Hemorrhoids – also called “piles” – are swollen veins either inside or outside the rectum. They often occur because of constipation. Symptoms range from itching and burning to small nodules that can bleed and hurt. Hemorrhoids usually disappear by themselves, but sometimes you may need treatment to relieve the symptoms.
Hemorrhoids are mostly harmless and also very common – about half of all adults are affected at some point. The symptoms are especially common in pregnancy.
Piles are vascular structures in your anal canal. As the pressure on the piles increases, they become over-filled with blood, swollen and inflamed – then they are called hemorrhoids.
They are often associated with constipation, especially if you have to push during bowel movements. Severe diarrhea can also cause hemorrhoids. Sitting, standing for a long time or doing heavy physical work can sometimes cause hemorrhoids. If you are pregnant, it is especially common to suffer from hemorrhoids.
Piles are vascular structures in your anal canal. Normally, they arе cushions that help to control stool. If they become inflamed, it can hurt a lot – especially when you go to the toilet, sit down or move around. Hemorrhoids often bleed, whether they are inside or outside the rectum. These are the most common symptoms:
- drops of light blood from the rectum
- itching or burning around the rectum
- nodules in anus
- difficulty emptying the bowel completely.
Bear in mind that itching and burning around the anus can also be due to anal fissures, eczema or other more serious problems.
Prevention and protection
A number of preventative measures are recommended, including avoiding straining while attempting to defecate, avoiding both constipation and diarrhea by eating a high-fiber diet and drinking plenty of fluid or by taking fiber supplements, and getting sufficient exercise. Spending less time attempting to defecate, avoiding reading while on the toilet, losing weight for overweight persons and avoiding heavy lifting are also recommended.
Hemorrhoids are often treated with non-prescription drugs. In constipation, it is important to keep the stool soft. Sometimes a doctor’s visit and a closer examination of the rectum are required to exclude bowel disease. In case of major problems, hemorrhoids can be removed surgically.
It is good to have a medical examination to find out the cause of hemorrhoids. Keep hemorrhoids clean and dry, but avoid soap that can irritate the skin. You can also try a softening and analgesic ointment that usually relieves symptoms.
In case of constipation:
- drink more water and eat fiber rich products
- go to the toilet regularly
- keep in mind that exercise helps the bowels work
- try non-prescription laxatives that make stools softer.
When to consult a doctor
If self-care does not help or if you have had the hemorrhoids for a long time, if they bleed a lot or cause severe pain, you should contact your health provider.
If you suspect that your symptoms are not due to hemorrhoids, if you find hard knots, abscesses or fistula in the rectum, there may be more serious causes that require investigation. If you are bleeding a lot or have severe pain, you should also get medical help right away.
How APPOTEK can help
You can contact us at APPOTEK for advice and information about hemorrhoids. A nurse or a physician will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms during the care meeting. You may then be prescribed medicines or referred for further treatment. Hemorrhoids often require a physical examination.