We do hear of people suffering from haemorrhoids. Most of us have a rough idea that this condition is connected with the anus and painful pooping.
What are haemorrhoids?
Nearly 50 percent of adults experience haemorrhoid symptoms by age fifty. The younger generation are not exempt from haemorrhoids as well.
Haemorrhoids are basically swelling of the veins surrounding the anus or in the lower rectum.
The anus is the opening where stool is excreted. The rectum is the section just before the anus, where stool is held before passing out through the anus.
Types of haemorrhoids:
There are two types of haemorrhoids:
>External haemorrhoids appear and develop outside the anus. This condition is commonly known as “piles”.
>Internal haemorrhoids develop within the anus or rectum.
Of the two, cases of external haemorrhoids are more common and troublesome. Having external haemorrhoids can cause severe itching, pain, and a person may have difficulty sitting.
On a bright note, external haemorrhoids are treatable.
Symptoms to note:
Look out for the symptoms which include:
- itching around the anal area.
- pain or irritation around the anus.
- painful or itchy lumps (they may initially be swellings) around the anal area.
- faecal leakage.
- pain during pooping.
- drops of blood after pooping.
Consulting your doctor early helps with early intervention and treatment.
Causes of haemorrhoids:
Exactly what causes haemorrhoids to develop is unknown, but a few possible factors are:
- anal sex
- chronic constipation and complications arising from it, e.g., medication
- constantly lifting heavy objects
- family history
- pregnancy causes more weight to be placed on the colon veins
- sitting for extended periods of time, especially on the toilet seat
- standing for extended periods without taking a break to sit
- straining during pooping
Getting haemorrhoids diagnosed
A visual examination of the affected area by a doctor will normally be sufficient to diagnose if a person is suffering from haemorrhoids.
Confirming the diagnosis will be through another examination called a “digital rectal exam” which will also check for any abnormalities surrounding the anal area.
If further testing is needed, a procedure called “sigmoidoscopy” could be done. Undergoing a sigmoidoscopy is similar to undergoing a colonoscopy. The difference is a sigmoidoscopy is less invasive as it examines the lower part of the colon. A colonoscopy examines the entire large intestine.
Examining the haemorrhoid closely can be done during a sigmoidoscopy, as the doctor can get a clear and close-up view of the situation.
Treatment options for haemorrhoids
Your doctor will run through some ways for successfully treating haemorrhoids, such as:
- Applying OTC (over the counter) creams or ointments to relieve itching.
- Haemorrhoid suppositories.
- Soaking in warm water.
- Using a warm water bottle for easing pain from external haemorrhoids.
- Ask your doctor for pain killers if the pain is severe.
Increasing fiber intake or fiber supplements:
Your doctor may suggest including more leafy green vegetables into your diet. If you don’t like vegetables, an option is taking fiber supplements instead.
Dietary fiber helps soften the stool, making it easier to pass out. Good dietary fiber sources include brown rice, oats, fibrous fruit (pears, mangoes), bran, etc.
Using a cold compress:
Applying a cold compress on your anus can help in reducing any swelling.
To prevent infection in the anal area, practicing good hygiene is important. Use warm water for cleaning the anal area during your daily shower or bath. Avoid using soap on the area, as soap can irritate haemorrhoids.
While wiping up after pooping, avoid using dry or rough toilet roll paper, as this will irritate the already sensitive area.
Increase your water intake:
Drinking sufficient water can prevent stool from hardening, which makes it easier for pooping.
Your doctor will go through these options with you, which may include surgery in severe cases.
In conclusion: You can avoid worsening haemorrhoids or prevent them forming, by going through the possible causes listed above. Do not delay a bowel movement.
Haemorrhoids though painful, are not life-threatening. However, if they are left untreated, a person may develop anaemia-like symptoms due to blood loss.
We hope this general article on haemorrhoids has been informative to our readers, although it should not be taken as medical advice. Readers should always consult a doctor for medical advice.
17th October 2020 22:30
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