Internal hemorrhoids are characterized by swelling and irritation in the veins on the inside of the anal canal. When the veins outside the opening of the anus are swollen, it is a case of external hemorrhoids. People may suffer from both types of hemorrhoids at the same time. The type of hemorrhoids one is suffering from is the basis of deciding the treatment method.
Anyone can suffer from hemorrhoids, but typically, people between the ages of 45 to 65 are more prone to this disease. In fact, according to an estimate, eight out of ten people suffer from one or the other type of hemorrhoids. Among the most common causes of hemorrhoids is constipation, as people suffering from this problem usually strain their veins during a bowel movement and also spend a lot of time on the toilet seat. Some other common causes include heredity, lifestyle, diarrhea, aging and pregnancy.
What does the Procedure of Diagnosing Hemorrhoids Involve?
While diagnosing hemorrhoids, the physician will perform a rectal examination. To feel and analyze abnormalities, the doctor needs to insert a finger (after wearing lubricated gloves) into the rectum. Diagnosis of external hemorrhoids can be performed through visual examination. To diagnose internal hemorrhoids, an anoscope (a thin tube-like instrument) is inserted into lower part of the rectum. In some cases colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are performed to find the source of blood. In colonoscopy, the inside of the colon is examined, and sigmoidoscopy involves examining the rectal and the sigmoid colon, which is the last part of the colon.
What are the Treatments Available for Hemorrhoids?
During the initial stages of hemorrhoids, you can use some effective home remedies for treatment:
Warm sitz bath for at least 15 minutes three times a day
- Increase the intake of fiber-rich foods or take fiber supplements
- Use stool softeners to ensure smooth bowel movement and to relieve yourself of constipation
- Avoid sitting continuously for long hours, as it puts pressure on the lower part of the body causing veins to swell.
- Perform some gentle exercises regularly. Heavy weight lifting should be avoided as a rule.
- Apply topical ointments
- Application of witch hazel helps shrink blood vessels, ultimately reducing the size of the hemorrhoids and the discomfort they cause.
However, home care measures may not cure advanced level hemorrhoids. In such cases, it is best to consult a doctor who can prescribe the right treatment for you depending on the intensity of hemorrhoids.
These two techniques are effective in treating internal hemorrhoids:
Rubber Band Ligation: A small rubber band is placed inside the rectum at the base of the hemorrhoid. This leads to no blood circulation resulting in the withering away of hemorrhoids in a week.
Injection Sclerotherapy: This technique involves injecting a chemical solution around the blood vessel near the hemorrhoid. The veins close due to the inflammation caused by the chemical and the hemorrhoid also shrinks.
Infrared Photocoagulation: An infrared light is directed in and around the anus to coagulate the dilated veins in the region. This cuts off the circulation, resulting in the shrinkage of hemorrhoids.
Laser Coagulation: This technique involves treating hemorrhoids by applying an electric current. The blood supply stops due to the chemical reaction triggered by the electric shock emitted by an electrode probe, thus resulting in the shrinkage of the swollen tissue.
Hemorrhoidectomy: This surgical technique is utilized in case of severe groups of hemorrhoids in the anal canal. This is effective in permanently removing hemorrhoids and involves the use of scalpel, laser or cautery device.