Hemorrhoids are one of the most common and embarrassing civilization diseases. What exactly are hemorrhoids, and how to deal with them, and when is it mandatory to see a doctor?
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are natural structures of the anus. These blood-filled cushions seal the anal canal and, together with the sphincter muscles, control excretion. Only malfunctioning hemorrhoids are an embarrassing problem, which, however, can be dealt with at home.
The condition of hemorrhoids appears when the nodules stretch beyond measure and fill with blood, from which they are then unable to completely empty themselves, which painfully affects the comfort of staying in the toilet. As a result of residual blood, the anal nodules and tissues may become inflamed. A lot of people suffer from this ailment, every second!
Causes of Hemorrhoids
The causes of hemorrhoids, also called hemorrhoids, are extensive and independent of age. A sedentary, inactive lifestyle certainly favors them – office workers, professional drivers, and avid computer players often suffer from hemorrhoids. They also happen to horse riders and cyclists. Anal problems often go hand in hand with a poor diet – insufficient fiber and too little fluid can lead to constipation, which forces the rectal mucosa to stretch too much.
Women in advanced pregnancy also suffer from hemorrhoids – the developing fetus may constrict the venous system, which hinders the proper blood flow and causes disturbances in the functioning of the intestines. Otherwise, the stretching of the hemorrhoids is affected by childbirth – the associated excessive pressure may cause hemorrhoids to stretch and result in a painful haemorrhoidal disease.
However, most often, hemorrhoids affect people over 50, in whom slow intestinal peristalsis promotes the formation of varicose veins. Hemorrhoids are most common in people who are: obese, struggling with diarrhea caused by laxatives, having anal sex, women after several births, after run-offs of the anus, and perineum.
How to prevent the formation of hemorrhoids?
The most important thing is disease prevention. To avoid hemorrhoids:
- Lead an active lifestyle (walking, swimming, etc.);
- Avoid frequent constipation,
- If your job requires long sitting, choose a rather firm chair, take breaks, and stretch. You can also squeeze your buttocks while sitting (similar to holding a bowel movement);
- Avoid prolonged contraction of the abdominal muscles when visiting the toilet, as this overloads the venous system;
- Remember about intimate hygiene;
- Beware of anal sex (it also protects against sexual diseases);
- Wear cotton underwear.
These are the main points that people should know to prevent such troubles.
Hemorrhoids – symptoms
We distinguish the following symptoms of hemorrhoids:
- Annoying itching of the anus, which most patients ignore, is a pity, because the quick diagnosis of varicose veins helps in their quick healing!
- Itching is often accompanied by irritation of the mucosa and oozing discharge, which promotes inflammation of the anus;
- Then there is a strange feeling of incomplete bowel movement and traces of blood on the toilet paper;
- Over time, the lump falls out – the patient can feel it near the anus, then the hemorrhoids regress by themselves;
- In the most advanced stage, varicose veins remain outside the anus, and it is necessary to remove them surgically.
Hemorrhoids – diagnosis
Hemorrhoid disease develops very slowly, so if you detect it as early as possible, you will recover faster. If the patient develops rectal bleeding, see a specialist immediately. This symptom may also indicate cancer of the anus, which should be ruled out. Internal hemorrhoids should be diagnoses as fast as possible.
Proctologist is a specialist doctor who deals with diseases of the anus. Many people associate visiting him with exposure and embarrassment. The former position of the examination: the knee-elbow with the buttocks tucked out has been replaced with a more comfortable one, the patient lies down on his left side.
The doctor is able to diagnose external hemorrhoids based on medical history and finger examination. For the diagnosis to be complete, it is recommended to perform an endoscopy – viewing the final segment of the rectum using a speculum. The tests mentioned above do not require special preparation; they take only a minute and, most importantly, are painless.
So, how to treat hemorrhoids? The sooner the hemorrhoids are diagnosed, the easier it is to cure it with home remedies. Therefore, you should never wait with the hope that the persistent itching will pass; it is worth taking care of everyday comfort yourself. Relief can certainly be brought by popular sitz baths, i.e., herbal baths in lukewarm water. It is enough to pour about 10 cm of water into the tub and fill it with a decoction of chamomile, oak bark, or an herbal mixture of knotweed, sage, and chestnut bark.
The water temperature must not exceed 40 degrees Celsius – too warm bath may additionally irritate the anus. Ice cubes can also be used to rescue hemorrhoids – wrap them in a tissue and apply to sore spots, which will significantly ease the pain.
A damp tea bag can also be an effective alternative, as the tannin contained in the leaves has anti-inflammatory properties. Itching and burning of hemorrhoids can be neutralized by frequent washing of diseased areas with a cotton swab soaked in chamomile, aloe, or oak bark extracts, which have a soothing effect on the irritated mucosa and accelerate its healing. Herbal tea is also good for hemorrhoids, preferably with wormwood, nettles, and elderberry.
Invaluable help in combating hemorrhoid disease is a proper diet. It eats plenty of vegetables, fruit, and fiber-rich foods, drinks at least 2 liters of fluid a day, and avoids food that can cause constipation. Proper, smooth bowel function will allow for less painful bowel movements, which will not strain the diseased areas. Daily exercise or an intense walk may turn out to be indispensable – a sedentary lifestyle certainly promotes the recurrence of hemorrhoids. People also can use hemorrhoid cream.
Other methods of how to get rid of hemorrhoids
Ointments, suppositories, and pills for hemorrhoids: anti-inflammatory drugs, ointments, or creams can be used to reduce swelling and itching. Rectal suppositories have a similar effect; usually contain natural substances in the form of, for example, horse chestnut extract.
Sclerotherapy is a method intended mainly for small hemorrhoids. An injection is given under the mucosa of the enlarged nodule. It contains a foam product that causes a clot at the injection site. Then the lump comes off. Within 2-3 days of the procedure, there may be bleeding hemorrhoids from the anus.
Laser therapy: irradiating the nodule with laser rays. High temperature causes the vessels to contract and close, and ultimately destroy the nodule tissue. It’s effective way to fight with thrombosed hemorrhoid.
Morinag’s method is non-invasive surgery, used at any stage of the disease. A one-day hospital stay is required. The procedure is usually performed without anesthesia on an outpatient basis. During the procedure, the hemorrhoid vessels are closed, and the doctor puts sutures on the arteries under the control of a Doppler probe. After the procedure, the patient returns to a normal lifestyle within 24 hours.
Longo method: it is a circular removal and suturing of a fragment of the mucosa with a hemorrhoid stapler. The procedure is recommended in the second and third-degree of diseases, under local or general anesthesia, for one day.
Reimbursed surgical incision: nodules are surgically removed in several ways: the classic Milligan-Morgan method (excision of the nodules with open wounds, which prevents narrowing of the anus), healing takes about 7-10 days. Ferguson’s method is similar to the previous one, except that the wound after excision of the lump is sutured, pluses: quick healing, less pain.
Hemorrhoid surgery and complications
Among the complications after hemorrhoids surgery, we can distinguish:
- Sharp pain,
- Uncontrolled contraction of the sphincters and urethra muscles,
- Trouble urinating and defecating,
- Bleeding (it is eliminated, e.g., by electrocoagulation).
Bleeding may appear after hemorrhoid surgery, which is the result of wound infection and affects approximately 1% of the operated patients. The most dangerous, however, may be postoperative complications, which become apparent only after a few years! Among others:
- Anal stricture;
- Problems with holding the stool (or even bloody stool);
- Anal fistula;
- Eversion of the mucosa.
In the treatment of symptomatic hemorrhoids (regardless of their severity), it is also recommended to eat a diet rich in fiber and drink at least 2 liters of fluids a day, regular and moderate physical activity.
Good hygiene is also important. The area around the anus should be washed with warm water, possibly with an intimate hygiene agent. Do not use soap or harsh detergents.
Hemorrhoids – recommended management
In conclusion, it is worth emphasizing once again that symptomatic hemorrhoids should not be a reason to be ashamed. They need to be diagnosed as soon as possible and treated under the guidance of a doctor. Thanks to early diagnosis, it is possible to implement effective therapy and – very importantly, exclude other, more dangerous causes of hemorrhoids symptoms.
Treatment of haemorrhoidal disease reduces bleeding, itching, discomfort, and pain and thus improves the quality of life. The main point is to identify the problem in time and prevent complications. This is an unpleasant disease, but you can solve the problem if you see a doctor in a timely manner.