Hemorrhoids are considered to be normal tissues which contain blood vessels and they contribute to the retaining of the stool and the process of defecation. Pathological hemorrhoids are caused by the relaxation of the normal hemorrhoidal tissues, which results in a prolapse out of the anus, swelling and of course bleeding.
Defecating in a wrong way, constipation, longtime upright standing, vigorous exercises (weight lifting and squat) and physical discomfort can cause hemorrhoids. Heredity is also a determinant. The postponement of defecation because of lack of time or social circumstances and the prolonged stay on the toilet are very aggravating factors. Furthermore, hemorrhoids tend to appear during the period of pregnancy, but they revert largely postpartum.
The internal hemorrhoids are diagnosed with anoscopy. Depending on their severity, they are classified in 4 grades.
Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
- Bleeding from the anus. This symptom should be investigated carefully. The hemorrhoids often bleed resulting in a possible blood loss and iron-deficiency anemia. Bleeding from the anus is not caused only by hemorrhoids or other diseases of the rectum, but can derive from the large intestine. Also, additional benign or malignant diseases of the colon are likely to coexist with hemorrhoids, so the blood from the intestine needs to be examined with endoscopy. If somebody notices blood in his stool or in the anus, he should necessarily visit a doctor to clarify this issue.
- In case of incarceration, the patient feels severe pain.
- Other symptoms include discomfort, palpation of a mass, fluids from the anus and itching.
- The thrombus of the external hemorrhoids’ plexus can be described as a black, painful, palpable mass that occurs abruptly just outside the anal ring.
Bleeding from the anus is not due to hemorrhoids always.
Prevention of hemorrhoids
To avoid themorrhoids, we must have proper habits concerning the process of defecating-specifically, we must not sit on the toilet for more than 5 minutes.
Furthermore, it is advisable to avoid constipation by following a proper dietary management (Mediterranean diet with lots of fiber, whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and drinking large amounts of water. Pills, suppositories and ointments can be used in order to achieve better results. If the situation is not addressed by these simple measures, we must proceed to an invasive treatment for hemorrhoids.