Hemorrhoids

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Hemorrhoids also called piles, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. Hemorrhoids can develop inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids).

Nearly three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids from time to time. Hemorrhoids have a number of causes, but often the cause is unknown.

Although hemorrhoids can be unpleasant and painful, they are easily treated and very preventable. As hemorrhoids generally get worse over time, doctors suggest that they should be treated as soon as they appear.

Enlargement of the veins around the anus causes hemorrhoids.

They can occur for the following reasons:

  • Pregnancy: They occur more commonly in pregnant women because, as the uterus enlarges, it presses on the vein in the colon, causing it to bulge.
  • Aging: Hemorrhoids are most common among adults aged 45 to 65 years. This does not mean, however, that young people and children do not get them.
  • Diarrhea: Hemorrhoids can occur after cases of chronic diarrhea.
  • Chronic constipation: Straining to move stool puts additional pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.
  • Sitting for too long: Staying in a seated position for long periods of time can cause hemorrhoids, especially on the toilet.
  • Heavy lifting: Repeatedly lifting heavy objects can lead to hemorrhoids.
  • Anal intercourse: This can cause new hemorrhoids or worsen existing ones.
  • Obesity: Diet-related obesity can cause hemorrhoids.
  • Genetics: Some people inherit a tendency to develop hemorrhoids.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hemorrhoids usually depend on the type of hemorrhoid.

External hemorrhoids

These are under the skin around your anus. Signs and symptoms might include:

  • Itching or irritation in your anal region
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Swelling around your anus
  • Bleeding

Internal hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids lie inside the rectum. You usually can't see or feel them, and they rarely cause discomfort. But straining or irritation when passing stool can cause:

  • Painless bleeding during bowel movements. You might notice small amounts of bright red blood on your toilet tissue or in the toilet.
  • A hemorrhoid to push through the anal opening (prolapsed or protruding hemorrhoid), resulting in pain and irritation.

Thrombosed hemorrhoids

If blood pools in an external hemorrhoid and forms a clot (thrombus), it can result in:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation
  • A hard lump near your anus

When to see a doctor

If you have bleeding during bowel movements or you have hemorrhoids that don't improve after a week of home care, talk to your doctor.

Don't assume rectal bleeding is due to hemorrhoids, especially if you have changes in bowel habits or if your stools change in color or consistency. Rectal bleeding can occur with other diseases, including colorectal cancer and anal cancer.

Seek emergency care if you have large amounts of rectal bleeding, lightheadedness, dizziness or faintness.

Risk factors

As you age, your risk of hemorrhoids increases. That's because the tissues that support the veins in your rectum and anus can weaken and stretch. This can also happen when you're pregnant, because the baby's weight puts pressure on the anal region.

Complications

Complications of hemorrhoids are rare but include:

  • Anemia. Rarely, chronic blood loss from hemorrhoids may cause anemia, in which you don't have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your cells.
  • Strangulated hemorrhoid. If the blood supply to an internal hemorrhoid is cut off, the hemorrhoid may be "strangulated," which can cause extreme pain.
  • Blood clot. Occasionally, a clot can form in a hemorrhoid (thrombosed hemorrhoid). Although not dangerous, it can be extremely painful and sometimes needs to be lanced and drained.
Herbal remedies that help with hemorrhoids
 
Bladderwrack Horse chestnut  
30 capsules
$11.00
Bladderwrack  
30 capsules
$11.00
Horse
chestnut
 
 
 
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*Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera)
*Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
*Brahmi
(Bacopa monnieri)
*Burdock
(Arctium lappa)
*Black Cohosh
(Cimicifuga racemosa)
*Bladderwrack
(Focus vesiculosus)
*Celery seeds
(Apium graviolens)
*Chanca piedra
(Phyllanthus niruri)
*Ceylon cinnamon
(Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
*Cat's claw
(Uncaria tomentosa)
*Dandelion root
(Taraxacum officinale)
*Fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum graecum)
*Ginkgo biloba
(Ginkgo biloba)
*Horse chestnut
(Aesculus hippocastanum)
*Hawthorn berry
(Crateagus oxicanthus)
*Horny goat weed
(Epimedium sagittatum)
*Juniper berry
(Juniperus communis)
*Milk thistle
(Sylibum marianum)
*Maca
(Lepidium meyenii)
*Red clover
(Trifolium pratense)
*American Skullcap
(Scutellaria lateriflora)
*Saw palmetto
(Serenoa repens/serrulata)
*Stinging nettle
(Urtica dioica)
*St John's wort
(Hypericum perforatum)
*Sarsaparrilla
(Smilax aristolochiifolia)
*Schizandra berry
(Schisandra chinensis)
*Vitex
(Agnus castus)
*Valerian root
(Valeriana officinalis)
*White willow
(Salix alba)
*Yarrow
(Achillea millefolium)
*Lion's mane
(Hericium erinaceous
)
*Shiitake
(Lentinula edodes
)