Hemorrhoids are so common that over half of people who are fifty or older have them or have had them. Why, then, are so many people embarrassed by them and afraid to ask for information about how to treat them? The area they occur in is one reason for the embarrassment, but with so many people suffering from them, information about what they are, how to treat them, and when to seek medical help should be readily available.
- Painful toileting sessions that can last for up to a half hour.
- Irritation and bleeding in the area after passing a stool.
- Itching around the rectum before and after passing a stool.
- A hard painful lump on the outside of the anus.
Understanding the Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are blood vessels (veins) that become swollen, distended, and similar in appearance to varicose veins in the legs. They can occur either internally, externally, or both, and all hemorrhoids can be extremely painful, but external hemorrhoids are usually more painful than internal hemorrhoids.
External Hemorrhoids are caused by many things, but the most common cause is straining to make a bowel movement. When constipation occurs, the pressure on your rectum and the veins in it can cause damage. Hard, difficult to pass stools can actually cause tears and swelling in the tissue of the rectum. When a hemorrhoid appears externally, it can protrude from the rectum, causing discomfort, pain, itching, swelling, and sometimes even bleeding.
There are other things that can cause external hemorrhoids. Pregnancy, a diet low in fiber, eating foods that are difficult for you to digest properly, spicy foods, and being overweight can all make it more likely that you will get hemorrhoids. If you notice any beginning to form, increasing your fiber intake, drinking lots of water, and making sure you don’t strain to have a bowel movement may help it heal fast.
If an external hemorrhoid becomes debilitating, bleeds, or is getting larger rather than smaller, you may want to talk to your doctor. Hemorrhoids may be painful, but they don’t have to limit what you can do if taken control of.