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Hemorrhoids Causes, Hemorrhoids Symptoms, Hemorrhoids Treatment

hemorrhoid cartoon
"Yep, that's what hemorrhoids feels like!"

HEMORRHOIDS are really varicose veins on the inside. The opening of the bottom is called the anus. Just above here, in three spots are gathered veins which carry blood back from this region to the heart to be recycled. The cause of hemorrhoids is this process getting sluggish and blood that should be on its way back up pools instead at the three areas we just mentioned. This extra blood blows out these veins like balloons which then hurt.

Hemorrhoid Causes

hemorrhoids pictureThe causes for hemorrhoids happening in the first place is the same as in varicose veins - blood flowing the wrong way. Blood courses down from the heart (1) to supply the anus tissues with nutrition. This blood is then supposed to return to the heart along veins (2). The veins have valves in them to stop blood on its way up to the heart from rushing back down. But in hemorrhoids the valves stop working properly and the blood falls back down and collects at the lowest point - the veins of the anus (3). This causes them to engorge and expand creating a swelling of the area (3) called a hemorrhoid.

HEMORRHOIDS in PREGNANCY are caused by the weight of the baby and womb pressing down on the veins carrying blood back up to the heart from the anus and rectum. This weight causes a back pressure in these veins dilating them at their lowest point - above the anus - creating hemorrhoids. It tends therefore to get worse as pregnancy develops as the size and weight of the womb increase, and to improve after pregnancy.

Hemorrhoid Symptoms

HEMORRHOIDS early up in their development have no symptoms. When they reach a significant size they then misbehave. These are the most common symptoms of hemorrhoids and why:

  • A splash of bright red blood at defecation - This happens because when we stool the increased pressures used to force out the stool also increases the pressure in the ballooned veins to the point that some of them burst (see the Cause of Hemorrhoids). Usually it's only a small bleed but if a major vein explodes then there is a very heavy bleed and you need to visit your hospital.
  • Pain in the anus - When the anal veins balloon they stretch their coverings causing an ache which is worse when stooling, sneezing, coughing, etc which momentarily increase their ballooning size and therefore the stretch.
  • Mucous on underwear and itch - When very large, hemorrhoids will actually stick out from the anus. Their covering makes mucous which then stains underwear and makes around the anus itch.

What Hemorrhoids Look Like

Small hemorrhoids won't be seen. It's when they get big enough to stick out from the anus that you can see them. They are covered inside by a layer that looks a bit like the inside of your mouth, very pink and thin, or they can look like wrinkly prunes covered in skin.

Picture of Hemorrhoid:

hemorrhoid picture

Hemorrhoid Treatments

Topical creams or suppositories are the first TREATMENT choice of hemorrhoids. Both can be made of the same ingredients, usually a combination of zinc, an anti-inflammatory steroid, and sometimes a painkiller. The cream is good for hemorrhoids that are sticking out from the anus (prolapsed hemorrhoids), while the suppositories which are tablets pushed up inside where they dissolve, are better suited to hemorrhoids which glide back inside. Both methods shrink the hemorrhoids and often are enough. They are repeated with new attacks and most persons are symptom free between attacks.

Some simple home remedies: constipation is the usually the cause of piles so ensure lots of fluids and a high fibre diet; sitz baths - sitting in warm water - can be soothing for hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids Injection

For small irritating hemorrhoids not protruding, and not responding to medication hemorrhoid treatment a simple injection into them with a scarring agent will cure them. The anus is opened with a tool and a syringe with the chemical inserted and stuck into the hemorrhoid and injected. Over the next couple of days the dilated veins are destroyed and the area scars and shrinks back to normal.

Hemorrhoids Banding

For bigger problematic hemorrhoids the same opening of the anus treatment is done but this time another tool with a rubber band on the end is inserted and the band is slipped over the hemorrhoid's base tightly. This cuts off the hemorrhoids blood supply killing it. Eventually it drops off and is passed out.

Hemorrhoids Surgery

For heavily bleeding hemorrhoids, big protruding hemorrhoids, infected hemorrhoids, and acutely painful hemorrhoids (thrombosed - a blood clot in it leads to acute inflammation and pain), surgery is the best treatment course. It amounts to stretching the anus wide enough that the surgeon has room to work and then grasping each offending hemorrhoid, cutting it out, and then stitching any bleeding points. This leads to a permanent cure.

MLA Citation for School Reports, Links, and Presentations:
Helpful Links:

  • Hemorrhoid Wiki
  • Hemorrhoid Article
  • Emedicine Hemorrhoid Info
  • Treatment of Hemorrhoids!
  • Quick Facts on Hemorrhoids

     

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    Last Updated:
    December 15 2013
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