Hemorrhoids are mainly caused by dilations of blood vessels that line the anal area. When force is exerted around the anus, such as with strenuous defecation, it increases the pressure of the rectal walls that cause the rectal veins and its surrounding tissues to bulge. This results in the formation of protrusions within the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or around the margins of the anus (external hemorrhoids). Hemorrhoids mostly affect adult individuals and are usually not life-threatening. Some of its causes include pregnancy, childbirth, constipation, severe diarrhea, anal intercourse, or obesity. Below are the symptoms that will help in diagnosing the presence of hemorrhoids.
Try to palpate for an existing soft or hard lump around the anal area. A palpable sac-like protrusion may be present on the area of your anal canal if you have a prolapsed hemorrhoid or an external hemorrhoid. Prolapsed hemorrhoid is soft and can easily be pushed back by your fingers inside the rectum--this alone can help solve the problem and prevents it from becoming worse. But in the case of an external hemorrhoid, the lump appears to be hard and more tender--so in this case, you can't just simply push it back in the rectum and make it better. Medical attention is highly advisable especially when external hemorrhoid is painful and inflamed.
Keep an eye for signs of painless rectal bleeding. This is a common sign of an internal hemorrhoid and can also be seen in external hemorrhoid cases. Your stool may appear blood-streaked, and you may also find visible traces of blood on your underwear, on the toilet tissue, or on the water of the toilet bowl after defecating.
Notice if you ever experience itchiness. This symptom is often associated with prolapsed hemorrhoids. When pressure is applied in the anal area, it may push the internal hemorrhoid through the anal opening resulting to a prolapsed hemorrhoid. This rectal lining that's been pulled down on the anal surface secretes mucus and moistens the surrounding skin of the anus. And with constant moisture, added with the passing of stools, will lead to rectal itchiness also known as pruritus ani.
Take note of any irritations on your skin. A bulging hemorrhoid contributes to an increase in moisture around the anal area that can lead to itchiness--this may cause irritation of the surrounding skin, especially when friction is applied from scratching the surface. So try not to scratch too much to prevent further complications.
Monitor any discomfort right after you defecate. With hemorrhoids, it is but typical to still feel the urge to defecate even if you don't really need to. Such uncomfortable feeling remains even after bowel movement and is more worse on larger or inflamed hemorrhoids.
Observe how often you feel pain. For internal hemorrhoid cases, pain is not really a problem unless it is overly swollen and is pushed out of the anus (prolapsed hemorrhoid). With the a bulge of soft tissue lying in between the anal canal, it can easily become swollen as friction is applied along its delicate surface when it is squeezed by the muscles that controls the anus. This may lead to pain that may becomes more severe specially when strangulated hemorrhoid occurs--a case where blood supply to the hemorrhoid is cut off. Immediate medical treatment may be needed to alleviate the condition.For external hemorrhoids, pain is mainly a part of it. As a hard lump is formed around the margins of the anus, blood from the skin is pulled down into the protruded tissue leading to clot or thrombus formation--and added with friction around the lining of the anus, the surface of a thrombosed external hemorrhoid becomes swollen or inflamed, causing severe pain. Immediate medical attention is also needed with this type of case.
Tips & Warnings
- Even if most hemorrhoid cases are easily treated, it is advisable to still contact your doctor if you happen to experience any of the hemorrhoid symptoms.
- Eat high-fiber foods and drink a lot of water--these are simple ways of preventing hemorrhoids from taking place.
- When you feel the urge to defecate, go ahead and do it. Don't let the moment pass--because if your urge disappears, your stool can become dry and is hard to expel. And when it is hard to expel, you may apply more force to do it. Straining will only impose a lot of pressure on the vessels and tissues of the rectum that may lead to formation of hemorrhoids.
- Exercise daily. Working out such as walking or jogging will help stimulate your system into having a regular bowel movement--which is beneficial in preventing development of hemorrhoids.
- Photo Credit Creative Commons License, by: gpt_shrt, copyright: July 2008
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