A hemorrhoid is an enlarged or twisted vein in the wall of the lower rectum and/or the anus. Hemorrhoids may occur for many reasons, the most common of these are the extra pressure placed on the anorectal area by frequent constipation or by pregnancy; aging, obesity and the frequent use of enemas or suppositories can also be significant factors. Hemorrhoids (or ‘piles’ as they are sometimes called) may be so insignificant that you will hardly notice that there is a problem or they may be so severe that the pain is excruciating and, in the more extreme cases, you may experience bleeding.
Hemorrhoids may be classified as internal or external but it is possible to have both at the same time; these categories are simply referring to the hemorrhoids you can see outside the anal opening and those that are not apparent outside of your body.
Hemorrhoids that are severe enough to require medical treatment are least common in men and women in their 20s or younger. It is estimated that after age 30, however, three-quarters of all Americans will have hemorrhoids that require medical treatment; most of those cases will involve men and pregnant women.
Minor hemorrhoids (internal or external) will not be painful and may go away without treatment of any kind.
A more serious hemorrhoid may bleed and you may notice blood in the toilet bowl, on the feces, on the toilet paper or on your undergarment.
If an internal hemorrhoid becomes large enough it will protrude through the anal opening. Often it can be pushed back inside if it does not go back inside by itself. These protruding internal hemorrhoids quickly become irritated and painful if they are allowed to remain outside. If it cannot be pushed back inside, a visit to the doctor quickly becomes a priority.
External hemorrhoids, if they are large, however, can be painful when attempting to clean the anal area after a bowel movement, they are also subject to blood clots. If a blood clot forms a painful lump may develop and the skin around the anal area will become red. This is not a life threatening situation but it does call for medical intervention.
To Reduce the Frequency and Pain of Hemorrhoids
Sometimes changing your lifestyle or, more importantly, your dietary habits will allow you to avoid a reoccurrence of hemorrhoids. Adding items with a high fiber content to your diet may be enough to avoid constipation, other tactics may involve drinking six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day, losing excess weight and drinking a fiber supplement. Sitting on a toilet seat while reading a book is bad idea because it increases the pressure on the veins that are likely to become irritated and swell.
If you have an external hemorrhoid, perfumed soap or toilet paper may irritate it. Use a pre-moistened towelette or one of the hemorrhoid products on the market to reduce the pain and discomfort. Try sitting in a tub of warm water to reduce pain or using an ice pack to reduce swelling.
If these ‘home remedies’ do you no good, see your doctor. There is no need to live with the pain of hemorrhoids.