Hemorrhoids are a big pain in the butt, literally. They are particularly frustrating to manage because they're located in a place that you use very often. If you have recurring issues with hemorrhoids, take the time to learn more about what causes them, how you can treat them and how to avoid them altogether.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are painful veiny lumps that develop around the anus. They form due to pressure on the veins around the rectum and pelvis area. You can have either external or internal hemorrhoids (or both). Internal hemorrhoids develop inside of the anus, while external ones grow outside of the opening. Both are extremely painful. You can clearly tell when you have external hemorrhoids because you can see or feel them bulging from the anal area. If you see blood, or mucus, in your stool or the toilet after going to the bathroom, that is a possible sign of internal hemorrhoids.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Straining when having a bowel movement mostly causes hemorrhoids. Pushing hard to expel feces causes those veins to enlarge and become swollen. So if you have ongoing issues with constipation, this could be a chronic issue. Having a baby can also cause hemorrhoids because the mother must strain to push out her baby. Sitting for long periods of time in an uncomfortable position, such as on a rock or the cement, could also put undue pressure on the anal muscles, causing hemorrhoids.
While hemorrhoids do not usually present a serious medical concern, they can cause a number of negative side effects related to the pain. Knowing that a bowel movement will be painful could make you avoid moving your bowels regularly. Also, just sitting at a desk for work could become more of a chore than you ever imagine.
Treatments of Hemorrhoids
An over-the-counter or prescribed hemorrhoid cream is the usual solution for hemorrhoids. The cream slowly reduces the swelling. In more serious situations, a doctor may have to place bands at the base of the protruding veins to reduce their size slowly or perform a surgery. A hemorrhoidectomy is the traditional surgery, where the tissue is removed while a hemorrhoidopexy staples the tissue in a particular position so that hemorrhoids no longer form around the anus.
Have a Comfortable Seat
You may be able to manage most hemorrhoid pain without going to the doctor with natural solutions. Try sitting in a bath of warm water (also called a sitz bath) for about a half an hour. Do not sit on hard surfaces or even on chairs that are firm -- sit on a pillow or a doughnut. If possible, do not sit at all -- lay down on your side instead while dealing with a hemorrhoid. Avoid straining when going to the bathroom and to avoid future problems with constipation, eat foods high in fiber and exercise more.
Visit your gastroenterologist for further diagnosis and treatment of your hemorrhoids.
If you're dealing with painful hemorrhoids, call our South Side of Chicago gastroenterology office at (773) 238-1126 to schedule an appointment.