June 17, 2019
Do you think you have hemorrhoids? Unless you’ve had them before, you may be confused. After all, it’s not a topic people often talk about. Plenty of people who experience discomfort around the anus, don’t tell anyone about it and hope that online research will give them the answers they need.
Recognizing symptoms is essential to healing hemorrhoids. A doctor can confirm your suspicions and rule out a more serious condition.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside the anus. Some people don’t experience symptoms, while others feel pain or discomfort, especially right before, during, or right after a bowel movement.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Anything that puts extra pressure on the anus increases the likelihood of developing hemorrhoids. Some risk factors include:
- Straining during bowel movements
- Additional pressure due to pregnancy
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic constipation
- Anal sex
- Being overweight or obese
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include:
- Itching around or in the anus
- Bright red blood on toilet paper after a bowel movement
- Swelling of the anal area
- Bumps around the anus
If the hemorrhoids are large, you’ll also experience:
- Discomfort that doesn’t go away after several days
If you see blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement, do not ignore it. In a best-case scenario, it’s simply minor hemorrhoids (which is often the case). However, it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition, such as polyps,diverticulitis, colitis, Crohn’s Disease, or colon cancer.
Diagnosis and Treatment for Hemorrhoids
In order to diagnose hemorrhoids, the doctor will visually examine the rectum and may place a lubricated, gloved finger into the anus. Some doctors will use an anoscope instead of a gloved finger. An anoscope is a cylinder made out of plastic or stainless steel that allows the doctor a better view of the anus.
If the hemorrhoids are minor, they will clear up on their own or with a topical ointment. If they are more severe, your doctor may inject them with a solution to promote healing, or may perform a procedure to remove them. In rare cases, when the hemorrhoids are very large, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove them.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if hemorrhoids go away on their own, or if treatment eradicates them, they will come back until you make changes to eliminate the cause.
Home Remedies to Treat Hemorrhoids
In addition to over-the-counter creams for hemorrhoids, do the following to reduce pain and swelling:
If you opt for creams or jelly, make sure to apply it only to the area around the anus – not inside.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
There are things that help to prevent hemorrhoids.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Produce is high in fiber and easier to digest than the high fat, processed foods that are so prevalent in the Standard American Diet (SAD).
- Stay hydrated. Drinking eight glasses of water a day will help your body create softer stools that are easier to excrete.
- Use the toilet as soon as you feel the urge. With our busy schedules, it’s tempting to put off a bowel movement until after a meeting, after work, or until after your favorite TV show. Yet waiting may cause your stool to dry up, making it harder to pass when you do take time to eliminate.
- Exercise. This will help you lose weight if you need to, therefore relieving pressure on the veins of the anus. There are plenty of low-impact exercises to get started if you haven’t exercised in years.
If you think you may have hemorrhoids, let us help you.
At Pinnacle Research, we specialize in the exploration of disease. We work with over 70 referring physicians in San Antonio and Austin, providing clinical trials in liver disease.
Contact us to discuss how we can help you.