Hemorrhoids can be simply defined as swollen and inflamed blood vessels in and around the anus and lower rectum. By the age of fifty, nearly half of all adults will have experienced some degree of discomfort caused by hemorrhoids, and problems seem to peak between the ages of forty-five and sixty five.
Since the anal canal has a rich network of arteries, hemorrhoids have an abundant supply of arterial blood. This is the reason that bleeding from hemorrhoids is bright red rather than the dark red of venous blood.
There are several theories regarding what causes hemorrhoids. The most commonly cited causes of hemorrhoids are straining during bowels movements, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, and chronic constipation or diarrhea.
Other causes include pregnancy, obesity, and frequent anal intercourse. On-going research into what causes hemorrhoids has recently suggested that the underlying muscle around the anal canal losses strength with age, and this allows the hemorrhoidal tissue to sag down.
Another, rarer cause of hemorrhoids is a tumor in the anal or pelvic cavities. If the tumor presses the blood vessels in the anal, the vessels may enlarge resulting hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids can be scaled into four levels according to their severity. If you have first degree hemorrhoids they may cause bleeding but don’t come out from the anus. Second degree hemorrhoids do come out from the anus but they will disappear on their own.
Third degree hemorrhoids prolapse and will not retract on their own. Fourth degree hemorrhoids constantly bulge from the anus. These cannot be pushed back inside, and are the most susceptible to complications.
Fourth degree hemorrhoid may become incarcerated. This means that it squeezes the anal sphincter so that the blood flow is prevented. Because of this the tissue affected will die. In very serious cases, where blooding is extremely intense, hemorrhoids can also lead to anemia.
You can use many natural hemorrhoids home remedies to deal with the problem. In order to prevent hemorrhoids, a diet high in fiber is recommended along with plenty of fluids to keep the stool soft. Long periods of uninterrupted sitting should be avoided and regular exercise is encouraged to help prevent constipation.
If hemorrhoid symptoms are mild with minimal pain and swelling, they can often be treated at home. A sitz bath of ten minutes two or three times a day is often beneficial. Topical creams or suppositories help with swelling, itching and pain.
Ice packs are also used to relieve swelling, and over-the-counter pain relievers will usually relieve any discomfort. If symptoms worsen, or are accompanied by severe pain or persistent bleeding, a doctor should be consulted.