Hemorrhoid Paranoia: Do you have hemorrhoids or not?

Hemorrhoids, though not a life-threatening disease, is a condition dreaded by anyone. This is because aside from the pain and discomfort it brings, hemorrhoids could cause a great deal of embarrassment and inconvenience.

Prevention, as in any other disease, is better than cure. Hemorrhoids could easily be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle consisting of a high fiber diet, adequate liquid intake, and regular exercise. But there are still people who suffer from hemorrhoids even though they live a healthy lifestyle. This is because hemorrhoids are hereditary. Also, there are conditions, such as pregnancy, that can cause hemorrhoids due to the pressure exerted by the growing fetus on the blood vessels. There are many treatments available for hemorrhoids nowadays like over-the-counter products, non-surgical, and surgical procedures. Hemorrhoids are best treated at an early stage to avoid recurrence.

So how do you know if you are suffering from the early stages of hemorrhoids? Feeling pain during bowel movements and seeing blood on your waste matter or stool means you have to see a doctor right away.

There are two kinds of hemorrhoids - internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are the ones that originate from the affected side of the inner canal while external hemorrhoids originate from the lower end of the inner canal.

The pain during bowel movements mainly happens when there is external hemorrhoid formation. This is because the nerves at the lower end of the canal are somatic nerves and are capable of sensing pain. The affected side of the inner canal, on the other hand, has visceral nerves and these nerves feel pressure but not pain. So not feeling pain during bowel movements does not necessarily mean you are hemorrhoid free.

While pain is the common symptom for external hemorrhoid, bleeding is a normal occurrence in cases of internal hemorrhoids. The blood is bright red and can usually be seen on the stool or on the toilet bowl. Bleeding, however, is not just a symptom of hemorrhoids. It can be a symptom for a more serious disease so you should consult a doctor right away when you see blood during bowel movements.

Formation of a hard and painful lump at the inner part is also an indication of hemorrhoid. This however means that you have been having hemorrhoids for quite some time now. This is because the lump is actually a result of blood clots or what is called thrombosis. This lump is very painful because it contains somatic nerves. Though the thrombosed hemorrhoid heals with scarring, it still leaves a tag of protruding skin at the affected area.

If your affected are, specifically your inner part has been itching for quite some time now, you should check with your doctor too, since itching is also a symptom of hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids that have bulged into the canal sometimes pull down a part of the inner intestine lining and protrude from the inner intestine part. The inner intestine lining that has been dragged by the hemorrhoid secretes mucus and moistens the affected area and the surrounding skin. As stool passes through the canal, it can sometimes leak and get mixed with the mucus. The constant presence of moisture and stool leads to pruritus ani or itching.

If you feel the following symptoms, go visit a doctor and have a check. As there are two kinds of hemorrhoids, there are also different ways on how to diagnose them. External hemorrhoids are usually diagnosed by visual examination. A doctor does this by placing a gloved and lubricated finger into the inner intestine to feel for any bumps or abnormalities.

Internal hemorrhoids are easy to diagnose if there are protrusions in the inner part. A doctor could also feel the inner intestine area through a gloved finger for any internal hemorrhoid high in the inner canal. If a more thorough examination is needed, an anoscopy is performed. This is done by the use of an anoscope, which is a three-inch long metal or clear plastic hollow tube. It is lubricated and then inserted into the inner part up unto the inner intestine. Indirect anoscopy is also another way to diagnose internal hemorrhoids.

This time, a patient's inner part is viewed using a special mirror while he or she is seated and straining on a toilet. This kind of diagnostic procedure also helps the doctor see the effects that gravity and straining has on the inner part. The doctor may be able to determine if the prolapsing lump is the hemorrhoid, the inner intestine itself, or a inner intestine lining.

Hemorrhoids are diagnosed in a grading system depending on the severity of the condition.

  • A first-degree hemorrhoid is signified by bleeding but no prolapsing lump.
  • Second-degree hemorrhoid, on the other hand, has prolapsing but the prolapse retracts on its own. There may be bleeding or no bleeding.
  • A third-degree hemorrhoid also has prolapsed but this one does not retract on its own. It may be pushed back in, though, by a finger.
  • Prolapse for a fourth-degree hemorrhoid, on the other hand, cannot be pushed back in anymore. Thrombosed hemorrhoids, or ones that contain blood clots, and hemorrhoids that have pulled much of the inner intestine lining though the inner part are also diagnosed as fourth-degree hemorrhoids.

The treatment for hemorrhoids depends on the severity. First to third-degree hemorrhoids can be usually cured without having to undergo surgery. Over-the-counter products and non-surgical procedures are usually done for the early stages of hemorrhoids but there are also chances that the condition will recur.

For fourth-degree hemorrhoids, however, surgery is the required treatment for the condition is already quite serious and removal of the hemorrhoidal vessels is the only way to correct the condition.

Take note that the lower muscles will not be the same as before surgery. People who have had procedures done for their hemorrhoids usually suffer from incontinence as a side effect especially if the sphincter is the one directly affected by the procedure.

Incontinence is the condition whereby one cannot control the stool during bowel movement. Meaning, they cannot suppress their stool from coming out when they feel the urge even if they are caught in a bad situation or timing. So, it is better to avoid hemorrhoids at all or have it cured at the onset of the condition so you won't have to suffer the grave consequence that the disease brings during and after treatment.