Hemorrhoids also termed as piles, occur due to the formation of clumps of enlarged blood vessels in the lower rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids are classified into two general categories:
- Internal, originating in the rectum
- External, originating in the anus
Hemorrhoids word comes from Greek, “hemorrhoids,” meaning veins are liable to discharge blood. If you have ever experienced a bout of hemorrhoid pain, you're not alone. As per statistics, three out of every four people are likely to experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Symptoms you may notice during hemorrhoids include:
- Burning sensation at the anus
- Mucus discharge
- Severe pain
- Bleeding without pain
- A sensation that the bowel is not really empty
In this article, we will discuss how hemorrhoid pain occurs and is diagnosed. After that, you will also discover various treatment options for hemorrhoids. So, without much delay, let’s begin with the diagnosis of this annoying condition.
Your doctor may diagnose external hemorrhoids simply by looking at the condition. However, there are different tests and procedures for diagnosing internal hemorrhoids of your anal canal and rectum:
Digital examination: During a digital rectal examination, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into your rectum for checking any unusual growth. This test suggests whether further testing is needed or not.
Visual inspection: Internal hemorrhoids are very soft to be felt during a rectal exam. So, your doctor may like to examine the lower portion of your rectum or colon with an anoscope, sigmoidoscope, or proctoscope.
A doctor may want to examine your entire colon using colonoscopy if:
- You have risk factors for colorectal cancer
- Your signs and symptoms suggest you might have some other digestive system disease
- You are middle-aged and haven't had a recent colonoscopy
You can often relieve the mild pain, swelling, and inflammation of hemorrhoids with home remedies and some over-the-counter creams like Dr. Numb with 5% lidocaine content.
Eat high-fiber foods: You must eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to soften the stool and increase its bulk. It helps in avoiding the strain that can further worsen symptoms of existing hemorrhoids.
Use topical treatments: You can apply an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream to treat the disease. Other treatment options include suppository containing hydrocortisone or use of pads containing witch hazel or a numbing agent.
- You can soak regularly in a warm bath or sitz bath for some relief. Sitz bath can be fixed on your toilet for soothing the affected area.
Clean the anal area with warm water. Try to avoid alcohol-based or perfumed wipes, as these products can dehydrate the skin more. After cleaning, gently pat the area dry or use a hairdryer.
Avoid using dry toilet paper to help keep the anal area clean after a bowel movement. It will irritate the area more and increase the pain. You must use moist towelettes or wet toilet paper without perfume or alcohol traces.
- You can also apply cold compresses or ice packs on your anus to relieve swelling.
- Take oral pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to help relieve your discomfort temporarily.
With these easy treatments, smaller hemorrhoid symptoms are likely to go away within a week. See your doctor if the problem still persists or you’re still feeling severe pain or bleeding.
If your hemorrhoids are causing you only mild discomfort, your doctor will recommend using over-the-counter creams, suppositories, ointments, or pads. These products include effective ingredients, like lidocaine (numbing agent), witch hazel, or hydrocortisone for relieving pain and itching, at least temporarily.