External hemorrhoid treatment

Hemorrhoids can best be described as large veins that are typically located in the lower part of the rectum and anus. Due to the increased amount of pressure put on them they tend to become swollen. External hemorrhoids are most notably located under the skin that surrounds the anus. Whenever they begin to swell you will definitely feel them and external hemorrhoids are known to cause pain and itching during bowel movements. You may also notice bleeding. If the blood within the vein begins to clot, this is known to cause extreme pain and is often referred to as thrombosed external hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids are most commonly associated with constipation and in particular with straining at bowel movements. Many pregnant women also suffer from hemorrhoids. The condition will, unfortunately, lead to far more pressure inside the hemorrhoidal veins which will eventually cause them to swell. Certain other conditions, such as chronic liver disease, have also been known to increase the pressure on these veins and may lead to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are extremely common and it is estimated that up to 50% of people aged over 50 are likely to suffer from this condition.

For the majority of people the initial sign of hemorrhoids is bleeding that does not cause any pain. You may notice bright red blood, on the toilet paper, dripping into the toilet, or even on the outside of the stools. You should be aware that bleeding after bowel movements is not normal and you should always seek medical advice. It is important to realize that hemorrhoids may not be the only reason for bleeding and this may actually be an inflammatory bowel disease, an infection or even a tumor.

There are numerous ways to treat external hemorrhoids and these include:

  • Warm sitz baths – this will involve sitting in a few inches of water for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You should aim to complete this process up to 3 times a day and it has been known to reduce the inflammation of hemorrhoids. Following each sitz baths you should completely dry off your anal area in order to reduce any irritation of the skin that surrounds the anus.
  • Change in diet – in order to decrease the possibility of constipation and, indeed, some of the pressure that is placed on the rectum and anus you should increase your intake of fluids and dietary fiber. This should help to minimize any further discomfort, swelling or bleeding. You are also able to take dietary fiber supplements, which are known to bulk up the stools.
  • Become active – individuals who suffer with hemorrhoids should never sit for long periods of time. Many pharmacies actually sell air or rubber donuts that can make sitting down far more comfortable. It is a great idea to take up exercise as this is known to decrease the pressure on the hemorrhoidal veins and can also relieve constipation. It is also a good idea that as soon as the urge arises, you should immediately have a bowel movement. Unfortunately once the urge has passed, this is when stools typically become constipated and you will have to start straining with your bowel movements.
  • Over-the-counter medications – there are numerous creams, ointments and suppositories that are able to relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids. However, you should be wary as these over-the-counter medications do not actually cure hemorrhoids. The main aim of any medication will be to decrease inflammation and swelling.

For someone who is suffering with internal hemorrhoids, these can occasionally be pushed back gently into the anus. However, if you are suffering with thrombose external hemorrhoids, there is no way that these can be pushed back inside. The medical procedure to deal with external hemorrhoids will involve a local anaesthetic initially being placed under the skin that surrounds the hemorrhoids. A surgeon will then use a scalpel to cut into the area and the clot will be removed. You will typically find that the sharp pain will immediately disappear and you will feel instant relief. Often there may be a dull ache afterwards.

There are also certain forms of surgery to deal with hemorrhoids and these include sclerotherapy, which is where a chemical will be injected into the hemorrhoids thus causing it to scar. Haemorrhoidectomy is a specific surgical procedure whereby the complete hemorrhoid will be removed. This is the most aggressive form of surgery and the chances of your hemorrhoids returning will dramatically reduce. However, as with many forms of aggressive surgery there may be certain complications.

The most common form of treatment for external hemorrhoids will usually be a combination of warm sitz baths, drinking plenty of fluids, increasing the amount of roughage that you eat and taking over-the-counter pain relievers to cope with hemorrhoidal pain. You may also find that your health care provider may recommend certain stool softeners. However, after any form of hemorrhoid treatment should you suffer from rectal pain, bleeding, abdominal pain, fever or vomiting you should contact your doctor immediately.

Last updated on Mar 28th, 2011 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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