How would I know if I have hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids or piles are swollen, inflamed veins around the anus or lower part of the rectum (the terminal part of the large bowel). Hemorrhoids are common in both men and women. It is estimated that 1 in 20 Americans have hemorrhoids. They occur more commonly with age and around 50% of people in the US over 50 years of age are affected.
Hemorrhoids may be felt as tiny lumps in and around the anus. They often get better on their own within a few days, but some may need medications and even surgery to go away. There are two main types of hemorrhoids
- External hemorrhoids: These form under the skin around the anus.
- Internal hemorrhoids: These form in the lining of the anus and lower rectum.
If you have hemorrhoids, you may experience the following symptoms
- Bleeding from the rectum observed as bright red blood in the stool, on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement
- Itching in and around the anus
- Hard, tender lumps felt at the anus (bottom)
- Anal pain, especially while sitting
- A bulging or swelling may be felt through the anus in the case of a prolapsed hemorrhoid (a hemorrhoid that has bulged or fallen through the anal opening)
Tumors, fissures or rectal prolapse may also cause symptoms similar to those that occur with hemorrhoids. Thus, it is advisable to visit a doctor for a definitive diagnosis.
Can you pop a hemorrhoid?
You must not pop a hemorrhoid because doing so can lead to painful and serious complications. You must always consult your doctor for a definitive diagnosis and treatment.
- Many conditions in and around your bottom may mimic a hemorrhoid; thus, it is advisable to get yourself examined by a professional. It may not be a hemorrhoid but a polyp, fissure or tumor.
- Popping a hemorrhoid may cause injury to the delicate and sensitive tissues around the anus. It can cause bleeding and extreme pain, which may last until the area heals completely.
- Your bottom harbors many bacteria and other pathogens (disease- or infection-causing agents). When you pop a hemorrhoid, the area can get infected causing further complications.
- There can be scarring due to any injury that may further cause problems such as pain and difficulty passing stools.
What are the home remedies for hemorrhoids (piles)?
The symptoms of hemorrhoids, particularly small hemorrhoids, may go away on their own without any treatment. You must, however, seek immediate medical care if your symptoms do not go away within a week or you experience symptoms such as severe anal pain and bleeding from the rectum, discomfort or pain in the abdomen, diarrhea or fever.
Home remedies for hemorrhoids include
- Drinking plenty of water and other nonalcoholic fluids such as fruit juices, buttermilk and coconut water.
- Eating fiber-rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Taking a stool softener or fiber supplement such as psyllium and methylcellulose .
- Avoiding straining during bowel movements.
- Avoiding sitting on the toilet for long periods.
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.
- Taking a warm bath or sitz bath several times a day, especially after a bowel movement. Sitz bath involves sitting in a tub of warm water for about 15 minutes. You may buy a sitz bath from a local pharmacy. It is a small bowl that fits right over the toilet and offers a convenient way to soak and comfort the area.
- Applying witch hazel with the help of a gauze pad. Witch hazel is rich in tannins and oils that may help reduce the pain and swelling and slow bleeding from the piles.
- Applying pure aloe vera gel to the affected area.
- Applying OTC hemorrhoid creams and ointments or using suppositories (a medicine you insert into the rectum).
- Applying a homemade paste of Epsom salt and glycerin to the affected area. The paste can be made by mixing equal amounts of both the ingredients and applying the mixture on the affected area with the help of a gauze pad. You can apply it for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every four to six hours.
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