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Health and Fitness

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids refers to varicose veins or veins around the area of the lower rectum and the anus, which have enlarged/swollen due to increased pressure. This medical phenomenon is common in both men and women, but pregnant women may be at a higher risk of developing it. Nevertheless, it’s more commonplace in people aged 50 and above, particularly those who experience difficulty in passing stool. 

Although there is no clear culprit as to the cause of vein enlargement, hemorrhoids can be extremely debilitating and bothersome, if not life-threatening. A range of physical activities such as lifting of heavy objects or excessive straining around the rectal area may increase the likelihood of an individual experiencing this condition. However, with early identification, preventative measures, and the right treatment plan, individuals suffering from this medical problem can find relief.

Causes

As established, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of why hemorrhoids occur. Older people are at a higher propensity of experiencing. As we age, the tissues that provide support to the veins in our rectum become prone to wear and tear. Another risk factor for hemorrhoids is gender — pregnant women will inevitably strain the anal area, due to the weight of the baby pushing down on it.

Despite these risk factors, a culmination of strenuous physical activities done over the course of adulthood may also lead to hemorrhoids.

For example, people who make it a habit to strain or hold their breath while passing excrement are putting undue pressure on the veins around the lower rectum. Some may develop hemorrhoids due to prolonged lifting of heavy equipment or having a generally sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.

Symptoms

Many cases of hemorrhoids aren’t considered serious medical conditions, with many patients oftentimes not experiencing any symptoms. But for those that do, symptoms will range from a small irritation or discomfort in the anus or in extreme cases, bleeding and protrusion due to a prolapse. Hemorrhoid symptoms can also be categorized according to the different types. Namely internal, external, prolapsed, and thrombosed.

Internal hemorrhoids are difficult to spot, as this condition takes place deep within the anus. Under examination, they appear as protrusions in the rectum or anal canal wall. When they manifest, they are usually painless and can be in the form of light bleeding during bowel movements.

Aside from swelling, another form of hemorrhoids (external) can also exhibit symptoms in the form of irritation, swelling, bleeding, or persistent discomfort in the anus. External hemorrhoids occur when swells form under the skin that surrounds the anus. Due to the enlargement of these blood vessels, they end up protruding and causing pain. 

When left undiagnosed, an external hemorrhoid can lead to a thrombose, or a clotting. Sufferers of thrombosed hemorrhoids often complain of feeling a solid and painful lump in the same area. The pain may also affect the lumbar region, causing the patient to have difficulty in passing stool, walking or sitting. 

Lastly, prolapsed hemorrhoids may be similar to external hemorrhoids, but the difference lies in the location of the swollen veins. In a prolapse, the swelling takes place inside the rectum, near the lower part of the large intestine. This ends up “bulging out” of the area, leading to irritation. 

Treatment

In less serious cases, treatment for hemorrhoids may be done at home. By just using simple remedies. If you experience minor symptoms such as itching or light pain, visiting the doctor may not be a necessity. Oftentimes, symptoms go away altogether by taking over-the-counter painkillers or getting into a warm bath.

In treating rectal pain, which is one of the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids, patients may be advised to have a more fiber-rich diet or a coupled with regular exercise.

However, when hemorrhoids symptoms can’t seem to go away on their own, or home remedies are already proving to be ineffective, it may be time to seek a medical professional for the right treatment plan.

Doctors who have provided a diagnosis may conduct treatments such as rubber band ligation, infrared photocoagulation, sclerotherapy, and the like.

Key Takeaway

Understanding the risk factors, causes, symptoms, and treatment for hemorrhoids is the key to ensuring a more manageable life for a patient suffering from this condition. Even though many cases of hemorrhoids will not require treatment, some symptoms may cause chronic and lasting pain to the individual. Fortunately, proper prevention can be undertaken. All it takes is the right knowhow to spot symptoms of the disease and identify the most common risk factors.

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