Hemorrhoids are not uncommon and are generally benign in nature, and those in hemorrhoids very rarely cause serious health risks and are usually treatable as an outpatient procedure. Although some cases of internal hemorrhoid growth require surgery, there are several types of treatments available to correct any condition where a hemorrhoidal blood clot has occurred. Recovery from this type of surgery is usually free from any serious complications.
Types of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can form internally or externally. External hemorrhoids occur below the anorectal line, where the lining of the rectum changes to a mucous-type membrane that lines the anal region. Blood flow in the veins in the connective (coetaneous) tissue between the anus and rectum can become disrupted, causing the growth of hemorrhoids. A blood clot (thrombosis) can develop as well, causing a protrusion. Internal hemorrhoids occur above the line between the anus and the rectum. These may enlarge and prolapse, descending below the anal sphincter.
Hemorrhoids are most often caused by excessive pressure in the anorectal veins. This pressure can be due to frequent heavy lifting, pregnancy, regular extended periods of sitting or chronic straining during bowel movements, which is often caused by constipation. In some cases, increased blood pressure in the portal vein (the vein that runs between the digestive organs and the liver) can cause the growth of hemorrhoids. Any of these conditions can contribute to the development of a blood clot (thrombosed hemorrhoid).
Many people may have hemorrhoids and not show symptoms. According to the National Library of Medicine, the general symptoms of internal hemorrhoids are bright red blood within the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet after a bowel movement. They may protrude through the anus and become painful and irritated. External hemorrhoids are marked by a hard lump or painful swelling in the anal area that can develop into a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Extensive rubbing and cleaning in the area can induce itching or bleeding, which can lead to hemorrhoid growth. However, general itchiness is not necessarily a sign of hemorrhoids.
In general, hemorrhoid growth can be avoided by reducing starches and increasing the intake of water and foods that are high in fiber content. Stool softeners and laxatives containing psyllium are helpful in reducing strained bowel movements. Soaking the anal region regularly in warm water, such as in a sitz bath, will also relieve the symptoms. More serious hemorrhoid growths, especially thrombosed hemorrhoids, may be removed by ligation, where a rubber band is placed around the hemorrhoid, causing it to wither away and fall off. Lasers, infrared light and electrical current can also be used to destroy hemorrhoids. Surgery may be required in certain cases.
According to Merck Manuals Medical Online Library, swollen or protruded hemorrhoids can be easily detected in a physical exam. In other cases, an anoscope or a sigmoidoscope may be used to examine the internal areas of the anus, rectum and large intestine. A colonoscopy may be required in some cases as well. These types of internal examinations are helpful in determining the severity of the hemorrhoid growth, as well as detecting any signs of hemorrhoid blood clots.