Hemorrhoids, commonly known as “Piles”, occur due to dilatation of the veins around the anus. Hemorrhoids are not unnatural or any foreign object entering our body, but these are veins that are always there with us in and around the lower rectum and anus. These veins become painful when they become inflamed due to excessive stretching under pressure.
Common among both men and women, almost half of the population of the globe have suffered this condition by the age of 50. The condition is common in pregnancy due to hormonal changes and pressure of the fetus in the lower abdomen. It is also commonly seen in persons who need to strain while passing motions, which exerts excessive pressure on the blood vessels of anal walls.
While anyone can suffer from hemorrhoids, some factors may increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
Bowel irregularities, chronic constipation, hard stools, loose motions or frequent disturbances in bowel habits. Persistent gastrointestinal problems cause strain on the bowels and the blood vessels.
Pregnancy and labor exert excess pressure on the bowels and can become a cause or worsen the existing hemorrhoids.
Liver diseases or heart disorders that affect blood circulation or tumors causing excess pressure on the bowels or pelvic region can increase the risk of hemorrhoids.
Sitting or standing for long can also contribute. Lifting heavy weight can be a major factor that influences the formation or worsening of hemorrhoids.
Consumption of excessive caffeine beverages, coffee, alcohol and smoking or tobacco chewing can increase the risk factor. Poor diet, which includes more of animal protein and less fibrous vegetables. It does not provide adequate roughage and increases the chances of constipation and hemorrhoids. Sexual preferences and anal sex too can increase the risk.
The risk of hemorrhoids increases if there are family members experiencing the same. Hereditary tendency towards easy damage of the venous walls is possible.
The risk of hemorrhoids also increases with age.
The common symptoms of the condition include –
Presence of bright red blood on the stool and/or toilet paper.
Since, presence of blood in stool can be linked with other health issues as well, it is important that the person undergoes a proper evaluation and diagnosis for his/her painful condition. The diagnosis can be performed using –
Digital rectum examination (DRE)
Based on the symptoms, evaluation and diagnosis done by the doctor, the treatment for hemorrhoids may include –
Sitting in the tub with plain, warm water.
Using ice packs for reducing inflammation
Using suppositories or hemorrhoidal creams
Addition of more fiber and fluids to the diet
Addition of fiber supplements or stool softeners like – psyllium husk, methylcellulose
Surgical treatments may be done in some severe cases, which include – Rubber band ligation, Sclerotherapy, Electrical coagulation, Laser coagulation, Infrared photo coagulation, Hemorrhoidectomy, etc.
The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to follow a healthy routine, with regular exercises and balanced diet. For many, the condition of hemorrhoids is not serious, however it is important that you seek medical help if you find blood in your stool, as the untreated condition may lead to further issues like Rectal bleeding. Talk to your doctor about any medical condition or bowel disturbances.