Haemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. It is also known as pain caused by venous swelling.
Primarily, there are two types of haemorrhoids: external and internal. The external haemorrhoids develop under the skin around the anus whereas the internal haemorrhoids develop in the lower rectum. Internal haemorrhoids on the other hand, may protrude or prolapse through the anus. In rare cases of severe prolapse, the haemorrhoids may protrude permanently.
Haemorrhoids occur when veins swell in the anal or rectal canal. The reasons behind swelling are frequent diarrhoea, continued constipation, urinary problems and a diet deficient in fibre. Excessive sitting, straining during a bowel movement, heavy lifting and acute coughing are among other causes of haemorrhoids. Also, age has been linked to haemorrhoids; the connective tissue weakens as you age.
Expecting mothers are at greater risk of developing haemorrhoids owing to the increased pressure in the abdomen during pregnancy. The pressure that a growing foetus exerts may enlarge the veins in the lower rectum and anus. The haemorrhoids developed during pregnancy heal after childbirth.
Symptoms of haemorrhoids are as follows:
Bleeding – Bright-red blood that you notice on toilet paper or on the stool is the most common sign of internal haemorrhoids.
Anal discomfort – If the haemorrhoids protrude, they can be painful and irritating.
Itching and swelling – Haemorrhoids can cause severe itching in the anal region. This is due to mucus seeping out of the anus, causing irritation leading to itching. This can also be accompanied by discomfort and swelling.
Faecal leakage – There can be a constant leakage of faeces when an internal haemorrhoid protrudes. The sign is uncontrollable leakage that usually happens without warning.
There are certain symptoms of haemorrhoids that need immediate medical attention. Rush to your health care provider if you notice black or tarry stool, blood clots, blood in the stool and massive rectal bleeding. Light-headedness, faintness and dizziness are among other symptoms that require prompt attention of the doctor.
A combination of medications, lifestyle modifications and dietary changes can help treat haemorrhoids for many, but some may need medications or surgery. Increasing fibre in the diet and drinking plenty of water can help patients to pass stools easily.
Experts prescribe over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories and pads for those who experience pain, itching or discomfort. Fibre supplements are also given to make the stool softer and easier to pass. Moreover, there are several astringents that are available over the counter, which dry up and cool the area to provide instant relief.
When lifestyle modifications and dietary changes don’t help in easing the symptoms or when your haemorrhoid is in the advanced stage, surgery may be needed. Your health care provider will examine you and decide if it is safe to cut and cauterize or burn the haemorrhoid.
Understanding haemorrhoid, recognising its symptoms and knowing the treatment options available may help you to manage the condition better. Besides, you may ensure prompt relief through a variety of methods.
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