Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum and around the anus. This common condition affects millions of people and can cause uncomfortable symptoms like itching, irritation, bleeding, discomfort, and pain. Although they are rarely life-threatening, they can reduce comfort and should be addressed. Changes in behavior and medical interventions can often bring welcome relief.
Causes and Risk Factors
This disease could have more than one cause or risk factor. Straining during bowel movements, having chronic constipation, or chronic diarrhea are common causes because they put more pressure on the veins in the lower rectum and anus. Over time, the tissues and muscles in the rectum and anus that support the veins get weaker.
By age 50, about half of adults have experienced hemorrhoids at some point. The body’s supporting tissues lose elasticity as we age, making conditions like hemorrhoids more likely. In such cases, an online doctor consultation could guide with personalized advice, especially for the elderly, who might find visiting clinics challenging.
Symptoms and Complications
Piles are classified into two main types: internal and external. Internal piles within the rectum may sometimes prolapse or protrude through the anus, causing discomfort and pain. While they are not typically dangerous, they can lead to complications such as anemia due to blood loss, infections, tissue death, and even the development of an anal abscess. On the other hand, external piles form just outside the anus, under the skin.
Several symptoms can indicate the presence of piles. Among the most common is rectal bleeding, evident as bright red streaks on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl following a bowel movement. The affected area might also exhibit itching, a sensation of fullness, or produce mucus discharge. If you’re experiencing these symptoms and are uncertain about their cause, don’t hesitate to reach out to Consultdoc’s online doctor consultation service. Our experienced healthcare professionals can provide immediate relief and expert guidance promptly.
Doctors typically diagnose it through visual examinations and a digital rectal exam. A colonoscopy or other more extensive diagnostic procedure may be necessary when additional digestive problems, such as colitis, are suspected. Doctors also consider medical history, including any previous surgeries, bowel habits, pain characteristics, and changes in the stool. Opting for online platforms such as Consultdoc, which provides an online GP registration service, can simplify the process of connecting with healthcare professionals for initial consultations, assessments, and the development of comprehensive treatment plans.
Many patients begin their hemorrhoid treatment journey with over-the-counter solutions. Options like hydrocortisone creams and pads containing witch hazel can provide immediate relief from itching and inflammation.
This warm water soak is designed for the rectal area. By immersing the affected region several times a day, patients can reduce swelling and ensure the area remains clean. This natural remedy can complement other treatments and is often recommended.
In cases where hemorrhoids are particularly severe or don’t respond to other treatments, surgery might be the most appropriate course of action. This more invasive treatment ensures the removal of problematic tissues. As with all medical procedures, thorough discussions with healthcare providers, whether face-to-face or online, are crucial for informed decision-making.
A high-fiber diet is instrumental in preventing hemorrhoids. Incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, and nuts can lead to bulkier, softer stools that pass easily. Conversely, processed foods low in fiber contribute to constipation.
Consistent water intake is essential for digestive health. It softens stools and supports regular bowel movements, significantly reducing the strain on rectal veins.
Posture & Toilet Habits:
The posture adopted during bowel movements can play a significant role in preventing hemorrhoids. Moreover, limiting the duration of toilet sitting can prevent undue pressure on the rectal veins.
Engaging in regular physical activity promotes healthy bowel movements and lessens the risk of constipation. Some doctors recommend taking fiber supplements if dietary fiber intake remains inadequate.
When to See if it is serious
Those with mild symptoms can often treat piles at home using conservative therapies. But if hemorrhoids persist for more than 1-2 weeks or bleed frequently, a doctor should assess them. Immediate medical attention is necessary for significant rectal bleeding, lightheadedness, weakness, and confusion related to blood loss, severe pain, prolapsing tissue, and fever, indicating infection. Anyone over 40 with new rectal bleeding should seek a doctor’s advice or an online doctor consultation to rule out conditions like piles.
The prognosis for most people with piles is excellent, especially when treated early. Many mild cases can be managed at home through conservative measures like topical medications, sitz baths, lifestyle changes, and over-the-counter remedies. If you’re experiencing recurrent symptoms, engaging in online GP services from Consultdoc might be beneficial, which would help you properly manage this condition. With proper prevention and management, most people find relief from the symptoms and avoid recurrences.