Constipation means inability to pass stool with ease. The common causes of constipation are bad diet, eating too much processed food, not eating enough fiber rich fruits & vegetables.
Overconsumption of coffee, caffeinated drinks, dietary supplements like calcium & iron, common OTC painkillers like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol also cause constipation.
Prolonged constipation leads to painful and embarrassing condition called Hemorrhoids or Piles.
An Overview of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids/ Piles are inflamed or swollen veins in your anal canal and lower rectum. They are caused by straining during bowel movement associated with constipation.
Straining during bowel movement puts undue pressure on veins in the anal region consequently causing formation of piles. Hemorrhoids are a common ailment and once in a lifetime one will have battled with them.
Itchy and bleeding anal canal can be an indicator of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are classified into two distinct categories dependent on the location.
These hemorrhoids lie within the lower rectum of the anal canal. Internal hemorrhoids are not visible or tangible and may not cause pain or discomfort initially.
However, continued straining of internal hemorrhoids may cause them to pushed outwards causing a scenario known as protruding hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are normally delicate and if strained their delicate exterior may be damaged and cause bleeding. Protruding internal hemorrhoids can be quite a discomfort and painful.
External hemorrhoids are normally located on the lining/ exterior of the anus. They are extremely sensitive and can itch/ bleed when irritated. When external hemorrhoids bleed, the blood may pool and clot on the external hemorrhoids (thrombus) causing extreme pain and inflammation.
If you experience bleeding during bowel movement you may have hemorrhoids and should consult a doctor.
Getting Rid of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids most of the time are associated with straining during bowel movement (Constipation). There are many causes of hemorrhoids such as pregnancy, poor diets and prolonged constipation.
Like there are many causes of hemorrhoids, there are similarly a number of ways to get rid of it. In less extreme cases a few lifestyle and dietary changes will suffice. Here are a few remedial methods to combat hemorrhoids.
Use of laxatives:
Hemorrhoids are caused by straining during bowel movement. Using laxatives and stool softeners will ease passage of stool and ultimately get rid of hemorrhoids.
Combating hemorrhoids is similar to combating constipation. Incorporating high fiber foods and lots of fluid in your diet will ease passage of stool and reduce straining during bowel movement. Exercise routines are also help in improving bowel movements and getting rid of hemorrhoids.
Soaking in warm bath:
Soaking your anal region in a shallow bath can help ease discomfort and pain caused by hemorrhoids. A sitz bath or sitting in your bathtub with water reaching your hip level will aid.
Use of home enema kit
Low cost home enema kits are now available everywhere. Plain water is directly inserted to anus through small tube to make stool softener. Some argue that it may force habit formation, so use it if other methods fail.
Ayurvedic panchakarma treatment
Basti is one of the panchakarma treatment. Laxatives and other herbal medicines are given to clean digestive system. Panchakarma treatment is known to improve quality of life of patients who suffer from various chronical medical conditions. [source]
Always wipe the affected area with a clean tissue after soaking in a bath. Try home remedies first before rushing for surgical or even drugs remedies. If symptoms persist you should seek medical assistance.
What Is Piles and How It Affects?
Piles also known as hemorrhoids are inflamed and swollen veins located around the lower region of the anal canal. They occur in the lower rectum and on the anus. This region is known as the cushion or pads.
Strained bowel movement puts blood vessels in and around the anal canal under unnecessary pressure causing damage that results in inflammation and swelling. These piles can be definitively be categorized into internal and external piles.
Internal piles are found within the anal canal approximately 4cm to 5cm in the lower region of the anal canal. External piles are found on the exterior lining of the anus, usually visible and tangible.
Whether piles are internal or external, the common symptoms include:
- Pain and itching during and after passing stool.
- Bright red blood on stool
- Strange swelling and mounds around the anal canal.
- Sensitive lumps near the anus.
- Leaking of feces
Other than prolonged constipation and diarrhea, piles are also caused by:
Pregnancy, anal intercourse, low fiber diets and straining while passing stool. Chemotherapy treatment for cancer, opioid pain killer like Morphin also cause chronic constipation.
Piles are more likely to affect people over the age of 50 years. Aging weakens the tissues of the anal cushions reducing support given to blood vessels in the lower rectum and anus.
A Brief on Treatment of Piles
There are many different treatments for piles dependent on the level of discomfort and progress. Most of the time, piles can be treated at home through simple lifestyle adjustments.
However, when home remedies fail, a doctor may advice use of medications. Lactoloose (LOOZE) is a common drug prescribed for chronic constipation. Injectable and water based enema is also administered.
Temporary reliever includes Over the counter creams, ointments and natural oils. Always use the medications as instructed as some may have side effects. Coconut oil is also useful.
In extreme cases, piles are treated surgically or through slightly invasive procedures.
Surgical treatment: In surgical treatment the piles are treated through actual hemorrhoid removal or by blocking blood flow to the piled tissues(Hemorrhoid stapling).
Hemorrhoid removal is a painful procedure that requires use of local anesthesia and sedation. Hemorrhoid stapling is less painful but is associated with piles recurrence.
Slightly invasive procedures: These procedures provide faster relief with little surgical procedures and include:
- Rubber band litigation: Two tiny rubber bands are placed at base of internal piles cutting off its blood flow causing it to wither and fall off.
- Injections: Internal piles are injected with a chemical that causes them to shrivel.
- Laser Treatment: Known as coagulation technique. Piles are illuminated with laser and infrared rays causing bleeding to stop and piles to harden and shrink.
The choice of treatment depends on personal preference and the doctor’s opinion of the best treatment for you.
Don’t ignore constipation, because the after effects are nasty and painful. See how mango can relieve constipation.
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Rosalba Sigorina is a registered nurse and primary healthcare provider who worked in UAE and Singapore. She is passionate about writing on complex medical issues with thorough research & own experience in simple to read & easy to understand language.