The medical condition known as a hemorrhoid is one of those things that is not discussed in polite conversation. Perhaps the most easily understood reason is that those who suffer from them are not likely to discuss their condition to anyone, even to their doctor. Another name for them is “piles” which sounds even worse than the commonly used medical term. But they are real and can make your life miserable if not properly treated. Just ask any hemorrhoid sufferer.
Signs of Hemorrhoids
A hemorrhoid is simply a swollen or inflamed vein. It is their location – in the anus or lower rectal area – that makes the subject publicly uncomfortable. Though most people use the plural, hemorrhoids, it is possible to have a single hemorrhoid. Despite the general public silence about the condition, it is reported that by age 50 1 in 2 people will have developed at least one case of hemorrhoids.
There are a number of signs that will indicate whether you have developed hemorrhoids. Depending on the severity of the case, you can experience anything from minor itching in your anal region to involuntary leakage of feces. Here are the usual signs, listed in a general order of severity:
- Bleeding during bowel movements, usually noticed on your toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl
- Itching in your anal region
- Pain or discomfort in your anal region
- Feeling swollen in or near your anal region
- Sensing a lump in or near your anal region
- Involuntary leakage of feces
Regardless of the level of severity, seeking medical attention is the best way to deal with the problem before the condition worsens. Notice that some of these signs can be mistaken for other medical conditions, such as cancer. Getting the best information about these signs will go a long way to determining and fixing the problem.
How Do You Get Hemorrhoids
Development of hemorrhoids is not due to a virus or bacteria. The main cause of hemorrhoids is when people strain too hard during a bowel movement. Women who become pregnant are another group who often develop hemorrhoids. People who sit for unusually long periods of time are also at risk. In layperson’s terms, what all of these causes have in common is essentially a buildup of pressure in the rectal area.
While there are genetic disorders that can cause hemorrhoids, you can reduce the possibility of getting hemorrhoids by letting nature takes its course. This includes being physically active as a routine part of your day. People who have jobs that require them to sit in a chair for long periods of time need to pay attention to the increased potential risk of developing hemorrhoids.
Do Hemorrhoids Go Away On Their Own
The unfortunate answer to this question is “yes and no.” There are a number of factors that determine whether hemorrhoids run their course or require medical attention. What has to be considered is how to reduce the pressure on the affected area, which is the cause of hemorrhoids. Your body naturally increases pressure in your rectal area during any bowel movement, so there are cases where hemorrhoids will heal over a period of 1 to 3 weeks. In the case of pregnant women, the hemorrhoids often subside several weeks after pregnancy.
But if left untreated, the symptoms of itching and bleeding can increase to unhealthy levels. So waiting to seek treatment can only worsen the problem and require longer to treat the problem. A general rule to follow is that if you have recurring cases of hemorrhoids you are much more likely to require immediate medical intervention to get back to normal.
What Is Hemorrhoid Pain
As most people who have gone to the doctor know, pain is a personal thing. What is a major pain to some people is a minor pain to others. The same applies to the level of pain brought about by hemorrhoids.
In most cases, hemorrhoidal pain is a sharp pain, sometimes described as sitting on a thumbtack or nail. But more commonly for hemorrhoid sufferers it is the pain pf itching that makes life miserable. Whether constant itching is pain or not matters little to people who have hemorrhoids.
How to Relieve Hemorrhoid Pain
Treating the actual medical condition and relieving the pain are two separate issues. Consult with a medical professional to address both problems. Most minor cases of hemorrhoids can be successfully treated by a family doctor or general practitioner. In more severe cases the patient will be referred to a gastroenterologist or a proctologist. Seeking medical attention sooner than later considerably reduces the chances of having to see one of these specialists.
For most people, getting rid of the pain is the priority. When you consider these various alternatives, remember that treating the pain does not necessarily treat the underlying condition.
- Soaking in a warm bath helps many people, and is simple and cheap.
- Packing the affected area with ice is also a method, but most people prefer the warm bath.
- Over the counter medications can be applied to the affected area in the form of creams and ointments.
Once the pain is under control, you can comfortably see a doctor to determine the best solution to the problem. Applying an over the counter or prescription medication can be recommended, but for the moderate to severe cases you will need to see a specialist who has several options to choose form.
– This procedure uses an elastic band (OK, we can call it a rubber band) on each hemorrhoid and basically causes the hemorrhoid to fall off. This is the most common procedure currently used in the United States, and can take a number of treatments that last between 2 and 8 months to complete.
– Yes, this sounds more painful than rubber bands, but it is the mid-level option for specific types of hemorrhoid problems. A staple is used instead of a rubber band. The difference between this and the following procedure –a hemorrhoidectomy – is that there is no removal of the vein.
– This sounds very surgical – and it is. This procedure is used in cases where the hemorrhoids are large and extensive, or when attempts at ligation fail to solve the problem. The good news is that the procedure has about a 95 percent success rate. The bad news is that the procedure has a well-deserved reputation for being painful after the fact, though that will likely last about a week.
Though all of these medical procedures sound painful, they are a good example of why getting to the doctor and having the problem immediately diagnosed is the best way to deal with the problem.
Can Stress Cause Hemorrhoids?
There is no direction connection between the occurrence of hemorrhoids and excessive stress in a person’s life. However, there is medical research that connects the recurrence of hemorrhoids with increased stress levels. The reason appears to be simple: hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the rectal area, so higher blood pressure levels will tend to aggravate the condition in people who currently are suffering from them or who have chronic episodes of hemorrhoids.
People can get hemorrhoids for a number of reasons, but there are a number of preventive measures you can take to reduce the chances of getting them. A lifestyle that has adequate dietary fiber in it, a regular exercise regimen, and simply being patient with your body’s natural elimination processes are low cost and natural preventive measures.
Should you develop a case of hemorrhoids, schedule an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible to address the problem quickly and to avoid the problem from getting worse. If this is your first time developing hemorrhoids the problem should resolve itself within a few weeks with the assistance from a doctor.