Hemorrhoids are inflamed and irritated veins around the anus and lower rectum, very similar to varicose veins. Hemorrhoids can occur due to a number of reasons, and often the cause is unknown. Some of the common causes include straining during bowel movement and increased pressure on veins during pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids can last for varying duration of time. In some people, hemorrhoid disappears on its own within a few days. But in other more serious cases, it can occur more regularly than normal. There are two main kinds of hemorrhoids i.e. Internal hemorrhoids (located inside the rectum) and external hemorrhoids (under the skin around the anus).
Some people may require medical help or prescribed medication to diminish their symptoms and minimize the hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can be quite painful and make certain activities such as walking and sitting very uncomfortable or even challenging. In the article, we will learn about how long hemorrhoids can generally last and how to treat them.
Duration of hemorrhoids
As mentioned earlier, hemorrhoids do not necessarily have set time duration. Smaller sized hemorrhoids may settle itself within a few days without any treatment.
External hemorrhoids are usually larger and may take longer to clear out and may even cause considerable discomfort and pain. It is advised to see a doctor for appropriate treatment if hemorrhoids have not resolved after a few days.
Some of the risk factors for causing recurrent or severe hemorrhoids include:
- being overweight or obese
- being pregnant
- aging muscles
- not getting enough fiber
- having chronic constipation
- having chronic diarrhea
- straining while having a bowel movement
- sitting on the toilet for too long
- having anal intercourse
- overusing or abusing enemas or laxatives
Some of the above factors can also make it difficult for problem to be treated, allowing hemorrhoids to persist for longer period of time.
Not all hemorrhoids require treatment and some will resolve on their own in a matter of a few days. During this time, it is best to rest and avoid doing anything strenuous or that exerts pressure on the inflamed area.
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) remedies available that may work for some people. Medical ointments and creams, such as phenylephrine gel, can be helpful in relieving itching and discomfort. If those treatments have not much effect, then a visit to a doctor may be the best course as he or she is able to diagnose the problem and prescribe a more effective solution.
People who have hemorrhoids more recurrently or suffer from complications, such as blood coming when passing stools, should consult a doctor. The doctor may suggest the best mode of treatment or run some tests to determine or rule out underlying symptoms.
People who face recurrent or severe hemorrhoids may require more intensive treatment or medical procedures. These procedures may include:
- Rubber band ligation – this is the most common non-invasive methods for removing hemorrhoids. A doctor puts a small, tight band around hemorrhoid to disconnect flow to the tissue and let it fall off.
- Sclerotherapy – during this procedure, a doctor injects a medication directly into hemorrhoid to minimize it. Doctors may also employ light, heat, or freezing temperature to accomplish this.
- Surgical removal – doctors usually only recommend surgical removal in severe cases where hemorrhoids do not respond to at-home remedies or other noninvasive medical options. Surgery has a higher success rate and it also prevents the hemorrhoids from surfacing again.
For people who get hemorrhoids frequently, some dietary and lifestyle adjustments may greatly help with treatment and prevention of hemorrhoids. Many people experience the problem subsiding or disappearing just from simple changes to their diet and daily routine.
One of the very common causes of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movements, but people can make adjustments in their diet to ease their need to strain.
It is generally beneficial in the situation to include plenty of foods that are rich in fiber. Plant fibers can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, grains, and nuts, which help to pull water in the stool, making it softer and easier to pass through the anal canal.
Adding soluble fiber in the diet, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, may help in treating constipation.
Drinking good amounts of water all through the day also greatly helps to ensure that the body is getting enough water for healthy digestion, and can also ease constipation.
Making small adjustments in the lifestyle can go far in helping to minimize the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Some of those changes include the following tips:
- Use a small stool to bring the legs up a bit while having a bowel movement. This changes the position of the anal canal, allowing for an easier opening to pass stool.
- Avoid delaying a bowel movement when the need arises.
- Take regular showers, at least once a day.
- Wash the anus gently in the shower after each bowel movement or use moist toilet wipes or apply water from a bidet.
- Take a warm water bath to relieve inflammation and pain.
- Sit on an ice pack to ease the symptoms and discomfort.
- Make a routine of exercising regularly in order to help in stimulating bowel movements.
- Avoid spending too much time on the toilet as it can cause the blood to amass in the veins in the lower rectum and put uncalled for pressure on them.
While making changes to diet can significantly help to reduce time spent on the toilet, people should also refrain from taking a newspaper, book or smartphone into the restroom.
Hemorrhoids occur due to the small clusters of veins near the membranes of the anus and lower rectum. They form when the veins become irritated or swollen.
Internal hemorrhoids appear within the lower rectum and are not visible from the outside. This form of hemorrhoid may not cause much irritation or pain, but one may also have other symptoms. External hemorrhoids appear on the outside of the anus and are known to cause discomfort and pain.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids may differ from one individual to another, but usually, include the following:
- Pain or discomfort
- A lump external near the anus
- Swelling near the anus
- Itching, even after cleaning the area
- Burning feeling while having a bowel movement or during rest
- A person may also detect blood in the stool or toilet.
Hemorrhoids are a commonly occurring issue during pregnancy. The excess weight that a female carries while being pregnant may put more pressure and strain on the veins in the anus and lower rectum. As the uterus grows, it also puts weight against the veins located near the rectum.
Hormonal changes may help to ease the veins in the affected area that makes hemorrhoids to likely form. Hormonal and physical changes can also bring gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea or constipation, which add to a person’s threat of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are usually not worrisome, but they can cause discomfort and make daily activities a challenge. How long hemorrhoids last depends on a number of factors and varies from one person to the other, but a variety of OTC treatments and medical options are also available.
People can also make some simple changes to their lifestyle and diet in order to relieve symptoms and prevent new hemorrhoids from appearing.