What is a Hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoids, hemmoroids, or hemmorrhoids… However you want to spell it, it is a nasty condition to be inflicted with. (The correct spelling is H-E-M-O-R-R-H-O-I-D-S, by the way.) A hemorrhoid is an abnormally swollen vein in the anus or rectum; you could compare it to a varicose vein on someone’s leg. When a swollen vein becomes irritated, the surrounding membranes begin to swell, itch, burn, and bleed. Overall, hemorrhoids can be extremely painful. However, you may have a hemorrhoid for years and never have a single symptom.
Types Of Hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids generally go unnoticed because they are inside the rectum. If bleeding occurs, it is important to see your physician because it could be a sign of something more serious, such as colorectal cancer.
External hemorrhoids are hemmorrhoids that you WILL feel. These cause itching, burning and pain. If the blood supply through the swollen vein becomes blocked, it will result in a clot being formed, which could cause a thrombosed hemorrhoid – an extremely painful condition that is hard, smooth and appears black or purple in color. It often feels like a growth coming from the anus. Your doctor can alleviate a thrombosed hemorrhoid with a tiny incision. Left alone, it could take a few weeks to go away – but if it hangs around for more than two weeks, see the doctor!
It is important to realize that once you have had a hemorrhoid, it is very easy to get more of them because the veins have already been stretched.
The Cause of Hemorrhoids
Before hemorrhoids are eliminated, you must first figure out what is causing them.
Major causes include:
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time.
- A deficiency of fiber in the diet.
- Anal intercourse.
- Frequent or severe coughing or sneezing.
- Straining during bowel movements – usually associated with constipation or hard stools.
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time.
- Heavy lifting.
Note: It is important to find the cause of the hemorrhoid and then to eliminate it otherwise the hemorrhoids will reoccur.
How to Get Rid of Hemorrhoids
There are two goals in the treatment of hemorrhoids; The first is to alleviate the symptoms of burning, itching, and pain. The second is to shrink the hemorrhoid itself.
Treating Hemorrhoid Symptoms:
- OTC pain medicine is helpful for treating hemorrhoid pain.
- Aleve (naproxen sodium) is an anti-inflammatory that can relieve discomfort
- Topical creams or suppositories work well for the itching and burning
- Preparation H
Treating the Hemorrhoid:
- Topical medications (listed above) are useful in reducing irritation.
- A Sitz Bath is a small tub specially designed to allow the soaking of hemorrhoids without taking a bath, they are available at most pharmacies. Soak the rectal area in hot water for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day. (This will help relieve symptoms and aid shrinkage) (For more information on hemorrhoid treatments, see how to relieve hemorrhoids)
- Reducing constipation is the best way to eliminate recurring hemorrhoids. (Find out how to use home remedies for constipation)
- Use a bulk fiber supplement to soften stools and eliminate straining during bowel movements. This is only helpful if you do not already have a hemorrhoid because it may take several days for the fiber to take effect. It also helps to regulate bowel movements.
- Cleanse the rectal area after every bowel movement.
*NOTE: If your hemorrhoids do not begin to improve within 3-4 days, consult your physician. There are other medical issues that share the same signs and symptoms, such as bowel infection and inflammatory bowel disease.
Click here for more information on how to get rid of hemorrhoids.