Hemorrhoids which are more famously known as piles are very common, and a staggering 75% of people have suffered from it at some point in their lives. They cause a very uncomfortable and itchy feeling around the anal area that will have you seeking for urgent relief. Will hemorrhoids go away on their own or will you need to look for treatment options? Well, read on to find out.
Whom Do Hemorrhoids Affect?
Some people are more susceptible to getting hemorrhoids because of certain factors. Hemorrhoids mostly develop when the blood vessels in the rectum and anus are placed under too much pressure. People who are at the greatest risk of developing hemorrhoids include:
Obese or Overweight People
Being overweight or obese means that the extra weight weighs down various body organs, including the blood vessels in the rectum and anus. This hinders the free flow of blood to and from the heart, causing the pooling of blood which leads to hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are most common in people from age 45 to 65. This is because as you age, your connective tissues between the rectum and anus get weaker. When this happens, the slightest pressure placed on them, for example during bowel movements, results in the distending of blood vessels.
The weight of the baby especially in the third trimester places tremendous pressure on blood vessels under the womb. These blood vessels include those of the anus and rectum. Pregnancy hormones also cause abnormal swelling of blood vessels.
People Genetically Predisposed
If you have close relatives who have suffered from hemorrhoids, it’s more likely that you’ll also develop them. This is because having weak veins may run in your family line.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen or distended blood vessels that are found in the lower parts of the rectum or the anus. Hemorrhoids in the lower rectum are known as internal hemorrhoids while those on the anus are called external hemorrhoids. They typically manifest as inflammations, itchiness, pain, and sometimes bleeding.
One of the symptoms of hemorrhoids is painless bleeding that you notice in the toilet or on the tissue after passing stool. When bleeding is painless, it’s because it’s from internal hemorrhoids where pain receptors are usually absent. However, when a blood clot forms in an external hemorrhoid (thrombosed hemorrhoid), it may burst and bleed which will be very painful because the anus has pain receptors.
The severity of hemorrhoids is usually measured by doctors in a grading system that includes 4 stages:
- First Degree- Here, hemorrhoids are slightly enlarged, they bleed but they don't protrude out of the anus.
- Second Degree- In this stage, hemorrhoids protrude out of the anus, for example, during bowel movements but they retract into the anus on their own afterwards. Bleeding may be present or absent.
- Third Degree- Hemorrhoids protrude out the anus and they must be pushed back inside with a finger to retract.
- Fourth Degree- In this stage, protruded hemorrhoids cannot be pushed back into the anus. They can even become thrombosed hemorrhoids when blood clots form in them.
How Long Do Hemorrhoids Take to Heal?
There is no set duration of how long hemorrhoids take to heal with or without treatment. It depends on the severity and size of the hemorrhoids. Small hemorrhoids may take a few days to heal while larger ones may take a number of months. However, if you take too long before seeking help, they will get worse and healing will be more difficult.
Will Hemorrhoids Go Away on Their Own?
The answer to the question will hemorrhoids go away on their own is not a simple yes or no. Small hemorrhoids may go away on their own within a few days without you undergoing any treatment. Larger hemorrhoids, however, require home remedies, lifestyle changes, or medical procedures to be eliminated.
How Can You Make Hemorrhoids Go Away?
For large hemorrhoids that cause you pain, itchiness, and bleeding, you can consider any of the treatment options below:
There are creams, pads, suppositories, and ointments available over-the-counter that you can apply on hemorrhoids to find relief from symptoms. They are made with ingredients like witch hazel and hydrocortisone that reduce itching, inflammation, and pain.
In this method, doctors inject a hemorrhoid with a chemical to reduce its size. Shrinking can also be done using freezing, heat, or light.
Rubber Band Ligation
This is a popular method with doctors where they tie a tight rubber band on a hemorrhoid. Its blood circulation is cut off so it dies and falls off.
This is a surgical procedure where a doctor makes incisions on hemorrhoids and removes the blood vessels in them that are causing swelling. It is done on large hemorrhoids that are troublesome and it can be performed on both external and internal hemorrhoids.
Eating plenty of fiber will increase the bulk of your stool and soften it so that you have an easier time during bowel movements. Eat foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts that have plenty of fiber. Water is also crucial in assisting digestion and softening stool so drink at least 6 glasses of it daily.
Staying active improves bowel functions and reduces pressure on the blood vessels of the rectum and anus. It also keeps you from gaining too much weight which increases pressure on hemorrhoids.
Proper Toilet Habits
Straining while passing stool causes the development of hemorrhoids and makes existing ones worse. Avoid straining or holding your breath duringbowel movements.
Teach yourself to go to the toilet whenever you feel like doing so. Holding feces in hardens them and passing stool becomes difficult so hemorrhoids develop.
You should also avoid sitting on the toilet for too long because it puts undue pressure on the vessels in the anal canal.
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties due to tannins that will help in reducing the swelling, itching, and pain of hemorrhoids. You can apply aloe vera gel directly on the hemorrhoids.
Warm water soothes itching and improves blood circulation in the hemorrhoids. Soak your anus in warm water for fifteen minutes daily until the symptoms disappear.
Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it ideal for reducing itchiness, inflammation, bleeding, and pain in hemorrhoids. Dip a cotton ball in it and dab it on the hemorrhoids.
Holding an ice pack on your hemorrhoids will help reduce pain and irritation because it shrinks the swelling. Do it for 15 minutes until you fee relief.
Remember to seek advice from your doctor before trying home remedies to find out if they are good for you.