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Do Hemorrhoids Go Away on Their Own?

Some hemorrhoids go away on their own within a few days, but others may require medical treatment.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are inflamed or swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids can be aggravated by:

  • Straining during bowel movement
  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Constipation
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • Poor diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Infection of the rectum

The two types of hemorrhoids are external and internal. External hemorrhoids are located under the skin of the anus and cause itching, pain, and (in some instances) bleeding. Internal hemorrhoids are found inside the anus and eventually pass through and become external hemorrhoids.

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How Long Do Hemorrhoids Last?

There isn’t a clear answer to this question. Some patients feel better within a few weeks, while others may need surgery.

Small internal or external hemorrhoids may heal within a week, while larger internal hemorrhoids may last a few months.

Patients experiencing hemorrhoids for the first time may recover faster than patients with recurrent hemorrhoids.

At-Home Treatment For Hemorrhoids

Some patients have recurring hemorrhoids due to weakened supporting tissue in the rectum and anus. To help manage hemorrhoids, patients should:

  • Eat high-fiber foods, such as green vegetables and fruits
  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid coffee and alcoholic beverages
  • Take a fiber supplement or gentle stool softener
  • Take warm bath with Epsom salt or sit in a tub with a few inches of warm water at least three times a day for 20 minutes
  • Apply over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams
  • Stay active and exercise regularly to improve blood circulation and prevent constipation

Patients should avoid straining during a bowel movement, as this can make hemorrhoids worse.

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Medical Treatment For Hemorrhoids

Patients may need medical attention if one week of at-home remedies fail to provide relief. Rectal bleeding is another sign that patients need medical attention. Patients experiencing severe pain, bleeding, fever, and abdominal pain should seek medical care immediately.

During a medical appointment, the physician will rule out other potential causes of bleeding, such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and cancer. The physician will perform a visual exam for external hemorrhoids, but internal hemorrhoids will be evaluated using a digital rectal exam or anoscopy.

Patients may be advised to use over-the-counter creams or ointments. Severe hemorrhoids should be treated with creams that contain hydrocortisone and witch hazel.

To remove a blood clot in an external hemorrhoid, the physician may use rubber band ligation. This involves placing rubber bands around the base of the internal hemorrhoids to cut off blood supply and force the hemorrhoid to wither.

Sclerotherapy is another minimally invasive procedure that involves injecting the hemorrhoid tissue with a chemical solution that forces the tissue to shrink.

Depending on the severity of the hemorrhoid, the physician may need to cut off the blood supply and/or cause scar tissue to form, helping to shrink the hemorrhoid. In other instances, patients may need a hemorrhoidectomy to remove large external hemorrhoids and prolapsing internal hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoid stapling is another surgical procedure done to block blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissue.

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How Common Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are swollen, enlarged veins inside the rectum or located outside the rectum around the anus. They are very similar in nature to the varicose veins that often develop on the lower limbs. They are very common and an estimated 75% of adults will develop one or more hemorrhoids at various times throughout life.

Causes

Many cases of hemorrhoids are related to eating a low-fiber diet. The stools produced from a low-fiber diet tend to cause constipation and the need to strain to pass them, which can lead to the development of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids also frequently develop during pregnancy, presumably due to the extra pressure placed on the abdomen by the growing fetus. Some cases of hemorrhoids appear to be related to spending long periods of time sitting on toilets while reading, and they are also not uncommon in bodybuilders who regularly lift very heavy weights. However, in some cases, there is no apparent cause.

Symptoms

External hemorrhoids tend to itch and sometimes can be painful. They may also bleed. Internal hemorrhoids tend to bleed and sometimes one will protrude into the anal opening, causing irritation and pain. If a hemorrhoid bleeds and the blood cannot find an escape route from the hemorrhoid, it will clot and form a hard lump, which may be very painful.

Treatment

You should never assume the blood you observe in the toilet, in your underwear, or in your stool is coming from a hemorrhoid because rectal bleeding can be a symptom of very serious life-threatening diseases. Always consult a doctor for confirmation that your bleeding is indeed coming from hemorrhoids.

Minor cases of hemorrhoids can be treated at home. Over the counter creams can be used to soothe any itching and irritation, but the real treatment revolves around increasing your fiber intake. Most nutritionists recommend eating at least five servings of vegetables every day, which should supply sufficient fiber. However, if you have difficulty in following this advice, whole-grain products, beans, and fiber supplements are other options.

If your hemorrhoids are painful or bleeding a lot, doctors have developed several minimally invasive methods to remove them, including:

  • Rubber band ligation
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Heat coagulation using a laser
  • Surgical removal
  • Stapling

The best approach varies depending on individual patient factors and the size and number of hemorrhoids and needs to be selected after discussing all of the pros and cons with your doctor.

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All About Hemorrhoidectomy Recovery

Surgical procedures will always come with a relatively lengthy recovery time that requires you to follow strict guidelines if you want to heal as quickly as possible. The same is true for a hemorrhoidectomy. If you want the treatment to be 100 percent successful, it’s important that your recovery process is a smooth and efficient one.

What Is a Hemorrhoidectomy?

If you’ve been diagnosed with hemorrhoids and find that over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes aren’t enough to get rid of them, it might be necessary for you to obtain a hemorrhoidectomy. This is a type of surgical procedure that’s aimed at removing the hemorrhoids altogether. The surgeon who administers this treatment will place several small incisions around the anus, through which the hemorrhoids will be removed.

You can either be provided with general anesthesia or local anesthesia, the former of which puts you to sleep. Once the hemorrhoids have been removed, the incisions will be closed with stitches. Even though this surgery is considered to be a moderately invasive surgery, you will likely be able to go home on the same day of the treatment.

What the Recovery Process Entails

After the hemorrhoidectomy has been completed, you will begin the recovery process, which is invariably going to be at its worst on the first day. You should expect to go through pains and aches around the incision site for anywhere from 2-4 weeks. This pain can be very uncomfortable because of its location, which is why you might want to consider using pain relievers to aid your recovery. Some light bleeding will likely occur from the anus as well, which is entirely normal and can last for upwards of two months. This bleeding will take place with your bowel movements.

After a couple of weeks have passed, you should be able to return to your everyday activities without much issues. However, you want to avoid doing certain activities that will place too much stress on the body, which include straining during bowel movements and lifting heavy items. Make sure that you add fiber to your diet throughout this process, which ensures that your bowel movements are much easier.

Another great way to avoid straining and constipation is by drinking water consistently as you recover. While you’re at home, make sure that you rest whenever you feel tired. You should prepare to take two weeks off of work while the recovery process is ongoing. As long as you follow these guidelines, you shouldn’t experience any problems while recovering from a hemorrhoidectomy.

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Factors That Could Be Increasing Your Risk of Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are among the more painful conditions that can occur when certain veins within the anus or rectum become swollen and inflamed. Along with a high amount of discomfort, you’ll likely experience bleeding until the hemorrhoids have been treated, which can be frustrating to deal with. If you want to avoid experiencing these issues in the first place, understanding the risk factors that are associated with hemorrhoids should help you substantially lower your risk of developing them.

What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are a common health issue that leads to the development of inflamed and swollen veins in some area of the anus or rectum. These veins can either be internal or external, the location of which determines what treatment you’ll be provided with. The symptoms that you experience when suffering from hemorrhoids depend on where the hemorrhoids are located. In some areas, the presence of hemorrhoids can bring about constant pain, discomfort, bleeding, and itchiness until the hemorrhoids are cleared up. These symptoms may worsen during bowel movements. The main types of treatment for hemorrhoids include lifestyle changes and procedures like sclerotherapy.

Standard Risk Factors

The main causes and risk factors associated with hemorrhoids include everything from chronic constipation and diarrhea to sitting for a long time on the toilet. Since hemorrhoids develop in nearly 75 percent of people at some point in their lives, the causes of hemorrhoids are too numerous to list. These swollen veins can also develop if you strain too much during bowel movements. When blood pressure rises in the blood vessels within the anus or rectum, the vessels can slip into an incorrect position, which causes irritation and swelling.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Even though the bowel movements are the most common cause of hemorrhoids, there are an array of lifestyle factors that heighten your chance of suffering from one or more hemorrhoids. For instance, it’s important that you remain hydrated if you wish to avoid hemorrhoids. Becoming dehydrated or not consuming enough water throughout the day can lead to the development of constipation, which can cause hemorrhoids to develop. A diet that’s low in fiber will also put you at a greater risk since these diets increase the risk of constipation. Instead, fill your diet with foods that are rich in fiber, which include beans, pears, broccoli, almonds, bananas, oranges, and brown rice. You should also exercise regularly to increase muscle tone in the anorectal muscles, which lessens your risk of hemorrhoids.

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Preventing Hemorrhoids During Your Pregnancy

While there are many wonderful things about a pregnancy, there are a few unpleasant things you may have heard about, such as hemorrhoids. It’s usually hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy that affect the digestive system and contribute to constipation. Extra weight from a growing baby can also place pressure on veins. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize issues with hemorrhoids as your pregnancy continues.

Drink More Water

Hydration is important during pregnancy for many reasons. When it comes to hemorrhoid prevention, H2O promotes softer stools and helps reduce excessive straining during bowel movements. Generally, you’ll want to consume about 8-10 glasses of water per day throughout your pregnancy.

Do Kegel Exercises Daily

Your risk of pregnancy-related hemorrhoids may be reduced by doing kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. These exercises boost circulation in the anal/rectal area and the space between the anus and vulva (perineum). Performed on empty bladder, kegels involve squeezing and contracting pelvic muscles without pulling your stomach in.

Don’t Ignore the Urge to ‘Go’

With bowel movements, don’t fight the urge to go. Holding back can make it more difficult to go, which could result in increased strain in the rectal/anal area. Instead, get into the habit of going as soon as you feel the urge to do so. One way to avoid straining is to place your feet on a stool when you go. Also, relax and don’t push during bowel movements.

Avoid Sitting/Standing for Long Periods of Time

Staying in one position, whether it’s sitting or standing, for too long while pregnant can contribute to hemorrhoid problems. If you normally sit for work, make an effort to take periodic breaks during your pregnancy to get up and walk around. Conversely, if you’re normally on your feet a lot, do some simple stretches to keep your blood flow going and sit now and then to give yourself a break.

Exercise, other than kegels, can also help you avoid distracting issues with hemorrhoids during your pregnancy. You’ll want to avoid anything too strenuous and check with your doctor before you start any exercise routine, especially during later stages of pregnancy. However, most pregnant women are able to safely do about 30 minutes of low-impact exercises daily. Walking, yoga, and water-based activities like swimming are types of exercises that can contribute to healthy bowel movements.

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