We have all heard about hemorrhoids at some point in our lives. Hemorrhoids are more commonly known as piles. Fresh red blood on the toilet paper or the toilet bowl itself is the striking feature of hemorrhoids. For some it’s just itchiness around the anus
The anus and rectal canal is made up of a thick and highly complex plexus of veins. These veins are present to perform normal physiological functions. In their normal state, these veins are filled up with blood and help in maintaining continence, regulating bowel movements, and controlling gas.
With advancing age, the veins’ walls become weak resulting in dilated veins with thinner walls. Therefore, when these veins are filled up with blood, the thin walls cannot support the blood efficiently, and as a result, start to enlarge and bulge. This results in hemorrhoids.
Type of Hemorrhoids (piles)
There are mainly two kinds of hemorrhoids; External and Internal.
Internal hemorrhoids are inside the anus and cannot be seen with the naked eye. These cushions of engorged blood vessels are formed inside and can be seen using proctoscopy. This region of the anus has few pain-sensitive nerve endings, and thus internal hemorrhoids are not very painful.
The other type is external hemorrhoids. As the name suggests, they can be seen by the naked eye. They are present beneath the skin surrounding the anal canal. There are many more nerve endings on the outer surface of the anus and rectum than on the inside, which makes external piles very painful.
Why do hemorrhoids happen?
We can easily explain using balloons. When it is not inflated, the balloons are thick however it becomes thinner as we inflate it. That is exactly what happens when there is excessive pressure in the lower part of the rectum and anus. Anything that increases pressure around the anus may cause hemorrhoids. Conditions that cause frequent coughing or sneezing and constipation. Pregnancy is another reason as the growing baby will add pressure on the vessel. It is sometimes a working hazard for some people as those who work involving heavy object lifting will cause increased pressure on vessels thus resulting in hemorrhoids.
In treating hemorrhoids, it is essential to assess the clinical presentation and grade of the lesion. In less severe cases, the doctor prescribes ice packs for swelling, suppositories, and hemorrhoidal creams. A minor procedure where we apply a rubber band and the base of the hemorrhoid is also suitable and can be easily done in the clinic without the need to be admitted.
In severe cases such as prolapsed, and thrombosed disease; surgical procedure to remove it is preferred. It is called hemorrhoidectomy. This requires a visit to a surgeon and admission to hospital for treatment.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids?
No matter how much we want to reduce the risk of getting hemorrhoids, it is difficult. Most of our daily activities sometimes will involve some heavy lifting and ladies, most of them want to get pregnant at some point in their lives. Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to prevent or rather reduce the risk of getting it.
Dietary improvement. Eating fiber-rich foods such as beans, vegetables, and fruits helps to soften the feces and will prevent constipation
Refrain from straining and holding breath during defecation
If you are having frequent constipation, you may want to visit a doctor for stool softening medications.
Precaution: Having symptoms like those of hemorrhoids does not cancel out the chances of other anal diseases and cancers. So it is imperative to see a doctor on the first symptom or suspicion and get a thorough physical examination.