What are Hemorrhoids?
- Types of Hemorrhoids
- External Hemorrhoids
- Internal Hemorrhoids
- What are Hemorrhoids?
- How do You Get Hemorrhoids?
- What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like?
- Causes of Hemorrhoids
- Hemorrhoid Symptoms
- Blood in Stool
- Treatments / Cures
Types of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids (often misspelled as “hemroids”) are cushions of swollen tissue and blood vessels in the lower rectal area. There are two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the lower rectum above the dentate line (where there are no nerve endings), and external hemorrhoids occur below the dentate line (where there are nerve endings) and are often observed as external lumps or bulges around the anus. However, external hemorrhoid-like symptoms are often actually caused by internal hemorrhoids.
Both internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids can be caused by a number of things, including constipation, straining, pregnancy, etc., and can be unpleasant if left untreated.
External hemorrhoids often occur as bulges or lumps around the anus. Because of the sensitive nerve fibers in this area, these abnormal vessels are often painful, especially when sitting. They also may bleed and itch. Should blood pool in an external hemorrhoid, a blood clot referred to as a thrombosed hemorrhoid may develop and cause severe pain.
If you think you have external hemorrhoids, be sure to see a doctor. Many people mistake external skin tags or irritation caused by internal hemorrhoids as an external hemorrhoid. In fact, around 90% of patients who complain about external issues are actually helped by hemorrhoidal banding of their internal hemorrhoids.
Whichever type of hemorrhoid you have, you should always consult with a doctor for accurate diagnosis, and to get any recommended screening for more serious issues such as colorectal or colon cancer. To find a hemorrhoid physician in your area, contact CRH today.
Because they are inside the lower rectum, internal hemorrhoids often can’t be seen and are typically painless. Often, the only symptoms you may notice are itching, small amounts of bright red blood (on your toilet paper or inside the toilet bowl), or a feeling of fullness following a bowel movement.
However, internal hemorrhoids can also push through the anal opening. These are known as prolapsing hemorrhoids. Sometimes these hemorrhoids reduce (go back inside) spontaneously, and other times they must be manually reduced (pushed back in). This can lead to enlarged external hemorrhoids, and the development of excess skin (skin tags). In the vast majority of cases, treating the internal hemorrhoids will relieve the external symptoms. You may also want to have the skin tag removed, but this is not necessary for recovery.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are cushions of tissue in the lower rectum that contribute to 15-20% of our resting continence. Everybody has them but we don’t tend to call them hemorrhoids until they become symptomatic. These problems develop when the blood vessels in the rectal area cause the surrounding tissue to loosen and push into the anal canal. This leads to a number of different symptoms which we will cover in Hemorrhoid Symptoms.
To fully answer the question, “What are Hemorrhoids?” we’ve provided the following links. Here you’ll find hemorrhoid causes, symptoms, and treatment information. If you do determine your symptoms to be caused by hemorrhoids, just remember – you’re not alone. By age 50, half of all people will be affected by hemorrhoids. The good news is, treatments like the CRH O’Regan System can effectively treat hemorrhoids quickly and safely. Select a section to learn more:
How do You Get Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are more common than you know.
Think only certain types of people get hemorrhoids? Think again—hemorrhoids will affect half of all people by the time they turn 50.
While most people get hemorrhoids after age 30, the truth is, they’re common among all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds—and you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or upset about telling a doctor if you think you have them.
Here are the most common factors believed to be associated with symptomatic hemorrhoids:
Chronic constipation: A diet low in fiber and high in fat can be one cause of constipation. Other conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome can also result in constipation. Constipation causes you to strain excessively to pass a bowel movement, putting pressure on the veins in the anus and resulting in swelling. Not drinking enough water also can lead to constipation by not providing an adequate amount of fluid in the intestines, leading to hard stools.
- Chronic diarrhea: Though this might seem like the opposite problem to chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea can have the same result as it also increases pressure on the anus from frequent bowel movements.
- Pregnancy and childbirth: Increased pressure from the growing fetus and issues with constipation during pregnancy can cause you to develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Straining during childbirth can also cause hemorrhoids to develop.
- Obesity: People who are obese are more likely to get hemorrhoids because excessive weight puts pressure on the veins of the rectum and anus, which can lead to swelling and inflammation. In addition, people who are obese may be more likely to be sedentary or eat a diet that is too low in fiber.
- Sitting too long: Sitting all day, or for too long on the toilet, can increase the pressure on your veins and anus, sometimes causing hemorrhoids.
- Heavy lifting: Lifting heavy weights or other objects can also strain your anus, especially if done with improper form.
- Age: As you age, the tissues that support your veins can weaken or stretch causing the development of hemorrhoids.
- Decreased connective tissue strength
- Increased anal sphincter pressure
As you can see, hemorrhoids can afflict all kinds of people – men and women, young and old. No matter what causes your hemorrhoids, you can get treatment. Find a hemorrhoid physician now for the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. To learn more, contact CRH today.
What Do Hemorrhoids Look Like?
You may be wondering if you can identify your hemorrhoids by sight, but depending on the type and severity of your hemorrhoids, you may not see them at all!
If you have internal hemorrhoids you are very unlikely to be able to see them as they are located inside of the anus. That said, more advanced internal hemorrhoids may protrude from the anal opening during a bowel movement. In most cases, they will be more easily identified by your symptoms, such as anal bleeding or itching.
If you have external hemorrhoids, they may look like lumps or bulges around the anus. You may also feel your external hemorrhoids swell during a bowel movement.
When in Doubt, Speak with a Physician
Of course, the only way you can be sure you have hemorrhoids is to speak with a qualified medical professional.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Causes of Hemorrhoids May Be More Common Than You Think!
Hemorrhoids result from an increase in pressure in the veins of the rectum, typically from too much straining. Many people underestimate the commonality of several causes of hemorrhoids.
How do you get Hemorrhoids?
Based on the list below, it may be a good idea to evaluate some simple lifestyle changes you can make to prevent these common causes of hemorrhoids. Common causes of hemorrhoids include:
- Pregnancy and Childbirth
- Heavy lifting
- Long periods of sitting
- Poor Posture
While you can’t always prevent hemorrhoids, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances – especially for hemorrhoids caused by constipation.
To reduce your risk – including preventing new hemorrhoids from forming after you’ve had the CRH treatment – make sure you:
- Avoid the common causes of hemorrhoids outlined above.
- Avoid high-fat, low-fiber foods. In Western countries, constipation is associated with diets low in fiber and high in fat.
- Drink seven or eight glasses of water a day.
- Add 15 grams of fiber to your diet (two tablespoons of natural oat or wheat bran). Metamucil, Benefiber, flax or other soluble fiber may be helpful as well.
- Do not sit on the toilet for longer than two minutes. If you can’t have a bowel movement in that time, come back later. This two-minute rule can help keep you from straining during bowel movements without realizing it.
- During air travel, be sure to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, eat fiber and walk around when possible.
Common Hemorrhoid Symptoms
Hemorrhoids (also called piles) are an incredibly common problem – yet telling your doctor about them can seem embarrassing and stressful. If you have hemorrhoid symptoms, don’t suffer in silence. The sooner you get diagnosed and treated, the better your life and your health will be – and the less likely you are to have complications or require surgery.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
In some instances the hemorrhoids will prolapse (come down through the anal canal), requiring the sufferer to push the tissue back in place, while in others the prolapsed tissue will reduce on its own.
If you notice a small amount of blood on the toilet paper after a bowel movement, or see blood in your stool, this may be a sign of hemorrhoids. This blood will typically be bright red in color.
An itchy feeling either on the rectum or in the interior of the rectum is one of the most common and irritating hemorrhoid symptoms. In addition to being uncomfortable, vigorous scratching of the afflicted area can lead to infections if the skin is broken. It may be tempting to clean the area to provide temporary relief, but adding moisture to the area or using cleansers that alter the pH can sometimes make matters worse.
Many hemorrhoids sufferers experience swelling in the anal area. This is caused by the rubbing and irritation of the prolapsing tissue.
Some of these hemorrhoid symptoms can also be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal issues, such as colorectal cancer, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and others. That’s why it’s important to talk to a doctor about your symptoms and get an accurate diagnosis as early as possible. Contact CRH today to find a hemorrhoid physician in your area and get started on the road to living hemorrhoid free.
Blood In Stool
There are many different types of blood that can occur in a stool and numerous conditions that can cause blood in stool. The most common type of blood that occurs in stool is due to anal fissures or hemorrhoids. This blood is usually bright red in color and easily noticed. It may be present on toilet paper after a bowel movement, or visible on the stool itself. This is a common health issue but if it occurs frequently, it is very important to get medical attention.
Bright Red Blood in Stool
Sometimes blood in the stool may be profuse and bright red in color. This is a very serious condition and should not be ignored. Common causes for this type of blood in a stool are colitis, diverticulitis and colon cancer. The blood may be attributed to a polyp or tumor located inside the digestive tract, or it may be caused by an irritation in the lining of the intestine. Regardless of its cause, if you notice blood of this variety in your stool, it is vital to seek medical help as anemia can occur or it may be a sign of a serious health problem.
Occult bleeding is often misunderstood and unfortunately, missed. It is dark red in color, and may be hard to spot in a stool. This type of blood in a stool is most commonly linked with colon cancer, and particularly with tumors that are located in the right section of the colon. In order to spot occult blood, it is recommended that patients monitor their bowel movements so that they become familiar with the usual color and consistency. This can be a life saving method that helps with early detection of cancer.
Colon Cancer Screening
The American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines for colon cancer screening, and if you have experienced blood in your stool it is important to schedule a screening. Those over the age of 50 should have a screening done every ten years, while those in a high risk category will need more frequent screenings. Colon cancer is treatable, especially when it is caught in the early stages.
Treatments / Cures
Traditionally, those suffering from hemorrhoids were told their only options to treat their hemorrhoids were to use conservative measures such as ointments and creams or to otherwise undergo surgery if their symptoms got bad enough. Unfortunately, most at home conservative measures offer only temporary relief from the symptoms of hemorrhoids and the pain and downtime associated with surgery means it is often a last resort.
Today, there are more long lasting ways to cure your hemorrhoids that do not involve all of the complications of surgery. Of course, these methods vary in terms of both effectiveness and the risk of complications.
For more in-depth information about the various treatments for hemorrhoids, visit our compare treatments section.