Hemorrhoids are a very embarrassing topic for many people. At the same time, one of the most common diseases of civilization is that every second person in society suffers from them. If you experience burning, itching, and pain around the anus, this is a sign that the hemorrhoids may have become inflamed. Stiff and bleeding lumps make life difficult, but they can be treated.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are the common name for hemorrhoids – vascular structures located in the rectal mucosa that occurs in every human being. These are the cavernous plexuses of blood vessels that fill with blood and thus seal the anal canal. Thanks to them, there is no uncontrolled gas discharge. When we feel pressure, the hemorrhoids empty of blood and allow us to defecate.
Hemorrhoid disease occurs as a result of excessive hyperemia of the nodules, their stretching, and insufficient emptying. The obstructed outflow of blood from the veins can cause inflammation of other tissues of the anus and lead to the formation of anal varices. Hemorrhoids most often appear in people over 30 years of age.
Still, the greatest risk of developing the disease is in the elderly (due to the reduced muscle tension in this area), pregnant women, obese patients, and people who have undergone surgery around the perineum.
Hemorrhoids – causes of occurrence
So far, scientists have not been able to determine the specific cause of the occurrence of hemorrhoids. The hemorrhoidal disease may result from hypertrophy or increased tension of the internal anal sphincter, excessive widening of arteriovenous connections in hemorrhoidal tissue.
The deterioration in the quality of connective tissue attaching the hemorrhoids to the substrate with age, and a decreased ratio of type I/III collagen, which reduces the elasticity of the plexus tissue hemorrhoidal.
The occurrence of hemorrhoids is favored by:
- A sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity;
- A poor diet;
- Pregnancy and hormonal changes;
- Genetic factors.
Hemorrhoids – symptoms
The symptoms of the hemorrhoidal disease are uncomfortable and bothersome. Often the first harbinger of the appearance of hemorrhoids is increasing itching and burning in the anus. Scratching usually damages the mucosa and skin. The bloody stool is another problem. Then there is a feeling of incomplete bowel movement. By increasing the pressure on the stool, patients lead to even greater blood retention in the veins, which leads to enlargement of the nodules.
The most common symptom of the disease is rectal bleeding and fresh blood in the stools. The bleeding may be slight – you will see blood on your underwear, but it can also be heavy, resulting in anemia. In people over 50 who have rectal bleeding, colonoscopy is necessary due to the suspicion of cancer.
The symptom of advanced disease is pain during bowel movements. It is caused by blood clots that stretch the rectal mucosa and cause inflammation. Pain is usually accompanied by swelling of the diseased area. A sick person may have a problem with sitting freely.
In the initial stage, hemorrhoids are downplayed because they are hidden inside and rarely make themselves felt. If we observe any of the characteristic symptoms, we should consult our doctor-proctologist to be sure of the diagnosis. Similar symptoms also occur in diseases such as Crohn’s disease or anal cancer.
Degrees of development of hemorrhoidal disease
There are two types of hemorrhoids – internal and external, and this division refers to the location of enlarged hemorrhoids in the anal canal. Internal hemorrhoids are located above the anal sphincter and external hemorrhoids below.
Often, due to the combination of both venous plexuses, they form a mixed form of internal and external varicose veins. What hemorrhoids look like depends on the severity of the disease. External hemorrhoids appear as red bumps that are hard to the touch.
There are four clinical grades in hemorrhoidal disease:
- I – the nodules are enlarged, but do not fall out;
- II – the nodules move outward during defecation and regress after the pressure is stopped;
- III – nodules move outward during defecation and require manual evacuation;
- IV – nodules remain outside and cannot be drained manually.
The hemorrhoidal disease has various clinical pictures; it develops in stages; there are periods of remissions and relapses. In the first stage, the symptoms are imperceptible to the patient. Mild itching is not bothersome yet. Discomfort begins when external hemorrhoids appear – then you may notice slight bleeding immediately after defecation. The last degree of the hemorrhoidal disease requires urgent medical attention, as vein thrombosis can develop.
Hemorrhoids – diagnosis
The diagnosis of hemorrhoids is based on an interview with the patient and a physical examination – proctology. The abdominal cavity is assessed, the perianal area is examined, and anal palpation is performed and anoscopy (viewing the end of the rectum using a speculum).
The methods of treating hemorrhoids depend on the disease’s stage, symptoms, age, lifestyle, and the impact of the disease on the patient’s quality of life. The sooner measures are taken, the sooner hemorrhoids are diagnosed, the faster, and more effectively, you can get rid of the disease’s disruptive symptoms.
Conservative treatment is, in most cases, the first step in the treatment of haemorrhoidal disease. If it brings improvement, the patient can avoid surgical treatment, which is at risk of complications.
Hemorrhoids – diet
Adequate diet and regular physical activity are crucial in the fight against hemorrhoids. The diet should be rich in high-fiber products to prevent constipation – whole grain bread, thick porridge and pasta, vegetables, and fruit. According to the studies, the consumption of fiber in the amount of 20-30 g/day reduces bleeding and itching intensity.
How to prevent hemorrhoids? In pharmacies, there are fiber preparations and paraffin with anti-constipation paraffin, which can be taken in 1-2 tablespoons a day. Do not forget about the proper hydration of the body – it is recommended to drink 1.5-2 liters of still water a day. It is contraindicated to eat hearty fatty foods, spicy spices, and alcohol.
Drugs for hemorrhoids
Medicines for hemorrhoids can be found in tablets, ointments, creams, gels, and suppositories that have anti-inflammatory, drying, astringent, analgesic, and blood vessel sealing properties. These preparations relieve itching, pain, and burning. Many of them are available over the counter.
Suppositories for hemorrhoids are one of the most popular methods of treatment: they relieve the itching of the anus, have antibacterial properties, and improve blood flow. The benzocaine they contain has anesthetic properties. Studies confirm the effectiveness of suppositories with streptokinase, the use of which for five days reduced the pain and bleeding accompanying the prolapse of hemorrhoids.
Ointments and gels contain local anesthetics, steroids, antibiotics, astringents (tannin, bismuth oxide), plant extracts (saponin, chamomile oil, esculin). Besides, tribenoside is used, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties and improves blood vessels’ tone. 0.3 percent is also used.
Drugs taken by mouth include flavonoids, saponins, rutin, and horse chestnut extracts. They are effective in reducing bleeding and the loss of hemorrhoids. One of the drug components is micronized diosmin, the effectiveness of which has been proven in the acute and chronic phase of haemorrhoidal disease.
Methods of treating hemorrhoids
So, how to get rid of hemorrhoids? Treatment of hemorrhoids with non-conservative methods (lifestyle changes and introduction of pharmacotherapy) affects less than 10 percent of all patients. The need for surgery applies to an even smaller percentage of people. A very popular method that has been used for years is to put on rubber fasteners, commonly known as elastic bands. The procedure is relatively simple and effective, but it is fraught with complications and complications such as pain, bleeding after surgery, or infectious complications (anal abscess, sepsis).
In the 1st and 2nd stages of the haemorrhoidal disease, sclerotherapy can be used as the main hemorrhoids treatment. An appropriately foamed drug is injected into the hemorrhoids, which in combination with carbon dioxide or other inert gas, eliminates them. Other methods of treating hemorrhoids include infrared coagulation, laser therapy, and cryotherapy (freezing). People also can use hemorrhoid cream.
Home remedies for hemorrhoids
Bleeding hemorrhoids and their troublesome symptoms can be minimized with home remedies. Good results are achieved by:
- Wraps: an ice cube wrapped in tissue should be placed on the sick area and held for a few minutes. Also, it can be soaked in a small amount of oil beforehand – thanks to this, we can stop the bleeding.
- Washing with herbal preparations containing extracts of oak bark, calendula, aloe, or chamomile – these substances accelerate healing, have soothing, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties. A cotton ball, tissue, or tampon soaked with the preparation should be put in the right place – it will have a positive effect on the mucosa condition and will eliminate the burning sensation.
- The heat reduces the tension of the internal sphincter, reducing pain. Sit-ups can be repeated two times a day.
- Cotton underwear makes it easier for the skin to breathe and does not burn sensitive areas.
The main thing is washing with the use of a gentle, intimate hygiene liquid must not contain irritating substances such as SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate). Preparations with aloe and panthenol have a soothing effect. After washing, the area around the anus should be thoroughly dried – do not rub it tightly with a towel, but gently apply it. Special gels for perineal care for hemorrhoids can be purchased at the pharmacy.