Hemorrhoid symptoms are common to a lot of digestive disorders including IBS and include bright red blood in stool or on the stool, itchy anus or pruritis ani, anal pain and mucus discharge.
Bleeding can be mild to severe and can be an alarming experience to the sufferer.
There are many other causes of bright red bleeding and I will discuss these later along with the hemorrhoid treatments available.
Most people, at some point in their lives, will notice some bleeding when they go to the bathroom and in most cases this is due to hemorrhoids or bleeding piles.
However, it can be due to anal fissures aswell. These are small "tears" in the anus that can be very painful. Both these conditions are totally benign and are usually caused by excessive straining and constipation.
Is there a home remedy for haemorrhoids? The answer to this is mainly to try to prevent them in the first place!
It is important to have a healthy lifestyle in this situation, maintain your 5 fruit and vegetables a day, as well as ensuring an adequate fluid intake(at least 2L's a day). To read more about this go to my IBS lifestyle section.
However, for most people, the hemorrhoid symptoms are already present and will need to look at conventional hemorrhoid treatments.
If significant hemorrhoid symptoms such as bleeding piles or pain occur you can consider using ice. The best way to do this is to put some water in a rubber glove and tie the end off. Stick it in the freezer until frozen. Break one of the fingers off and you have a perfect ‘suppository’ shaped piece of ice. This can then be partly inserted into the anus. The coldness causes constriction of the blood vessels and can both reduce pain and stop bleeding.
Conventional treatments for hemorrhoids include topical creams (mainly having a local anaesthetic effect to reduce pain) and suppositories.
Other hemorrhoid treatments include hemorrhoid banding, where little rubber bands are placed on the piles to cut off the blood supply, injection of sclerosant in to the haemorrhoid to thrombose or ‘clot off’ the vein or haemorrhoidectomy, a surgical procedure to prevent bleeding piles.
Once dealt with, it is important to keep the stools soft to prevent straining and return of your hemorrhoid symptoms. Use of laxatives may be required, a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of fluids are also important.
There are other reasons for bright red blood in stool, but these are less common. You have to remember that serious causes of rectal bleeding such as bowel cancer or colon cancer, only account for about 1% of all cases of bleeding.
Other causes include infections, inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, Ulcerative colitis), polyps, bleeding blood vessels (angiodysplasia), diverticular disease and rarely other benign tumours of the bowel.
These conditions can easily be mistaken by sufferers as 'it's just my hemorrhoids' which is why any bleeding should always be checked by your doctor.
When you go to your doctor they will be very understanding. Your doctor will ask you questions about this including how long you have had it, whether it is fresh or old blood, whether you have an itchy bottom (pruritis ani) which is often associated with piles or worm infestation, if there is any soreness or discharge, and if there is any family history of bowel diseases including cancer.
They will examine the area and may perform a proctoscopy and rigid sigmoidoscopy. If they haven't got the facility for this, then they may refer you to a gastroenterologist or surgeon to investigate this further.
Tests that are commonly performed include flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, CT Colonography and barium enema, particularly if over the age of 45 years.
Treatment really depends on severity of your hemorrhoid symptoms and is best discussed with your doctor at the time of consultation.
I hope this section on hemorrhoids and bleeding piles has given you more of an insight into hemorrhoids, one of the causes of rectal bleeding, plus the treatments available.
I have selected a series of pages that are very relevant to hemorrhoid symptoms that may interest you. Below you can see the quick links for your convenience:
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy - A common examination for those with hemorrhoids
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