Although the topic of hemorrhoids can be one that causes people to become uncomfortable, it is also important to know that over half the population has dealt with some sort of hemorrhoid by the time they hit the age 50, so you are definitely not alone. Before discussing the different types of treatments for hemorrhoids it is important to know what hemorrhoids are and what type of hemorrhoid you are dealing with. Hemorrhoids are caused by veins in the rectum that have become enlarged or inflamed. We all have two sets of veins that drain the blood from our lower rectum and anus. There are internal and external veins and both can become enlarged.
In order to get hemorrhoids the veins must have had an increased amount of pressure in the lower rectum. There are several different ways this can occur including, pregnancy, child birth, straining to have a bowel movement in the case of constipation, chronic diarrhea, anal intercourse, sitting too long on a toilet and obesity. Anytime the lower rectum is used or strained hemorrhoids can develop.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids are itching, pain or discomfort, bleeding with or without pain, swelling or feeling a lump on the outside of the anus. Both internal and external hemorrhoids can cause blood to be found after a bowel movement. This is usually temporary and not severe. If bleeding continues and in large amounts then it is time to see a doctor. There is the possibility of having something more severe than just hemorrhoids so do not hesitate to be checked out if this symptom persists. Often internal hemorrhoids will pass through the anal opening. This is called a prolapsed hemorrhoid and can cause irritation and pain. If at all possible try to push the hemorrhoid back into the anus. If this is not possible then you may want to seek medical attention since this condition can cause symptoms to worsen or become unbearable.
Most hemorrhoids are treatable at home. You can by some over-the-counter hemorrhoid medications that contain hydrocortisone for itching and apply to the area. You can also use numbing agents or witch hazel pads to cool the area as well. After bathing make sure the area gets dry since moisture can make the problem worse. Soaking in a warm bath is often better than showering because it insures that the area is fully submerged and able to get relief. After using the restroom you should wipe with a moist wipe to cleanse the area then pat dry with toilet paper. Using rough toilet paper to wipe with will often cause severe irritation and bleeding.
Sometimes the condition can become severe enough to need medical attention. There are several procedures and surgeries used to help people that have very painful and bothersome hemorrhoids. Depending on your particular situation and the severity of your hemorrhoids the doctor will be able to decide which treatment is best for you. Procedures such as Rubber band ligation, Injections and Coagulation are usually done in office as outpatient procedures. There are also surgical procedures that can be performed if the other options have failed or if your hemorrhoids are very large. Sometimes surgery can be performed as an outpatient procedure but often a patient may need an overnight stay at the hospital.
Recovery from hemorrhoid surgery can take a few days and can also be uncomfortable and painful initially. Some of the procedures are very effective but some have a fairly high recurrence rate of developing hemorrhoids again. The pros and cons of the procedures will be discussed with you by your doctor. Most importantly, if you feel you need medical advice do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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