Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the bum. Affected veins are located directly beneath the mucous membranes of the last part of the colon and the anus. The veins swell due to frequent high pressure, which is usually a consequence of repeated strain during the discharge of the stool. The strain is, in most cases, the result of a constipation. Hemorrhagic disorders often occur in pregnancy or in overweight people. If you have hemorrhoids, the veins in your anus are swollen, distorted, the walls of the veins are getting thinner, and the passage of the stool easily leads to their rupturing. Internal hemorrhoids develop near the beginning of the anal canal. If the expanded vein is even lower, practically on the anal opening itself, we call it an external hemorrhoid.
External hemorrhoids sometimes proliferate or fall (i.e. they ”stick out” beyond the anal opening). This can happen only during the discharge of the stool (defecation), after which the fallen vein usually returns to its place. However, in some cases, the hemorrhoid (or hemorrhoid) will not return, and should be pressed with a finger. Thrombosis is also possible, i.e. blood clots in hemorrhoids.
The main symptom is bleeding (it is also the only symptom in many people). The blood is light-red colored and occurs during the defecation. You will notice it in the form of strips on toilet paper or on the stool, and the blood can also leak (which usually takes about one minute). In addition, defecation can become more unpleasant and painful. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are often accompanied by mucous discharge and with itching around the anal opening. In severe cases, prolapse of hemorrhoids can occur unexpected, i.e. not only during the defecation. If the condition is accompanied by thrombosis, the patient may experience severe pain.
Hemorrhoids are very common and, in most cases, occasionally bleed. Serious problems are rare. Every year, one in every 100 people in the United Kingdom addresses the doctor for this discomfort.
Hemorrhoids by themselves are not dangerous, although they cause discomfort. However, it is very dangerous if bleeding is not a consequence of hemorrhoids, but colon cancer, especially those in the forties. Therefore, you should contact your doctor every time you bleed from the anus. Excessive blood loss can cause sideropenic anemia.
What to do?
If you notice any signs of bleeding from the anus, contact your doctor. He will examine the last part of the colon and the anus, either with a hand (with gloves) or a proctoscope. In order to exclude the possibility of cancer, X-rays with a barium are used, as well as sigmoidoscopy.
Self-help: if you eat a lot of fresh fruit, vegetables and food from unprocessed flour, the stool will be soft and easy to dispose of. If you already have hemorrhoids, clean the anus – thoroughly, but carefully – after each defecation with a soft toilet paper, wash the anus with water and soap, and then wipe it carefully. With reasonable nutrition and hygiene you will generally be able to keep the hemorrhoids under control and may even get rid of them if it is a mild case. You can also buy suppositories that will ”collect” painful hemorrhoids if you apply it every night for 7 to 14 days.
If you experience particularly severe pain (which is a sign of prolapse and/or vein thrombosis), stay in bed all day and take pain medication (e.g. paracetamol) every four hours. With a cold compress or cloth soaked in the rowan (sorbus aucuparia), you will relieve the swelling, and the hemorrhoids will withdraw. A warm salty bath can also help. If the pain persists for more than 12 hours, contact your doctor.
Professional help: doctors usually treat hemorrhoids as prescribing fat for relieving and/or suppressing pain, or suppositories (anal supplements) of various corticosteroid medications. Some types of suppositories also contain a local anesthetic that paralyses the painful area, thus facilitating the discharge of the stool. If your stool is still hard, additional measures can be taken, i.e. a combination of multiple fiber foods and opening agents.
If all this does not help you, you will need a different treatment. As two possible treatments – which usually do not require hospitalization – we can mention injections of a special hemorrhoid collection drug, or cryochirurgic surgery, i.e. destruction of the tissue by freezing. However, in some cases, the only solution will be the operational removal of hemorrhoids.