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Hemorrhoids

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids or piles are swollen and inflamed blood vessels in the anal canal. High pressure inside these vessels leads to bleeding and protrusion outside the anus. 

Piles are of two types – External and Internal. External piles are actually swollen and inflamed veins outside of the anus, while internal piles refer to swollen and inflamed veins inside the anus. 

Internal hemorrhoids or distended piles must not be confused with external hemorrhoids or swollen veins outside the anus.

Internal piles are further of two types – one is called Prolapsed piles, which refers to prolapsing of internal piles out of the anus, while the other type is called Distended piles, which refers to swelling and inflammation inside the anus.

What are the Common Causes of Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are actually swollen veins in the rectum. It is a very common problem experienced by many people in the world which is caused due to repeated straining during bowel movements. 

Straining during your bowel movements can cause small bulges in the wall of the anus. These can develop inside or outside your anus.

The bulges usually are not painful and do not cause other symptoms. But they can sometimes be painful, especially after you pass a stool. When they are painful, they are red and tender.

However, in some cases, it can also be caused by various other factors as well like having chronic constipation or diarrhoea, obesity, pregnancy, regular heavy lifting, etc.

What are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?

The symptoms of this condition usually include swelling and itching. However, the most alarming feature of hemorrhoids is related to sex life since they affect both men and women equally. This is due to the fact that during sex the anus becomes more sensitive and this can lead to inflammation of the rectum and subsequent bleeding.

The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are the following:

  • Pain/pressure in the rectum area
  • Blood on toilet paper
  • Bleeding from rectum
  • Feeling of the constant need to pass stool
  • Itching around the anus area

Other signs of hemorrhoids include bleeding during or after passing stool. There could also be swelling around the anus area and itchy skin around the anus area.

How Hemorrhoids Can Disturb Your Sex Life?

In some cases, Hemorrhoids can affect a person’s sex life. Although Hemorrhoids may cause discomfort and pain, around 20% of adults in the world have them at some point in their lives and 80% of them don’t even know they have them. The problem can be rectified by simple treatments.

Hemorrhoids disturb your sex life by preventing you from enjoying anal sex. When you get aroused, your genitals and anus get filled with blood. This increases the pressure on the affected area and thus results in a flare-up.

Studies suggest that men who suffer from hemorrhoids are also at a higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction.

How to Treat Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids or piles are swellings that appear on the veins in the rectum and anus. They are usually the result of increased pressure in the lower part of the digestive system. That is why they commonly appear after a course of constipation or diarrhoea, as well as after giving birth to a child.

The causes of hemorrhoids are usually poor diet, irregular bowel movements, being overweight and also inherited conditions.

Hemorrhoids or piles can cause a lot of discomfort and pain. That is why doctors consider them to be a medical disease. Apart from pain, they can also cause erosion and bleeding. If you have hemorrhoids, you might experience painless bleeding during bowel movements, especially in the morning.

If your doctor finds that your condition is mild, he might suggest you some OTC medications like creams, ointments, etc. These medications contain witch hazel or lidocaine, which can temporarily reduce pain and itching. We recommend you avoid using OTC steroid creams for more than a week before consulting your doctor.

Some home remedies might provide comfort from the pain, swelling, and inflammation. These home remedies are:

  • Eat foods rich in fibre like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fibre helps in softening the stool and increases its bulk, which will prevent straining during bowel movements.
  • Take a sitz bath for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Take oral pain killers like acetaminophen or aspirin. These oral pills can temporarily relieve your discomfort.

Take Away

Hemorrhoids are an extremely delicate condition where there are varicose veins in the anus. It appears in different forms – external, internal, and prolapsing. The appearance of hemorrhoids is caused by the physical load on the body and bleeding inside the rectum, which become swollen and reddened. 

The most common symptom is a frequent desire to defecate, and at that time, a person can see the presence of blood in the toilet bowl. In some cases, hemorrhoids can lead to severe bleeding that will require hospitalization.

Although hemorrhoids can be quite unpleasant, they are usually easy to treat at home if you follow your doctor's recommendations and use medicines properly.