What is it?
Hemorrhoids (hem-roids) are swollen veins in the rectum or anus (rear end). They are also called "piles." You may have inside or outside hemorrhoids. Inside hemorrhoids are found where the anal canal starts (rectum). Outside hemorrhoids are found around your anus. The anus is the hole where you have a bowel movement (BM). You may have hemorrhoids for years before you have problems.
Too much pressure in the rectal or anal veins causes hemorrhoids. The following may cause hemorrhoids.
- Diarrhea (loose BMs).
- Straining to have a BM.
- Holding back a BM.
- Illness, such as liver disease.
- Pregnant and overweight people tend to get hemorrhoids because of added weight.
- Standing or sitting in the same place for a long time.
Signs and Symptoms:
You may have swelling or feel a soft lump at your anus. Other signs may be pain or itching. You may have a thick clear fluid (mucous) coming from your anus after having a BM. You may feel that you need to have another BM. You may see bright red blood on the toilet paper or on your BM. The toilet water may also be red from the blood.
Try not to push too hard while having a BM. Exercise often and lose weight if you are too heavy. Try not to sit in one place for a long time, especially if you are sitting on a hard chair. Get up and move around a few minutes each hour while you are sitting. Do not smoke.
Your caregiver may look at your anus or into your rectum using a short tube. Warm baths or ice packs may help the pain. Hemorrhoid over-the-counter or prescription medicines may help the pain, itching, or swelling. Do not use laxatives unless your caregiver says its OK. You may be given stool softeners to keep you from getting constipated (kon-stih-pa-ted). Constipated means it is hard to have a BM. Stool softeners make your BM softer so you do not need to strain when having a BM. You may need surgery to remove your hemorrhoids.
HOW TO TREAT YOUR SYMPTOMS:
Before treating your hemorrhoids, see your caregiver to be sure you do not have a serious problem.
- Drink 6 to 8 (soda pop can size) glasses of water each day. Avoid drinking alcohol. Eat a low fat, high fiber diet that includes foods, such as vegetables, grains, or cereals to soften your BMs.
Herbs and Supplements:
Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.
Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.
Talk to your caregiver if:
- You would like medicine to treat hemorrhoids.
- Your symptoms have not gone away or improved by these self-help measures.
- You have questions about what you have read in this document.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You cannot urinate or are having problems urinating.
- Pain is spreading to other areas of your body.
- You notice a hard lump where the hemorrhoid has been.
You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
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Last Updated: 1/4/2011