Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and lower rectum and resemble varicose veins. Commonly called piles, hemorrhoids can be internal and develop inside the rectum or externally – under the skin around the anus.
Internal hemorrhoids are made up of small hemorrhoidal vessels and a part of the blood supply to the anus. External hemorrhoids are veins. In their normal state, we are not aware of them at all, but sometimes they develop problems.
Problems with internal hemorrhoids are referred to as “internal haemorrhoidal disease.” The patient may develop symptoms occasionally, or the problems could be chronic and long-term.
Problems with external hemorrhoids develop when a blood clot forms in one of the veins at the opening of the anus. This condition is called a thrombosed external hemorrhoid. The patient develops a firm external lump, often accompanied by anal pain and bleeding between bowel movements.
Research shows that nearly three of four adults develop haemorrhoidal problems from time to time.
The risk of hemorrhoids increases with the following:
Age as tissues that support veins in the rectum and anus area become weak and stretch.
Pregnancy: also increases the risk of haemorrhoidal problems as the increased weight in the uterus puts pressure on the anal region.Constipation
Increase pressure in the abdomen (chronic cough, straining).
The symptoms of external hemorrhoids include itching or irritation in the anal region, pain, and discomfort, swelling around the anus, and bleeding. Patients often experience rectal bleeding, usually bright red blood, during and sometimes between bowel movements. Anal pain may be felt during or after bowel movements. There may be a prolapse or bulging of the internal hemorrhoids during bowel movements. This condition may get corrected on its own or may need to be pushed back.
If you suffer from internal hemorrhoids, then straining or irritation during bowel movements can lead to painless bleeding – with bright red blood. You could also get a prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoid that pushes through the anal opening and causes pain and irritation.
Causes of Hemorrhoidal Problems:
An increase in the pressure in the lower rectum may be caused by a number of different factors and can lead to haemorrhoidal problems. Possible causes include:
Straining or pushing during bowel movements.
Lifting heavy loads.
A low-fiber diet.
Chronic diarrhea or constipation.
Sitting on the toilet for a long duration.
Pregnancy and vaginal delivery.
Diagnosis of Hemorrhoids
If you suffer any symptoms of hemorrhoids, you should consult a specialist Dr. Khaldoun Ghareb and get the proper diagnosis. You cannot assume that rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids, as there are other conditions that cause the same symptom and may need to be ruled out. If you have large amounts of rectal bleeding or feel faint, you should seek emergency care.
When you meet the physician, the diagnosis will start with a physical exam. The doctor will examine the anus. Instruments called anoscope or proctoscope may be used to view the condition.
Your doctor may recommend additional tests to rule out other conditions. These tests could include the following:
Sigmoidoscopy: Used to examine the lower colon or sigmoid.
Colonoscopy: Used to examine the entire colon.
Prevention of Hemorrhoids
You can reduce your chances of getting haemorrhoidal problems and manage your symptoms, if any, by following these practices:
Eat a high-fiber diet: A high-fiber diet keeps the stools soft and increases their bulk, so patients don’t need to strain or push. More fruit, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet can help to prevent hemorrhoids. You could also consider having fiber supplements such as psyllium. If you take fiber supplements, you must remember to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, or you could suffer from constipation.
Exercise: Being active and exercising helps to prevent constipation and reduces pressure on veins that may occur due to long periods of standing or sitting. Exercise can also help to overcome obesity which is a contributing factor to hemorrhoids.
Avoid sitting for long periods: Sitting for long durations, especially on the toilet, increases the pressure on the anal veins.
Drink plenty of fluids: You should consume 6 to 8 glasses of water and other non-alcoholic liquids every day to prevent hemorrhoids.
Patients whose symptoms do not reduce with home treatment it and preventive measures may require specific interventions. The recommended treatment depends on the size of the hemorrhoids and the severity of the symptoms.
A thrombosed external hemorrhoid usually does not need surgery. As the blood clot dissolves, it shrinks. The doctor may decide to remove the clot or cut the thrombosed external hemorrhoid completely. This is a minor procedure and is usually performed in the office.
Other treatment options for hemorrhoids include:
Rubber band ligation: In this procedure, rubber bands are placed at the base of internal hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply and cause hemorrhoid to fall off. This procedure can be performed without sedation.
Sclerotherapy: In sclerotherapy, a chemical agent, also called a sclerosing agent, is injected into internal hemorrhoid. This leads to the creation of scar tissue that fixes internal hemorrhoids in place.
Doppler-guided haemorrhoidal artery ligation: In this surgical procedure, a special anal probe equipped with a Doppler device is used. Blood vessels leading to internal hemorrhoids are identified and then tied off (ligated). This makes them shrink, or stitches can be used to fix them in place. This procedure is done in the operating room under general anesthesia.
Advantages of Doppler Treatment:
No stay in the hospital
Early return to work
Stapled haemorrhoidopexy, or Procedure for Prolapse and Hemorrhoids (PPH): This procedure involves the use of a special stapling device to remove a doughnut of the rectal lining. The bulging internal hemorrhoids are pulled back into the anus. This is performed in an operation theatre.
Infrared coagulation: The veins feeding the hemorrhoids are coagulated. This can be performed as an outpatient procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation under local anesthesia.
We’ll diagnose your condition and recommend suitable treatment options to get you back on track to a pain-free life.
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