Warm water relieves hemorrhoids symptoms because it improves blood circulation and soothes irritation.
Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory compound that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. Apply freshly-extracted aloe vera gel on your hemorrhoids and it’ll reduce the swelling and soothe the pain, irritation, and discomfort.
Preventing hemorrhoids will save you from ever going through the excruciating pain of thrombosed hemorrhoids. Here are ways you can do that:
You can get stool softeners or fiber supplements from your local drug store to prevent constipation. This will ensure you don’t strain while passing stool and you don’t experience irritation.
Loose Cotton Clothing
Wearing tight underwear and pants made with artificial fabrics hinders proper circulation in the anus and rectum. Instead, you should put on loose, cotton clothing to prevent hemorrhoids.
Exercising is very instrumental in making bowel movements more frequent and so, the stool doesn’t harden and become too difficult to pass. However, you should avoid exercises like cycling and weight-lifting that make hemorrhoids worse.
Eat Fiber and Hydrate
When you eat food like fruits, vegetables, seeds, wholemeal grains, and legumes in plenty, you avoid constipation so hemorrhoids will not be a problem for you. Soluble fibers dissolve in water to make a substance similar to gel that makes stool softer. Thus, you should drink a lot of water and other non-alcoholic drinks to prevent hemorrhoids.
Healthy Bathroom Habits
To prevent hemorrhoids, avoid delaying acting on the urge to move your bowels because stool hardens and results in constipation. You should also avoid sitting in the toilet for too long because it stretches the anal muscles and their veins bulge and swell.
Don’t wait till you’re caving under the pain of thrombosed hemorrhoids to look for solutions. Adopt a healthier lifestyle that will keep hemorrhoids at bay. Where you can do nothing to stop hemorrhoids from developing, as in the case of pregnancy and child-bearing, you can rest in the fact that there are simple home remedies that can relieve your symptoms.