What are hemorrhoids? What are its symptoms?
Hemorrhoids refers to the condition where an individual suffers from enlarged or swollen veins in the lower rectum. These could be both outside or inside the anus.
Here, the most common symptoms include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Tissue bulging around the anus
- Faeces spilling out or difficulty cleaning up after bowel movement
Rectal bleeding is usually the main cause for this condition although there could be other more serious causes. Therefore, if you experience rectal bleeding, consult your doctor immediately.
What are the causes of haemorrhoids?
When the veins around your anus stretch under pressure, it tends to bulge or swell, which results in the formation of haemorrhoids.
Factors that can cause your veins to stretch include:
- Constant straining during bowel movements
- Complications due to chronic constipation
- Being seated for a long time (specifically on the toilet)
- A family history of haemorrhoids
- A lack of fibre in your diet
- Regular heavy-lifting
How are haemorrhoids diagnosed?
When you visit the clinic, your doctor will, first, do a visual examination of your anus. Most times, this may be sufficient. Your doctor may do other examinations to check for any abnormalities and to confirm your diagnosis.
Depending on your risk of developing other gastrointestinal conditions, your doctor will recommend additional tests like an anoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. These tests will be performed using a colonoscope, which is a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light at the end.
How are haemorrhoids treated?
You can be treated for haemorrhoids either at home or at the clinic. Your doctor will generally discuss what you can do to relieve the pain and to get rid of your haemorrhoids. This will depend on whether you have internal or external haemorrhoids.
Rubber band ligation is one of the most common procedures used as a form of treatment. If this doesn’t work, you may be recommended surgery to remove the haemorrhoids.
Do haemorrhoids go away?
Haemorrhoids can go away on their own, without medical treatment. If the haemorrhoid persists for too long or starts to bleed and cause pain, you should see a gastrointestinal specialist immediately.
How long do haemorrhoids last if left untreated?
Small haemorrhoids can last for a few days if untreated while large ones could take a long time to heal, from a few days to a month.
Why do people get haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids form due to an increase in pressure in the rectal region, this pressure may cause veins in the rectal area to swell and eventually turn into haemorrhoids.
Can haemorrhoids be hereditary?
Yes, haemorrhoids can run in families. People who’ve inherited weak veins are more likely to develop this condition due to the veins in their rectal region being more susceptible to swelling under pressure.
What can shrink haemorrhoids quickly?
Aside from surgery, external haemorrhoids can be shrunk by using topicals containing chemicals such as hydrocortisone and phenylephrine. Internal haemorrhoids on the other hand may require some mild procedures like rubber band ligation.
Got a referral from your doctor?
Please click below to request an appointment