Hemorrhoids – The Ugly Truth

So What Exactly Is A Hemorrhoid?

Hemorrhoids are blood vessels acting as cushions in the anal canal which help with stool control. It is only when they become inflamed or swollen that they become “piles“, the more correct term for the condition.

While usually painless, internal hemorrhoids can cause rectal bleeding. If you see any blood in your stools or during wiping, you should consult your doctor, even if it’s only to identify that the cause is piles.

Internal and external hemorrhoids Hemorrhoids   The Ugly Truth

External hemorrhoids may also be painless. Where pain does arise is when a hemorrhoid is thrombosed. What this means is that some injury has occurred and a small blood clot has formed that then inhibits blood flow through the circulatory system. Pressure on that area such as when you’re passing a stool or sitting in a certain position means you end up feeling pain.

Pain normally lasts a few days but if you have more than one pile, you could feel pain for several days. The swellings associated with piles usually disappear after a few weeks.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Odd though it may seem, the actual cause of piles (hemorrhoids) is unknown. Surprising given that it’s such a common condition!

These are the main contenders:

  • diarrhea or persistent constipation
  • sitting for too long on the toilet (so reading in the toilet is not a good idea)
  • a low-fiber diet – all too common in Western cultures
  • being overweight or worse, obese
  • an increase in intra-abdominal pressure – typical causes are over-straining during bowel movement, or during pregnancy for example
  • an absence of valves within the hemorrhoidal veins
  • having anal intercourse
  • simply getting older
  • or good ol’ genetics

or a combination of one or more of these factors.

A tendency to develop hemorrhoids can also be inherited (that’s genetics for you!). You’re also more likely to develop Hemorrhoids as you get older because the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch as you age (no one said growing old was going to be fun).

Signs And Symptoms Indicating You May Have Hemorrhoids

Here are a few indicators that can indicate that you have piles (inflamed hemorrhoids). You don’t necessarily have to feel pain:

Squatting Hemorrhoids   The Ugly Truth
Raising your knees with a foot stool puts your body into a more natural position for defecating
  • Bleeding during bowel movements — you might notice small amounts of bright red blood on your stools, in the toilet bowl or on your toilet tissue. You may or may not experience pain during the movement.
  • Having a persistent irritation or itch in your anal region. This sensation can also be caused by having worms.
  • Pain or discomfort when passing a bowel movement
  • Any swelling around your anus
  • One or more lumps around your anus or just inside it, which might be sensitive or painful
  • Any leakage of feces

Where hemorrhoids occur will dictate what symptoms you suffer. Internal hemorrhoids, which lie inside the rectum, are usually not painful. However, if they’ve been damaged, then they may become sensitive ans irritated. You can’t see or easily feel these hemorrhoids.

A hemorrhoid’s delicate surface can be damaged if you strain during a bowel movement. This can lead to bleeding and can also result in internal hemorrhoids being pushed out through the anal opening. These are known as prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoids and they are frequently painful or cause irritation.

VenaPro Hemorrhoid Treatment

External Hemorrhoids

Protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoids are not External Hemorrhoids. Instead, these are under the skin around your anus and, when irritated, can be itchy and/or bleed. Blood can sometimes pool in an external hemorrhoid and form a blood clot – known as a thrombus – which can produce quite severe pain, swelling and inflammation.

Thrombosed External Hemorrhoid

Hemorrhoid Complications

There are only a couple of rare complications that result from suffering from hemorrhoids:

  • Anemia – a condition where you no longer have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to other cells throughout your body – often results in sufferers feeling persistently tired and weak. It’s rare for chronic blood loss to occur with bleeding hemorrhoids but if it does happen, it may result in the development of anemia.
  • A strangulated hemorrhoid – this can occur if the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is cut off. It can cause extreme pain and lead to tissue death (gangrene).

When To Consult Your Doctor

Any time you encounter blood in your stools or on toilet paper when wiping is when you should consult your doctor. The most common cause of rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids, but it is by no means the only cause. Colo-rectal and anal cancer can also result in bleeding. Your doctor will be able to do an examination which will nail down the cause of the bleed.

If you’ve been trying out home remedies without success, and your hemorrhoids persist or bleed often, then again you should consult your physician.

Above all, you should never be embarrassed about asking for advice. Hemorrhoids are a very common condition, especially in the West, and doctors are well acquainted with them. Don’t ever let embarrassment ruin your quality of life!

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