Hemorrhoids are swollen and enlarged anal veins. They appear due to numerous causes such as sitting on the toilet too long, straining when passing a bowel movement, and they are sometimes caused by the strain and excess weight of a fetus during pregnancy.
There are internal hemorrhoids and external, or prolapsed hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids occur high up in the rectum and generally the only symptom you will notice is some bright red blood on the stool, or in the toilet. It is when they prolapse they can become problematic.
Some prolapsed hemorrhoids will only bulge out with a bowel movement and will spontaneously go back into the rectum. Some hemorrhoids prolapse with a bowel movement and can be pushed back inside the rectum. A prolapsed hemorrhoid that cannot be pushed back into the rectum may require surgery. These severe hemorrhoids may also prolapse with coughing and sneezing. They may also have a chronic mucus type discharge.
If you’re lucky, and diligent, you can treat some hemorrhoids with surgery. The first recommendation is to increase the fiber in your diet. This can easily be done by taking a fiber supplement on a daily basis. Increase your water intake to help keep your stools soft. Take a stool softener, following the manufacturers recommendations. When you wipe don’t use toilet paper, use a cotton ball or pad pre moistened with witch haze. You can buy pre moistened pads at your local drug store. For itching you an use any of the numerous over the counter hemorrhoidal preparations.
If the above recommendations don’t help, your physician may recommend hemorrhoid surgery. Small hemorrhoids can be “banded”. A rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid. This band stops the blood circulation that feeds the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid shrivels and withers away. Some surgeons treat hemorrhoids with sclerosing agents, which do the same thing as a band.
Laser coagulation an be performed. With laser coagulation a small electrical current is applied to the hemorrhoid via a probe. This electrical current causes the blood flow to the hemorrhoid to stop, causing it to wither away.
With larger hemorrhoids surgical removal is performed, usually with local or spinal anesthesia. After the hemorrhoid is removed gauze packing is used to help reduce bleeding. There is generally a 4-5 day period of “down time” following this surgery.
Any rectal bleeding should be checked by your physician.
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