Hemorrhoids or piles are swellings that are found around the anus or the lower rectum. It’s a common condition and by the age of 50, 50% of people in the US will have experienced its symptoms at some point in their life. If you’re seeking clarification on what do hemorrhoids feel like, you are in the right place.
Piles form due to the exertion of pressure on the blood vessels in the rectum and anus. This pressure can be caused by being overweight, pregnant, constipation, sitting too long on the toilet, among other factors.
There are two main types of hemorrhoids; internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are the ones found in the rectum while external hemorrhoids are found underneath the skin around the anus. At times, blood pools inside an external hemorrhoid to form a clot. This is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
The symptoms of hemorrhoids vary depending on whether they are internal, external, or thrombosed hemorrhoids. Below are the symptoms:
Symptoms of Internal Hemorrhoids
- Bleeding that is painless because that area of the rectum does not have pain receptors. You can notice it in the toilet or on tissue after bowel movements.
- A hemorrhoid may be pushed out of the anus and it causes pain since the anus has pain receptors. An internal hemorrhoid that has been pushed out is known as a prolapsed hemorrhoid.
Symptoms of External Hemorrhoids
- Pain and irritation around the anus
- Swelling around the anus
- Bleeding that is accompanied by pain
Symptoms of Thrombosed Hemorrhoids
- A protruding hard lump near the anus
- Extreme pain
- Swelling and inflammation
What Do Hemorrhoids Feel Like?
Since internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum, feeling them or seeing them is close to impossible. However, external hemorrhoids that are around the anus can be seen and felt. External hemorrhoids are pink or purple bumps that feel hard to the touch.
You may also feel a sharp pain, discomfort, or pressure when you sit down. You will also feel discomfort or pain when you pass stool or wipe afterward.
Hemorrhoids are not life-threatening and with proper treatment, you can make a full recovery. If you follow the doctor’s recommendations or you stay consistent in your home remedies regimen, the symptoms of hemorrhoids will eventually disappear.
A doctor will diagnose the existence of hemorrhoids by asking your symptoms, carrying out a physical examination of your anus, and a digital rectal exam.
The doctor can detect external hemorrhoids by simply looking at the skin around the anus. For internal hemorrhoids, a digital rectal examination is required where the doctor inserts a lubricated gloved finger up your anus to feel for hemorrhoids. A shorted illuminated device known as an anoscope is used to check inside the anal canal.
When bleeding is detected, a more thorough exam such as colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy is done to find if there is a serious problem like colorectal cancer or polyps.
Hemorrhoids can be treated using over-the-counter medication, medical procedures, home remedies, and lifestyle changes.
Over-the-counter (OTC) Medication
Your doctor may prescribe OTC creams, ointments, or pads that will help soothe the irritation of hemorrhoids. They contain ingredients like hydrocortisone, witch hazel, and lidocaine which temporarily relieve itchiness and pain.
There are medical procedures that are mildly invasive and you can quickly recover after them. The various procedures doctors and surgeons use to eliminate hemorrhoids include:
Rubber Band Ligation
In this method, a small elastic rubber band is used to tie the base of the hemorrhoid. Banding a hemorrhoid starves it of blood and it slowly shrinks away. The procedure is done 2-4 times before it finally disappears. This method is very effective in preventing recurrence.
This method is used to treat a prolapsed and bleeding hemorrhoid. The doctor uses a stapling device to pin the hemorrhoid back to its initial position.
This method is mostly used to remove large external hemorrhoids or persistent internal hemorrhoids. Incisions are made around the hemorrhoids and blood vessels inside them are removed. It’s a painful procedure that needs general anesthesia.
This involves pressing an ice pack on the hemorrhoids to relieve pain and swelling. Do this for only a few minutes.
A sitz is a small bowl that fits over the seat of your toilet and you fill it with warm water. Sitting on it for 10-15 minutes soothes pain and irritation. It also promotes the circulation of blood and reduces the swelling of veins.
Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s anti-inflammatory in nature so it will relieve inflammation, pain, and itchiness. You shouldn’t apply Apple Cider Vinegar directly to your skin since it’s very concentrated and can burn you. Dilute it in a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.
This is a fiber derived from the husk of the Plantago ovata seeds. It’s used as a laxative so it softens your stool and makes it easier for you to pass stool.
Amoils Hemorrhoid oil
It is easy to use and proven solution for hemorrhoids home treatment. Hemorrhoids oil is fully natural, FDA listed and manufactured in the USA. It quickly reduces swelling and offers fast relief to hemorrhoids.
Keeping active promotes proper digestion and bowel movement. It also helps you lose weight so that no extra pressure is exerted on your anal and rectal regions.
If you don’t consume enough fiber then you easily constipate and this leads to the development of hemorrhoids. The fiber contained in vegetables, fruits, and fruits adds to the bulk of your stool and softens it to make bowel movements a breeze.
Water is very helpful in softening stool so that you don’t constipate. Drink plenty of water and other fluids like fruit juices.
Don’t Sit Too Long on the Toilet
Avoid taking too long sitting on the toilet. Go only when you feel the real urge to go. At the same time, don’t ignore going when you feel you want to go. The stool hardens and becomes harder to pass when you do this.
When you notice blood or the symptoms don’t go away after home treatment, see a doctor right away in case you have a serious condition.