Hemorrhoids, commonly known as “Piles”, occur due to dilatation of the veins around the anus. They 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 because of 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. Hemorrhoids condition is seen during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and pressure of the fetus in the lower abdomen. It is also 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 more.
- 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 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. The hereditary tendency towards easy damage of the venous walls is possible.
- Age is also a factor where the risk of hemorrhoids increases.
The common symptoms of the condition include –
- Presence of bright red blood on the stool and/or toilet paper.
- Pain and irritation, inflammation, the presence of hard lump around the anus.
Since the presence of blood in the stool can be linked with other health issues as well, so it is important that the person undergoes a proper evaluation and diagnosis for his/her painful condition. The diagnosis can be performed using –
- Physical examination
- Digital rectum examination (DRE)
Based on the symptoms, evaluation, and diagnosis have done by the doctor, the treatment for hemorrhoids may include –
- Sitting in the tub with plain, warm water.
- Using ice packs for reducing inflammation
- Use of suppositories or hemorrhoidal creams will help
- Addition of more fiber and fluids to the diet
- Even 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 photocoagulation, Hemorrhoidectomy, etc.
The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to follow a healthy routine, with regular exercises and a balanced diet. For many, the condition of hemorrhoids is not serious in fact 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.
Written By: Dr. H Kaur, Dr. S Singh
Edited By: S Jha