Hemorrhoids are classed as internal or external. With internal hemorrhoids, the condition appears just inside the entrance to the anus. With external hemorrhoids, the hemorrhoids in the skin around entrance to your anus become swollen. These can cause a significant amount of pain or discomfort. Most external hemorrhoids will bleed slightly, particularly when you are trying to pass a stool. On this page, we want to talk a little bit about external hemorrhoids. This includes information on how they are diagnosed, the risk factors etc.
The Symptoms of External Hemorrhoids
Due to their nature, external hemorrhoids are easy to spot. There will be lumps around the entrance to the anus. Of course, you will not be able to see these yourself. Instead, you will need to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Itching around the anus.
- Pain around the anus
- Blood in your stool. This may mean blood on the paper when you wipe or blood in the toilet.
It is worth noting that while these symptoms can be related to hemorrhoids, which is a relatively minor, but uncomfortable condition. The symptoms that we highlighted above can also be tied to some more complicated conditions. Conditions which have the potential to be fatal. You need to go to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms above. You should go as a matter of urgency, in fact.
What Causes External Hemorrhoids?
There are several things which can cause external hemorrhoids. In most cases, it is down to the fact that somebody is straining too hard when they are trying to pass a stool. This occurs if you have constipation. In other cases, it may be because a person is suffering from diarrhea.
Those who are overweight, or those who are pregnant, stand a bigger risk of suffering from hemorrhoids due to the increased amount of pressure on the lower part of their body.
While hemorrhoids are not a genetic condition, research has shown that genetics may be at play in some cases. If your parents regularly suffered from hemorrhoids, then the risk of you suffering from them is going to go up too.
Finally; as you get older, the chances of you suffering from hemorrhoids will increase even further. This is, mostly, down to the fact that you become less-active and thus you will be sitting around a lot. This increases the amount of pressure on the lower part of your body.
You do not need to know why you are suffering from external hemorrhoids. This is something that your doctor will need to determine. They will do this by an inspection as well as asking you questions about your medical history.
The Diagnosis of External Hemorrhoids
The diagnosis of external hemorrhoids is simple. Your doctor should be able to determine that you have them simply by looking at the rectum. What is not going to be simple is working out why they popped up in the first place. Therefore, your doctor is going to need to do a little bit of research.
In most cases, your doctor will insert a probe into your rectum. This will enable them to check the health of the lower part of your bowels. In rare cases, they may need to go a little bit further than that and carry out a colonoscopy. Both of these will only really occur if it is not obvious why you are suffering from hemorrhoids in the first place. Read more about hemorrhoids diagnosis here.
Treating External Hemorrhoids
How the external hemorrhoids are treated will be dependent on the severity of the condition. If this is the first time that you have ever suffered from the condition, then the treatment options available are going to be a little bit different to those who have been dealing with it repeatedly.
In most cases, the treatment of your external hemorrhoids will be nothing more than an ice pack applied to the area. This will help to reduce the swelling. In addition to this, your doctor may prescribe you with suppositories or hemorrhoid creams. This will cause the swelling to go down incredibly rapidly.
In rare cases, you may need to undergo surgery. These surgeries are unlikely to be performed at your doctor’s surgery. You will need to go to the hospital. Dependent on the severity and the type of treatment you are receiving, these will be offered on either an inpatient or an outpatient basis:
- Hemorrhoidectomy: the hemorrhoids will be removed. This means that they will never swell up again. This is going to be an ideal treatment for those who are regularly suffering from swelling around that area.
- The burning of the hemorrhoid tissue. This can be done in several ways. Most doctors prefer to go down the laser route nowadays, although electrical shocks to the area is also going to be a viable method.
- Sclerotherapy: with this, a rubber band will be tied around the hemorrhoid which will essentially strangle them. Blood will not be able to flow into the area. Over time, it is likely that the hemorrhoids will just fall off. In rare cases, they will just shrink.
Preventing Hemorrhoids from Developing
There are only a few things that you can do to prevent the hemorrhoids forming in the first place. Thankfully, they are pretty easy and very effective. The best method will be to ensure that you do not strain during bowel movements. If you do not pass the stool right away, then come back later. You should not be sitting on the toilet for long periods of time. If you are constipated, then try to work out why you are constipated. In most cases, it is likely that you are not getting enough fiber into your diet. Read here about hemorrhoid diet plan
We also suggest that you do not sit or stand for long periods of time. We like to mix things up a little bit. Just a five minute walk after sitting down for an hour or so is going to work wonders when it comes to preventing hemorrhoids.