Having haemorrhoids (both external and internal) is a common problem in adults. According to research, about 75 percent of people will have haemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Fortunately the prognosis is good.
Prognosis of haemorrhoids
Prognosis for both internal and external haemorrhoids is good.
In most cases, conservative treatment (diet and lifestyle modification) is usually effective for mild haemorrhoids. The symptoms improve within a few days but you can have recurrence of symptoms (pain, bleeding and itching). To prevent recurrence of haemorrhoids, intake of high fibre diet along with adequate fluids is essential. According to experts, women should have 25 grams of fibre per day while men should consume 38 grams .
If you are unable to take enough fibre in diet, over-the-counter fibre supplements can be useful. They have been shown to be effective in improving overall symptoms and bleeding from haemorrhoids by making the stool soft. In addition to increasing fibre in diet, take plenty of water and other non-alcoholic fluids (about 6-8, 200-ml glasses) daily. All this is especially important if your haemorrhoids are related to constipation. Most haemorrhoids respond well to conservative treatment (diet and medications). Recurrence rate with nonsurgical techniques can vary from 10 to 50 per cent over a 5-year period.
If you continue to have recurrence of symptoms or persistent symptoms despite changes in diet, lifestyle and medications, surgery (haemorrhoidectomy, rubber band ligation, or sclerotherapy) may be needed. Surgery is usually highly successful with a low rate of recurrence of symptoms (approximately 26% for haemorrhoidectomy over a 5 year period).
After starting treatment, symptoms improve within a few days in most cases. If the haemorrhoids continue to be a problem after 1 - 2 weeks, consult your doctor as similar symptoms can be caused by many other conditions, such as anal fissures, anal fistulas, colon polyps, rectal prolapse, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and colon and rectal cancers.
Haemorrhoids are not dangerous or fatal but can become complicated. Some complications which develop in some of the cases include thrombosis, secondary infection, ulceration, abscess, and incontinence. Occasional complications of haemorrhoids include—anaemia (because of chronic blood loss from haemorrhoids) and strangulated haemorrhoid. In strangulated haemorrhoids, the blood supply to an internal haemorrhoid is cut off, which can cause extreme pain and lead to tissue death (gangrene).
Haemorrhoids which develop in pregnancy usually regress spontaneously after childbirth.