Hemorrhoids: Painless Rectal Bleeding
Hemorrhoids are varicose kind veins of the anal area. They are very similar to a surgical glove squeezed in the fingers to make a large bulge. These bulges filled with blood coagulate and form clots. This kind of stretching of the blood vessel created pain, and the clot maintains stretching of the vein causing continued soreness. Brand new straining right after initial formation of the clot, i.e. from constipation, bowel movements, labor or some other form of constriction of the belly can further stretch this already broadened blood vessel and forms a new thin layer around the clot increasing the clot dimensions causing more and more continuing pain.
This thin stretched vessel has pressure receptors in it that are perceived as pressure pain and can be swollen by sitting, direct trauma, toilet paper or restraining. When you've ever had these, you know how uncomfortable they can be. Also called "piles", they occur for a number of reasons. One cause is gravity. The blood vessels from higher up on the anus start to drop down due to the laxity of the tissue as we grow older. Another cause is the pelvic congestion due to prolonged sitting, straining with hard work or trying to have a bowel movement, or perhaps by the pelvic congestion of pregnancy. Initial symptoms can be a tad alarming. Maybe it's a small amount of fresh blood on the tissue paper after a bowel movement. Then there is the hazy itching, generalized discomfort and downright pain that can accompany hemorrhoids. Add to that the discovery of "lumps" in the area by the patient, and you have the makings of a panic.
Imagine for a Moment that You are Looking Into the Anal Area Through an Anoscope
There is a circular line around the mucosa exactly where muscles attach to the outer anal sphincter called the "dentate" (or "pectinate") line. If hemorrhoids are usually above the dentate line, they are called "external," and if they are below the dentate line they are known as "internal." The external ones are more easily seen and felt, while a person may be unaware that they have internal hemorrhoids.
We Don't Know for Sure What Percentage of the Population Gets Hemorrhoids
In the us the number who found for medical care of hemorrhoids tend to be about 4%. In Great Britain, where they have Socialized Medicine, about 30% of patients present for treatment of this condition. Could in the usa that the sale of over-the-counter products for them goes into the billions of dollars.
People who have occupations that require prolonged sitting, for example like truck drivers, get hemorrhoids, as do people who do a lot of heavy lifting. Fighter aircraft pilots get hemorrhoids from gravity and also fighting against G-forces. Pregnant females get hemorrhoids, mentioned above previously, from pelvic congestion, but later from pushing the baby out during the latter part of labor. Probably the most common cause is straining at bowel movement secondary to chronic constipation.
What are the remedies for hemorrhoids? Well, believe it or not, increasing fiber in the diet is an excellent treatment for all symptoms.. Stool softeners never have been found to help that much. Soluble fiber decreases bleeding and irritative signs. Witch Hazel and glycerin astringent wipes can be very comforting in order to swollen hemorrhoids as well as can often relieve itching. Sometimes, warm sitz baths several times a day can help, as well as sitting on an inflatable "doughnut" cushioning (decreases direct pressure and pinching). If there is an acute clot in a hemorrhoidal vein, it may respond to intermittent ice packs. Occasionally, the E.R. or doctor can make a tiny cut in the hemorrhoid and let the clot out there, resulting in great relief as well as last healing.
What are the physician treatments of hemorrhoids? One of the most effective is the outpatient application of specific rubber bands to the hemorrhoids. A patient can have around three bands a week. Some medical doctors sclerose (inject that with irritant substance in order to cause it to shrink) the hemorrhoids by injecting them with 5% greasy phenol, but the results are not as good as with banding.. Some clinics use infrared coagulation, cryotherapy (freezing), or various forms of cautery with mixed results. Whenever hemorrhoids are too severe, either open or closed, hemorrhoidectomy is done in the operating room. The results are generally good, but the time to recovery may be prolonged. There have been some good operative results with simply tying from the hemorrhoidal artery.
So, what's the take-home message? Hemorrhoids are probably the most common cause of bright red anal bleeding, itching and pain, but this simply can not be assumed in every circumstance. The doctor is going to have to examine the anus. There are plenty of other things which could cause these symptoms. Please leave your distress in the waiting room and tell the doctor what's been going on. The one thing to consider when sitting in the waiting room is you're not alone, and the more open you are with your doctor the better help he/she can provide for you to getting better. If you are over 50 or have risk factors for colon cancer, you probably need anoscopy and colonoscopy. These are very benign tests in this day and age. Once all the more significant opportunities have been ruled out, then you can start a comprehensive program to treat and control hemorrhoids, and you will "live happily ever after."
John Drew Laurusonis M.D.
Doctors Medical Center.
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Hilton is a marketer at weddeldirect.com, a web site about health, lifestyle and fitness. Last year, Hilton worked as a consultant for a health company. When he's not researching content, Hilton enjoys backpacking and rock climbing.