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Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen cluster veins that form inside the rectum or anus. These swollen veins cause a blood pool that makes the veins dilate externally around the rectum and anus.
Hemorrhoids can become uncomfortable, painful, and cause rectal bleeding. Everyone is born with hemorrhoids (referring to the veins in that area). However, they only produce awful symptoms when they become swollen.
Four different types of hemorrhoids exist and each depends on where the bulging veins occur.
Internal Hemorrhoids: They are swollen veins formed inside the rectum. Due to their hidden position, they’re difficult to diagnose.
External Hemorrhoids: They are swollen veins that usually appear underneath the surrounding anus. They look like a bulging lump.
Prolapsed Hemorrhoids: This is when both the internal and external hemorrhoids project outside the anus.
Thrombosed Hemorrhoids: This is a blood clot that develops due to the rupture of one of the external hemorrhoidal veins. This blood clot is a lump under the skin beside the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are usually not painful until they prolapse. Anyone with internal hemorrhoids symptoms might begin to notice blood in their stools, toilet bowl, or toilet paper. These show signs of rectal bleedings.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:
Symptoms and physical examinations are used to diagnose hemorrhoids. Doctors can also diagnose you by:
Digital Rectal Examination: Wearing a lubricated glove, the doctor will insert a finger into the rectum to see if there are swollen veins.
Anoscopy: This is when your doctor views the lining of the rectum and anus with an anoscope.
Sigmoidoscopy: Doctors use a sigmoidoscope to view the inside of the lower part of the rectum and colon. A sigmoidoscope is a lighted tube with a camera.
Sometimes, your doctor may carry out a colonoscopy to validate the results from other tests or even check for signs of colon cancer. These tests may be uncomfortable but are usually not painful.
Sometimes hemorrhoids disappear on their own, while symptoms like bleeding and pain may last a week or longer. You can treat hemorrhoids using home remedies or going to see a doctor.
Examples of at-home treatments would be:
When symptoms get worse or interrupt your daily activities, this is when you need to consult with your doctor. You should also seek help if the symptoms don’t go away after a week of using home treatments. Doctors treat hemorrhoids with:
Infrared Coagulation: This is a non-surgical process that uses infrared light as a heat source to clot vessels supplying blood to the hemorrhoids. In simple terms, it is a probe inserted into the rectum that transmits heat to clear-off hemorrhoids.
Electrocoagulation: This is using an electric current to stop blood flow to hemorrhoids.
Rubber Band Ligation: The doctor uses a rubber band placed around the hemorrhoids to restrict blood supply to the vein.
Hemorrhoidectomy: Doctors sometimes carry out surgery to take out big, external hemorrhoids or prolapsed internal ones.
You may not need to see a doctor to manage hemorrhoids. There are a few things you can do at home to ease symptoms:
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!