Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus or rectum. They can be painful and embarrassing, especially during bowel movements. Many people suffer from them at some point in their lives.
Stress and anxiety can trigger hemorrhoids. These conditions can increase pressure inside the anal canal, causing blood vessels to swell. Hemorrhoids tend to get worse over time. If left untreated, they can become very painful and even bleed.
Anal fissures are cracks in the skin around the anus. They can occur due to irritation caused by constipation, diarrhea, or other causes. Anal fissures usually heal without treatment.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are also referred to as piles. Piles are clumps or masses of tissues with enlarged blood vessels in the anus.
They are swollen inflamed veins around the anus, hemorrhoids develop from too much pressure and strain on the veins around the anus.
Hemorrhoids can be painful and can worsen with straining. They may become severe when they swell, causing itching, pain, or bleeding.
Hemorrhoids or piles are a common condition and ailment, with occurrence in adults below the age of 40.
It is most common in men and women between 20-and 39 years of age. It can be triggered by a range of many factors, such as temperament, body habits, tight clothing, and others. However, its actual cause is unknown.
There are two categories of hemorrhoids, which are internal and external hemorrhoids.
Internal hemorrhoids involve the lower rectum, they form in the anus’s lining and rectum. They can include bleeding that shows during bowel movements.
Prolapse is also a type of internal hemorrhoid that involves fallen hemorrhoids in the anal opening.
External hemorrhoids. These form beneath the skin around the anus, they include itching and pain around the anus.
Types Of Hemorrhoids
There are 4 distinct types of hemorrhoids with different symptoms. Although these types may appear similar, they appear in different locations of the anus. These are:
Just like the name suggests, internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum, however, it can go unnoticed and resolve on their own. These hemorrhoids may cause discomfort in larger sizes. Symptoms include pain, itching, or burning.
These differ from the internal hemorrhoids, it occurs in the external parts of the anus as visible lumps.
External hemorrhoids do not resolve on their own and co-occur with uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, itching, and burning during activities, bowel movements, or while sitting.
This is a type of internal hemorrhoid that has developed into a protruding point from the anus.
Prolapse hemorrhoids may occur with or without symptoms. There are 4 classifications of internal hemorrhoids according to protruding points or prolapses.
Grade 1. This grade is without prolapse.
Grade 2. Involving prolapse that occurs under pressure or strain such as bowel movement, this usually returns to its normal position after the pressure is gone.
Grade 3. This is a type of prolapse that can be pushed back in.
Grade 4. Hemorrhoids with prolapse that are too painful to be pushed back in.
These are internal or external hemorrhoids that develop with blood clots.
They are more severe with intense symptoms like intense itching, burning, redness, pain, and swelling.
These need to be treated on time to prevent further damage.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hemorrhoids?
Dealing with hemorrhoids can be very frustrating. Some may occur unnoticed and resolve on its own, while some may not be so easy to treat.
Signs can range from discomfort to severe symptoms.
- Painful bowel movements
- Itching around the anus
- Pain that may occur during activities, while sitting, or during bowel movements
- Burning sensation
- Intense pain and itching
- Painful lumps that can occur as swelling near the anus
- Straining and/or pressure from bowel movement
- Pain and discomfort in the anal canal and rectum area
- Bleeding during bowel movement with blood on poop, toilet bowl, or paper
- Bulging tissues (prolapses) in the anal canal
- Redness or bluish tinge around the anus
- Irritation in the anus
- Anal canal sensitivity
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are mostly caused by strain or pressure on the veins around the anus and rectum.
Increased or constant straining of these veins can lead to the weakening of the supporting tissues and result in hemorrhoids. Scenarios or circumstances that can lead to pressure in the anal canal include:
- Anal intercourse
- Chronic or severe diarrhea or constipation
- Sitting for too long on the toilet
- Pressure from constant straining during bowel movements
- Diet low in fiber
- Occasional lifting of heavy weights or objects
- Weakening of rectum’s supporting tissues
Portal hypertension is the most categorized type of hypertension that causes hemorrhoids. This is because of the connection between the portal vein and vena cava.
Excess weight, poor muscle tone and poor pressure from obesity can cause too much pressure on and/or construction of your veins and blood vessels
Hemorrhoids can sometimes occur during pregnancy due to hypertonia and increased strain during bowel movements
Risk Factors For Hemorrhoids
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of experiencing hemorrhoids. This condition, though more common in younger adults, can also happen in older adults between 45 and 65 years of age since they are also at a greater risk of having hemorrhoids due to the age factor. Risk factors include:
Hemorrhoids are sometimes likely to occur in people with weakened supporting tissues or a family history of hemorrhoids
The older you get, the higher the chances of your body weakening at a faster rate, weakened or poor pelvic floor muscles can also contribute to causes of hemorrhoids.
Lifestyle risk factors
Unhealthy habits like a poor fiber diet, tight clothing, dehydration can lead to constipation or diarrhea that triggers hemorrhoids.
Not taking enough water can dehydrate your skin and your body and cause constipation.
This may arise from anal intercourse and increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids
Tendency to be constipated
There are some individuals who experience constipation more frequently than others, these people are more likely to have a higher chance of developing hemorrhoids than others.
How Are Stress And Anxiety Associated With Hemorrhoids?
Stress and anxiety are factors that can affect you physically and emotionally.
Feelings such as apprehensiveness, uncertainty, and nervousness linked to stress and anxiety can restrict your body’s functionality.
When this happens, it has negative effects on your body and digestive problems, straining, constipation, and diarrhea.
When stressed, you have a harder time controlling your bowel movement since there may be an increase or decrease in movement caused by tension.
Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Hemorrhoids?
Stress and anxiety can very much cause hemorrhoids.
Digestive problems triggered by stress can cause hemorrhoids if left untreated or aggravated by lifestyle choices or habits.
Chronic constipation can put strain and pressure on your anal canal and rectum and lead to hemorrhoids.
Some lifestyle habits that are not necessarily a cause of alarm in minimal levels can be exacerbated during stress and anxiety-induced situations can also disrupt your metabolism and cause hemorrhoids.
Poor eating habits, not being hydrated enough, lack of regular activity or exercise may be worsened by stress and anxiety and have debilitating effects including hemorrhoids.
How To Get Relief From Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are treatable, however, a diagnosis is essential to determine the severity of your hemorrhoids and the treatment best suitable for you.
During the diagnosis, your doctor notes your previous medical records, onset, and severity of your hemorrhoids, it may also require checking of the hemorrhoid area.
Treatment for hemorrhoids usually varies from home remedies to medical procedures, depending on your condition.
Medical procedure involves cutting off the blood supply in the hemorrhoids to shrink them, which is done through scar tissues in the hemorrhoids.
Severe cases of hemorrhoids are treated through surgery.
Prevention Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are preventable with:
- Stay hydrated. Drink enough fluids, especially water daily. This does more good than you think as it rejuvenates your skin, body, and health.
- Stop spending long hours in the toilet. Sitting for so long in the toilet is one of the causes of hemorrhoids, reducing the time you spend there can help prevent straining.
- Reduce or discard constant straining during bowel movements
- Increase intake of fiber with fiber supplements or eat foods rich in fiber
- Use stool softeners in cases of hard stool. If you have difficulty with bowel movements, take soft foods, enough water and medications that help soften stool.
- Practice stress and anxiety management techniques such as mindfulness, and yoga.
- Exercise regularly to help boost your body’s metabolism
- Take a break from time to time to relax
- Regular sleep patterns. Go to bed at a set time, turn off everything that distracts you from sleeping early, and use activities like reading, listening to music, or watching a movie to calm your mind.
Hemorrhoids can cause stress and anxiety. It can be embarrassing having to deal with bloating and constipation, soiled underwear from diarrhea, and pain in the anus.
This condition can become very severe and affect your daily routines and lifestyle.
Treat piles as soon as you feel their onset. Speak to your doctor if you still experience pain and lumps after treatment.
Reduce stress and anxiety levels to avoid triggering medical conditions or aggravating underlying conditions.
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