Hemorrhoids are painful, bulges 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 hemorrhoids grow outside of the anus. Both can be 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, it is a possible sign of internal hemorrhoids.
Straining when having a bowel movement is a primary cause of 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 problem. Having a baby can also cause hemorrhoids because the mother must strain to push out her baby. Sitting for extended 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 voiding your bowels regularly. Also, just sitting at a desk for work could become more uncomfortable.
An over-the-counter or prescribed hemorrhoid cream or suppository is the usual first line treatment for hemorrhoids. The medication slowly reduces the swelling. In more severe situations, a doctor may have to place bands at the base of the protruding veins to reduce their size gradually. Hemorrhoid banding requires no special prior preparation and can be performed as a quick outpatient procedure in your gastroenterologist’s office with remarkable results avoiding the need for surgery. A hemorrhoidectomy is a 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.
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 excessive time on the toilet, straining when going to the bathroom, and to prevent problems with constipation eat foods high in fiber, use a daily fiber supplement like Metamucil or Benefiber and exercise more.