Internal and External Hemorrhoids- Signs, Causes, and Treatment Options

Hemorrhoids, also known as piles are swollen veins found around the lower rectum or the anus. These can either be internal or external. While internal hemorrhoids occur within the rectum or anus, external hemorrhoids develop outside and are also called piles. Out of these, external hemorrhoids are the most problematic and the most common. Although hemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain, the good news is that they can be treated.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

· Fecal leakage.

· Pain and irritation around the anus.

· Too much itching around the anus and seeing of blood after having a bowel movement

· A painful bowel passage.

· A painful or an itchy swelling or lump around the anus.

External hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids normally develop when the rectum or anal veins become enlarged or dilated. Depending on where your hemorrhoids develop, they can be termed as either internal or external. External hemorrhoids are found beneath the skin that surrounds the rectum or anus. Although there are many symptoms that can manifest themselves on someone suffering from hemorrhoids, these normally vary depending on the seriousness of hemorrhoids. Some of the common symptoms of external hemorrhoids include blood in the stool, itching around the anal area, swelling around the anus, and pain around the rectum.

Causes of external hemorrhoids

There are many different things that can cause hemorrhoids with the main one being repeating strain while passing stool. This kind of straining often blocks the blood flow in and out of the area resulting in enlargement of the vessels and the pooling of blood. This means serious cases of diarrhea and constipation can lead to hemorrhoids. Also, due to the pressure that the uterus exerts on the veins, pregnant women can be at an increased risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Internal hemorrhoids

These kinds of hemorrhoids are normally found far inside the anus or rectum. This means you cannot see or feel them. Since the rectum has a few pain-sensing nerves, these kinds of hemorrhoids are painless. In fact, bleeding may be the only sign that you can see. At times, internal hemorrhoids may enlarge and protrude outside the anus so that they can easily be seen. Since the anus has a lot of pain-sensing nerves, protruded or prolapsed hemorrhoids may be painful. After sometime, they usually go back to the rectum. However, if they do not go back to the rectum they can gently be pushed back.

How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?

To diagnose hemorrhoids, a visual examination of your anus may be enough. To confirm whether you have hemorrhoids or not, the doctor may also carry out a different examination to check any abnormalities within the anus. This is called digital rectal exam. During this process, the doctor puts on gloves and inserts a lubricated finger inside your anus or rectum to see if he can feel anything. If he feels anything unusual, he can order a different test known as sigmoidoscopy. This normally involves using a camera to confirm whether you are suffering from internal hemorrhoids. From this test, he can get a clear view to confirm whether you are suffering from internal hemorrhoid or not.

Treatment options

Treatment of hemorrhoids can be done at home or in the doctor’s office

· Pain relief – to reduce the pain, you can soak in a warm tub of water for ten minutes daily. However, if the pain is too much, you can use an over the counter cream to relieve the burning or itching.

· Dietary fibre- you may also increase your dietary fiber intake to prevent the chances of developing hemorrhoids in future.

· Medical procedures- if home remedies are not helping, your doctor may recommend rubber band litigation. This involves cutting off the circulation by placing a rubber band around it. He may also inject a chemical directly into your blood vessels to reduce the size of hemorrhoids.