What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are defined as varicose veins of the rectum and/or anus. These stretched vessels are caused by increased pressure on the veins due to certain issues. These include increased pressure in the abdomen due to straining caused by constipation and enlarged organs, for example. Hemorrhoids can be found inside the rectum, and are therefore referred to as internal, or on the anus, and therefore defined as external hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are usually found in varying degrees in most humans without causing any symptoms in the affected individual. These lesions can be located internally, externally or as a combination of both scenarios. The masses can become problematic though and symptoms can include discomfort, pain, difficulty with walking, problems with sitting properly and bleeding. The affected person will then consult with their pharmacist or doctor and, in most cases, the problem will be managed symptomatically with local anesthetic and/or steroid creams or suppositories, as well as direct pressure applied to the hemorrhoids to stop the bleeding.
If the hemorrhoids are still causing symptoms despite the conservative measures, or they become thrombosed (clots form in the veins) then further management will need to be initiated. In the case of thrombosed and swollen hemorrhoids, these masses will need to be drained through surgical measures. If the hemorrhoids are not thrombosed but rather swollen and can’t be reduced back into the rectum, the management will include surgical removal of the lesions.
Can external hemorrhoids reduce on their own?
The simple answer to this question is, yes, external hemorrhoids can reduce on their own. The way that this can be done is by managing the cause of the hemorrhoids, as this will help reduce pressure on these rectal and anal veins. The following are suggestions that can be followed to allow hemorrhoids to reduce on their own:
- Increase water intake. People with hemorrhoids are usually constipated and increased water intake helps to soften the stool.
- Increase fibre intake in the diet. Fibre is important for bulking up and softening stool, and this comes in the form of bran cereals, whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
- Yogurt intake helps to introduce probiotics in the gut which helps with better digestive functioning.
- Increasing physical activity. Aerobic exercise helps the digestive tract function optimally.
There are home remedies that can also be attempted to help these hemorrhoids reduce over the long term, and they include:
- Soaking the anal area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
- Take a bath or shower daily to gently clean the skin around the anus with warm water. Dry the area by gently patting the skin or by using a hair dryer on the cool setting.
- Avoid wiping with dry toilet paper as this can cause further irritation to the haemorrhoids, and may result in bleeding. Try to keep the anal area clean after a bowel movement, with the use of wet toilet paper or moist towelettes that doesn’t contain any alcohol or perfume.
- Applying cold compresses or ice packs over the affected area to help relieve pain and swelling.