Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen or enlarged veins in the lower part of the anus and rectum. Haemorrhoids can happen when the clusters of veins in your anus or rectum get swollen causing the veins to expand outward into the membranes of your anal and rectal tissues. Haemorrhoids can be either internal and external. As the name suggests, internal haemorrhoids develop within the anus, whereas, external haemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. Haemorrhoids can cause severe itching, pain and difficult while sitting. Thankfully, haemorrhoids are treatable. You can consult a reliable consultant gastroenterologist for the diagnosis and treatment.
Types of Haemorrhoids
There are four types of haemorrhoids, which are mentioned below:
Internal- Internal haemorrhoids develop insider your rectum and cannot be seen. Internal piles do not hurt generally and they rarely cause pain and discomfort. Some of the common symptoms of internal haemorrhoids include blood in your stool or on the toilet paper when you wipe and tissues that bulge outside your anus. The tissues can go back inside on their own. However, when they don’t they can be softly pushed back into the place.
External- External haemorrhoids develop outside of the anus. These lie under the skin around the anus. Some of the common signs and symptoms of external haemorrhoids include pain, discomfort and swelling around the anus, itching in your anal region and bleeding. External haemorrhoids are not always visible, but sometimes, they can be seen as lumps in the anal region. These are usually not a serious medical issue, but you should get in touch with a consultant gastroenterologist if they cause trouble your daily life.
Prolapsed– A prolapsed haemorrhoid occurs when internal haemorrhoids protrude from the anus. A gastroenterologist may assign it a grade depending on how far it sticks out. These can be seen as swollen red lumps outside your anus. Prolapsed haemorrhoids may cause burning sensation, pain or discomfort.
Thrombosed– A thrombosed haemorrhoid contains a thrombosis (blood clot). It can be seen as a lump or swelling around your anus. Though blood clots can form in both internal and external haemorrhoids, but the symptoms may vary. Some of the common signs and symptoms of a thrombosis hemorrhoid may include swelling and redness, bluish color around the area, intense pain and itchiness.
What Causes Haemorrhoids?
The exact causes of haemorrhoids are still unknown. However, they are believed to be associated with an increase in pressure in the lower rectum which can cause swelling and inflammation in the blood vessels of the lower rectum. Some factors that can cause increased pressure within the lower rectum are mentioned below:
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Straining to have a bowel movement
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Anal intercourse
- Low-fibre diet
- Being overweight
- Spinal cord injury
- Poor posture
- Family history of haemorrhoids
Diagnosis of Haemorrhoids
The diagosis of haemorrhoids would start with a visual inspection to see if you have external haemorrhoids. Your doctor may carry out various tests and procedures to diagnose internal haemorrhoids, which may include:
- A visual inspection of your anal canal using anoscope, proctoscope or sigmoidscope
- A rectal examination in which your doctor will insert a lubricated gloved finger to feel unusual growth.
- If more extensive examination of your entire bowel is required, then a colonoscopy may be performed.
- Your doctor may also look for blood in the stool or examine the muscle tone of your anus.
Treatment for Haemorrhoids
Fortunately, haemorrhoids can be treated easily with simple medical procedures depending upon the severity and type of haemorrhoids you might be suffering from. Some of the common treatments for haemorrhoids are:
Topical Treatment- There are various over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams available that can be taken to soothe pain temporarily. Witch hazel wipes are highly beneficial and have no harmful effects. Moreover, sitting on a cushion rather than a hard surface can help reduce the swelling of the existing haemorrhoids.
For persistent bleeding, non-surgical procedures can be performed in a doctor’s office, which are:
Rubber band ligation– Rubber band ligation involves using a rubber band to cut off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid enabling it to die
Electrotherapy- Electrotherapy, also known as, electrocoagulation is a heat treatment that cause the hemorrhoid to harden and shrivel.
Injection– Sclerotherapy involves injecting a substance into the hemorrhoid to harden and shrink it.
If non-surgical methods are not successful, then following surgical procedures may be required:
Hemorrhoid stapling– Haemorrhoid stapling is the removal of an internal hemorrhoid with a special staple gun.
Hemorrhoidectomy- Is the removal of haemorrhoid with a laser or scalpel, under general anesthetic.
Prevention of Haemorrhoids
Haemorrhoids can be prevented by making certain changes in your lifestyle. The best way to prevent haemorrhoid is to keep your stools soft, so they pass easily. Some methods to reduce symptoms of haemorrhoids are:
Consuming high-fiber food– Consume more fruits, vegetables and whole grains because they will help you avoid straining that can cause haemorrhoids.
Plenty of fluids– Aim to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to keep your stools soft.
Avoid Straining- Straining when trying to pass a stool can create pressure in the lower rectum. Do not wait for too long, go as soon as you feel the urge to open your bowels.
Exercise- Maintaining an active lifestyle and exercising daily can reduce pressure on veins.
Those were some important details you need to know about haemorrhoids, their types, causes, treatment and prevention.