Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, is a very common condition and is caused due to the swollen veins in the anus and the lower rectum area. It is estimated that every three out of four adults have hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids do not cause constant discomfort to the affected person. However, when there is a change in the diet or lifestyle, they may cause severe itching and bleeding.
When subjected to pressure, the veins in and around the anus are susceptible to bulging and swelling, which then leads to hemorrhoids. The main causes of this condition are:
- Applying too much stress during defecation
- Straining on the toilet for long periods of time
- Constipation and chronic diarrhea
- Anal intercourse
- Increased consumption of low fiber diet
The chances of developing hemorrhoids increase with age as the veins and the rectum and anus lose their strength and flexibility and are prone to getting stretched.
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are as follows
- Painless bleeding, especially during bowel movements
- Itchiness and sore feeling in the anus
- Pain and discomfort in the anus
- Swelling in and around the anus
- Lump formation in the anus. This may or may not be painful depending on the severity of the condition
There could also be different symptoms depending on where the hemorrhoids develop.
Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum and are not visible from outside. They are not noticeable until they start causing discomfort during bowel movements. If the condition gets serious, the passing stool may damage the hemorrhoid’s surface thus causing bleeding. Straining could also push them out of the rectum and this specific condition is known as a prolapsed hemorrhoid.
External hemorrhoids lie in and around the anus and can be seen or felt from outside. These can cause bleeding, itchiness and extreme discomfort when they get irritated or swollen up.
When an external hemorrhoid gets agitated, it gets swollen up and forms a hard lump that can cause severe pain. If the condition escalates to inflammation along with a blood clot, it is known as thrombosed hemorrhoids.
If a parent suffers from hemorrhoids, there are high chances for it to be genetically transferred to the child. Other factors that increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids are heavy weight lifting, inconsistent bowel movement combined with straining and being obese.
During an agitated state, hemorrhoids can cause extreme discomfort not only while passing stool, but also while standing, sitting and walking around. If the swelling gets bruised, they may also cause a stain on the clothing.
There are various treatment options for hemorrhoids depending on the severity of the condition. If the condition is mild, you can use medicated ointments and cream to relieve the itchiness and burns. You could also sit in warm water so as to soak the lump. This can provide relief from pain. Along with this, a supplement for softening stool is advisable. If the condition gets severe enough, the patient should visit a doctor. Medical treatment could involve medications to shrink the swelling or permanent removal through surgery.