Swollen veins in the rectum or anus are known as piles or hemorrhoids. They can result from a variety of reasons but mostly due to unhealthy eating habits or sedentary lifestyles. These can be very painful and cause too much discomfort.
Sometimes they can disappear in a few days without any treatment but in some people, they can stay for a very long period of time and become a regular headache for them.
So, Can you get rid of hemorrhoids forever? Hemorrhoids are not usually a serious condition. However, they can be bothersome as they can affect your daily lifestyle.
There is no set time for hemorrhoids to go away. Small hemorrhoids can go away in a few days’ time but bigger external hemorrhoids might need the use of over-the-counter medications, ointments, or surgical treatment.
What are the reasons for hemorrhoids:
- Low fiber diet: Fiber plays an important role in clearing your gut and reducing pressure on the digestive system as it adds bulk to the stool and draws more water into the intestine due to which stool gets pushed out easily and you don’t have to exert extra pressure.
- Red meat: Research studies have been showing a relation between cancer and red meat consumption. It also contains very less fiber and high sodium both of which are bad for hemorrhoids.
- Deep-fried and processed food: They contain very less fiber and a high amount of sodium. Also, the food companies add various kinds of preservatives and additives which are known to cause various types of cancer in humans.
- High sodium food: High sodium can disrupt the electrolyte balance in the body and also becomes a reason for cardiovascular disease. The body pulls water out of the cells making you dehydrated if you have high sodium in your blood which can exert pressure on your veins including hemorrhoid veins.
- Obesity: Obese people suffer mostly from hemorrhoids as excess body weight puts pressure on the blood vessels and constricts blood flow including veins of the anus and rectum.
- Chronic constipation: people suffering from chronic constipation exert more pressure while pooping which puts nerves in the anus and rectum under extra pressure due to which these nerves swell up and cause pain.
- Pregnancy: Hemorrhoids and constipation are very normal as there is too much pressure on the pelvis region. Applying an ice pack to the affected region and soaking the affected area in warm water several times a day can help greatly.
- Laxatives: Although laxatives are recommended to get relief from constipation and prevent hemorrhoids, their overuse can cause just the opposite effects as their overuse can weaken colon muscles which can impact their contraction power.
- Anal intercourse: Although anal intercourse does not cause new hemorrhoids, it can cause irritation to the existing hemorrhoids causing pain and discomfort.
What are the treatment options?
Usually, hemorrhoids get cured by correcting your diet, taking a sitz bath several times, and taking the proper amount of rest.
Over-the-counter medications such as 1 % hydrocortisone cream; fiber supplements such as Benefiber, Metamucil, Fibercon, Citrucel; stool softeners such as Docusate or Colace can also help in the treatment of hemorrhoids.
If the hemorrhoids are large and painful then the following treatment options are available:
- Cauterization: Treating the hemorrhoids tissues using a hot or cold instrument, an electric current, or using a chemical. This treatment involves making a small cut and sealing off the wound and this is mostly used for prolapsed hemorrhoids.
- Sclerotherapy: It involves injecting the affected area with a chemical such as zinc chloride, quinine, or polidocanol with the intent of damaging the blood vessels that are circulating the blood to the hemorrhoids. This treatment is often used for internal hemorrhoids.
- Rubber band ligation: The procedure involves tying a rubber band on the base of hemorrhoid. This way the blood supply is cut off to the hemorrhoidal mass.
- Stapled hemorrhoidopexy: This procedure involves surgical removal of the internal hemorrhoids. It is an outpatient treatment option with the minimum invasive treatment procedure. A device is inserted inside the anus to cut off the internal hemorrhoids, the patient recovers from the surgery in about two weeks times.
The most important thing that you should do is to bring changes to your daily habits if you want to prevent hemorrhoids from coming back or occurring in the first place if you don’t have them already.
Eat a high fiber diet: Fiber adds bulk to the stool and draws water into the intestines which is good for smooth motion of the stool out of the intestines. Besides being great for the gut fiber also help you fight cardiovascular diseases.
Exercise regularly: You must not lead a sedentary lifestyle. Get out of bed and be active. Start with light workout sessions or brisk walks every day. You can also do kegel exercises to strengthen your hip muscles for better contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
Yoga: Start your day with yoga asanas, there are many yoga asanas that you can do to prevent piles or hemorrhoids. Some of them are Viparita Karani, Malasana, Balasana, Pavanamuktasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyendrasana. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Hygiene: Taking a regular bath, washing and wiping the anal area properly after taking a dump, changing underwear timely, and washing them properly.
Bowel movements: You should never delay bowel movements and visit the toilet whenever you feel the urge. If you delay the bowel movements then you might not feel the urge later and the stool will become drier and harder with time in the intestines.
How do I know if I have hemorrhoids?
As we age it is common to have hemorrhoids at some point in life because our muscles become weaker and they are not able to contract and relax at the same rate as they used to. However, this is not the only reason for hemorrhoids as they can occur in younger people too because of bad eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. ‘
They are common and go away with home treatment usually but sometimes they can stay and cause pain and discomfort for a very long time. Now how do you differentiate whether you have hemorrhoids or any other condition?
The common symptoms of hemorrhoids are as follows:
- pain and discomfort
- painful bowel movements
- swelling in the anal region
- lumps in and around the anus
However, there are other diseases that can cause similar symptoms too such as:
Colon or rectal cancer: Cancer starts developing in the rectum or lower part of the large intestine. Common symptoms include blood in the stool, painful bowel movements, changes in stool consistency.
Inflammatory bowel disease: It is a term used for two conditions that are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease involves inflammation of any part of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) that is from the mouth to the anus and Ulcerative colitis involves inflammation of the large intestine and rectum. Long-term inflammation in both conditions can cause damage to the GI tract. Symptoms involve diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody stool, weight loss.
Anal fissures: anal fissures are tiny tears in the anal region when passing hard or large stool. Symptoms are bloody stool and painful bowel movements. Patients normally recover in about four or five weeks by drinking more water and eating more fiber. People also use stool softeners, dietary fiber, and ointments to treat the condition faster.
Genital Warts: These are small bumps on the anal region or genitals. They are sexually transmitted diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can be surgically removed or treated with prescribed medicines.
Itchy anus or pruritus ani: This condition is caused by poor hygiene. The itching in the anal region increases after a bowel movement or at night. This condition can be treated by following healthy hygiene.
You should visit a doctor if the symptoms persist even after following home treatment for hemorrhoids. As it can be something other than hemorrhoids.
Heavy rectal bleeding along with fever, bowel inconsistency, pain, and discomfort is a clear indication that it’s time to visit a doctor and not treat the problem yourself anymore.
Hemorrhoids are normal in most people due to various reasons. They can be treated easily most of the time by home remedies such as drinking enough water, eating more fiber, or through medications. They usually last for two or three weeks and go away after the use of home remedies.
However, if the symptoms persist even after following home remedies then visit your doctor immediately.