Hemorrhoids or piles are a natural part of human anatomy and we all actually have them. They are groups of veins located under the mucous tissues at the end of the anus and rectum. However, the disease known as hemorrhoids happens when these veins become similar to the legs varicose and get swollen and inflamed. There is even a theory that claims the condition is a side effect of humans evolving and starting to walk upright, since one of the reason why veins become inflamed is because they have to fight gravity in order to return blood to the heart.

Hemorrhoids or piles are classified in two main types. The internal ones develop in the lower part of the rectum, inside the body. The external ones are located under the skin surrounding the anus. The second type is a lot more painful, because the condition also affects the skin layer, which becomes irritated. External hemorrhoids can cause severe pain if a blood clot develops, which can even become visible as a bump in the anal area. After the clot disappears, the loose extra skin remains and can become irritated as well.

By contrast, internal hemorrhoids are rarely painful but they can lead to internal bleeding. Typically, people who suffer from this condition will notice blood in the toilet or on toilet paper. A complication can occur when the internal hemorrhoids emerge from the anus and become exposed. This can evolve into the condition named pruritus ani, which is when protruded hemorrhoids become irritated due to mucus or dirt. The area becomes very itchy and wiping it repeatedly tends to actually make it worse.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are just a normal part of human anatomy. However, if they start swelling and cause pain or bleeding, they are considered to be a health problem by both patients and doctors.

The cause for hemorrhoid swelling is increase in the pressure. Since the vessels in the area are small in size, they can't cope with it and start swelling immediately. As the veins enlarge, they become inflamed and cause various problems in the area around them.

There are several factors that can increase hemorrhoid pressure. One of the main causes is the stress and strain of bowel movements. This is especially a problem for people who eat diets low in fibers.

During pregnancy, the uterus of women expands in size and puts direct pressure on the area of the rectum and anus. This is why hemorrhoids are very likely to occur. The condition is aggravated by the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, which can affect the structure of muscles in the area.

There are also a number of behavioral factors that can increase the risk of hemorrhoids. Not having an erect posture is one of them, as well as abnormal pressure on the hemorrhoid blood vessels due to long periods spent sitting on the toilet.

Some of the diseases that can have an influence on hemorrhoids are: acute and chronic diarrhea, spinal cord damage, obesity, colon cancer or the effect of past surgery in the rectal area.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids have a number of warning signs. One of the most common is bleeding, with small amounts of blood visible on toilet paper or inside the toilet. This doesn't usually cause any pain at all and can be difficult to spot.

Other signs are more obvious. Hemorrhoids cause itching, irritation and discomfort in the anal area, which can turn into severe pain. The area around the anus might be swollen and red, while thrombosed hemorrhoids can cause the appearance of small lumps, sometimes very painful for a while.

Internal and external hemorrhoids have different symptoms. The external hemorrhoids are located under the first layer of skin in the anal area. These normally cause itching but can also bleed sometimes.

The internal ones are not usually visible, being located inside the rectum. Most of the time, these do not cause any trouble at all. However, they can bleed for various causes, the most common being when the stool movement irritates them or hurts their surface. It can also happen that one of the internal hemorrhoids is forced by pressure or strain through the anus. These prolapsed hemorrhoids can cause serious pain if they become irritated or infected.

External hemorrhoids can become thrombosed when blood accumulates in them. The result is a clot located in the anal area, which looks like a hard lump. It can be very painful and uncomfortable until healed.

Treatment options

There are several easy home remedies for the symptoms of hemorrhoids. One of the most common is the use of warm water. If you sit in water for about 15-20 minutes three times every day, the inflammation will reduce. However, wet skin can easily become irritated as well, so it is very important to make sure that the skin is completely dry after each bath.

A proper diet will also reduce constipation, decreasing the pressure on the rectal and anal area during defecation. A diet rich in dietary fibers, with plenty of water, will decrease the risk of swelling and bleeding by adding bulk to your stool. Dietary supplements can also be an option, but they don't replace a healthy diet. There are also special drugs designed to soften the stool. These can be very effective but you should ask for professional medical advice before using them.

Sitting for long periods of time is also a risk factor for people with hemorrhoids. Special chairs, such as donut-shaped ones made of rubber and filled with air, can decrease the discomfort.

Physical exercise is another way to relieve the pressure on the hemorrhoids and decrease constipation in general. Another key advice is to go to the toilet immediately when you feel the need and not spend a lot of time in there. If the urge for defecation passes, the stool can become struck and the next bowel movement will be very strained.

Elma 01 Skin Ointment is a great choice as well. When applied externally, this natural product relieves the pain and itchiness in the area.

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