What Everybody Needs To Know About Hemorrhoids

  • Hemorrhoids are also known as "piles". They refer to those inflamed veins found around the rectum or in the anal area. Basically, they are like varicose veins that have manifested in lower extremities. Just like varicose veins, they are products of extreme pressure.
  • This condition is very common. It can occur among people in any age group. Men and women are susceptible to hemorrhoids. However, more men seek help and treatment than women.
  • The aging population is more prone to develop hemorrhoidal tissues. This condition is especially prevalent among men and women in the age group of 45 to 65. However, the prevalence of hemorrhoids significantly decreases after the age of 65.
  • According to recent health surveys, about ten million people in the United States have hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, while some of this population gets treated, about half a million people develop hemorrhoids every year. Also, since some hemorrhoid conditions do not manifest symptoms, many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. So the actual population of people with hemorrhoids is unknown. It may be even bigger than the estimates.
  • Hemorrhoids have three stages or grades. While many people have hemorrhoids, most of their conditions are mild (first degree). As a result, not every patient needs to take medications and treatments. In fact, only a very small number of the patients need to undergo surgical procedures.
  • Based on studies of health trends, three out of four people will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. Apparently, half of this population will develop this condition when they reach the age of 50.
  • Hemorrhoids are very common among pregnant woman. The enlargement of the uterus and the pressure of the weight of the fetus in the abdomen put pressure in the lower extremities. Hormonal changes can also cause blood vessels to dilate, making them very susceptible to inflammation. Extreme strain during labor can also promote the occurrence of hemorrhoids.
  • Most hemorrhoid cases are caused by chronic constipation. Pressure caused by strenuous bowel movement can result to inflamed rectal veins. Prolonged sitting on the toilet can also worsen the condition.
  • Though hemorrhoids can occur even at a young age, people under the age of 20 rarely develop hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, most of them will develop the condition as they get older.
  • The condition is more likely to develop among white Americans than among African or Native Americans. The prevalence for hemorrhoids also increases along with socioeconomic status. These claims are based on the National Health Interview Survey and the National Disease and Therapeutic Index.
  • For the age group of 65 and above, the trend in the prevalence of hemorrhoids is quite different. The development of hemorrhoidal tissues is more apparent among the Native Americans. Those who belong in families that have low social status and small incomes are also more prone to this condition.
  • The term "hemorrhoids" is often misused by many people. It is often associated with any anal problem that exhibits symptoms of anal pain, bleeding, and itchiness.
  • Out of the ten million people that develop hemorrhoids, only a third of this population seek medical advice and help. Most of them ignore the tolerable symptoms while some turn to home remedies.
  • Since the development of effective outpatient treatments (oral medications, creams, suppositories) for hemorrhoids, less and less people seek surgical treatments every year. In fact, a steady decline in the frequency of hemorrhoidectomies can be observed over the past 30 years. In 1974, about 117 people for every 100,000 hemorrhoid patients underwent hemorrhoidectomies, However, the number considerably decreased to only 37 for every 100,00 patients in the year 1987. These past five years, the estimate drops to ten or lesser.
  • These days, surgical treatments will only be recommended if all the other non invasive options are exhausted. These options include lifestyle changes (diet and exercises), home remedies, and the use of natural herbs (witch hazel, Japanese pagoda tree, grape seed, aloe vera extract, butcher�s broom, berries, etc.). Oral medications, medicated suppositories, creams, and ointments are also preferred by many patients.
  • About 50% to 60% of people around the globe actually have hemorrhoids. In this population, only 10% or less opts for medications and surgical treatments. More than two million prescriptions on hemorrhoids are distributed by doctors annually.
  • Based on a study that appeared in a British medical journal in 1972, hemorrhoids are more likely to develop among people in the economically developed countries. Ironically, it is less prevalent in third world countries and in tribal communities.
  • If you have hemorrhoids, you should avoid sitting or standing for very long periods of time. You should also avoid lifting heavy things. Anal intercourse should be avoided as well. All these activities strain the arteries and the veins in the pelvic and the rectal area.
  • Increased intake of water and fiber-rich foods can help alleviate the signs and symptoms of this condition. It also prevents chronic constipation which can worsen the inflammation of the hemorrhoidal tissues.
  • Most medications and surgical treatments for hemorrhoids work by blocking blood flow to the hemorrhoidal tissues or by promoting blood vessel contractions. They shrink the swollen hemorrhoidal tissues.
  • Some health conditions can cause hemorrhoids. These include severe coughing, obesity, diarrhea, hepatic diseases and spinal cord injuries. In addition to these conditions, rectal surgeries can also produce hemorrhoidal tissues.
  • Hemorrhoids are not usually fatal or dangerous. In fact, most irritating signs and symptoms of this condition will eventually disappear within a week or less. This is probably the reason why most people do not seek medical attention for the condition.
  • Not all people who have hemorrhoids will experience signs and symptoms. For internal hemorrhoid, the most common symptoms are anal bleeding and bloody stool. Irritation due to itchiness, pain, and a burning sensation can also be observed especially for external hemorrhoids.
  • Sitz baths are recommended for people with hemorrhoid. To have a sitz bath, simply get a basin and fill it with warm water. Sit on it and submerge your rectal area. The warm water can promote blood circulation and reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Hemorrhoids should not be scratched or scraped. Any activity that can lead to such should be avoided. That is why people with hemorrhoidal tissues should take stool softeners. Lubricants should also be applied during bowel movement. White, soft, and unscented toilet paper should be used. If intolerable pain is felt, facial tissues with moisturizers can be a good option. There also some medicated tissues in the market.