External hemorrhoids are swollen veins underneath the skin surrounding the anal area that can cause discomfort, itching, and pain. It is a common condition affecting many individuals. However, some people, such as those who frequently strain while pooping and pregnant women, tend to experience them more often. Hemorrhoids are generally not an issue. They only exhibit bothersome symptoms and require medical attention when they grow larger. Learning everything about external hemorrhoids can help individuals manage this condition effectively.
What are the symptoms of external hemorrhoids?
When one or more tender bumps appear beneath the epidermis covering your anus, you have external hemorrhoids. These are enlarged, dilated blood vessels that emerge from the skin. The protruding blood artery may thrombose or clot with blood inside. In some instances, this can create a painful, firm lump.
External hemorrhoids can cause various symptoms, including:
- Itching and irritation
- Swelling around the anus
- A lump or bulge near the anus
- Pain and discomfort while sitting
- Rectal bleeding during bowel movements
What are the causes of external hemorrhoids?
External hemorrhoids can occur for several reasons, including:
- Chronic constipation: Straining during bowel movements can put excessive pressure on the rectal area, leading to the formation of hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the pressure on the rectal area increases due to the growing uterus that is placing pressure on the rectal area, leading to hemorrhoid formation.
- Obesity: Being obese can put extra pressure on the rectal area, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
- Sitting for long periods: Sitting for prolonged periods can increase pressure on the rectal area, leading to the formation of hemorrhoids.
- Aging: Adults over 50 are most likely to develop hemorrhoids because, as people age, the tissues supporting the veins in the rectal area become weaker, increasing the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- Diet: Constipation from a low-fiber diet can result in external hemorrhoids.
- Heavy lifting: Hemorrhoids can develop from repeatedly lifting heavy items.
- Genetics: Hemorrhoids are a condition to which some individuals are predisposed.
How are external hemorrhoids diagnosed?
During the consultation, your doctor will review your medical history, ask about your symptoms, and physically examine the anal area. When it comes to exterior hemorrhoids, they can usually be noticed by looking at the area around your anus. The doctor may place a gloved, lubricated finger into your anus (a digital rectal exam) or introduce a device called an anoscope into your rectal area (an anoscopy) to look for abnormalities. They may also recommend additional tests, such as a colonoscopy, to rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
How are external hemorrhoids treated?
Home remedies can often reduce the mild discomfort, swelling, and inflammation caused by external hemorrhoids. They usually don’t need medical attention unless they are extremely painful or enlarged. If the hemorrhoids are severe and do not respond to non-invasive treatments, surgery may be necessary to remove them.
External hemorrhoids can be treated using various methods, including:
- Sitz baths: Taking a warm bath twice or three times daily for 15-20 minutes can help relieve symptoms of external hemorrhoids.
- Increased fiber intake: Eating a high-fiber diet that includes whole grains, fruits, and veggies can help prevent constipation, one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water can help soften the stool and facilitate bowel movements, reducing the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- Over-the-counter painkillers: Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol, other brands), aspirin, or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, other brands) can help briefly ease your discomfort.
- Over-the-counter creams, ointments, suppositories, or pads: Numerous products that have ingredients like witch hazel, hydrocortisone, and lidocaine can help reduce the swelling, itching, and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.
- Hemorrhoidectomy (hemorrhoid removal): Your surgeon can remove excess tissue that produces bleeding using a laser, knife, or cautery device. Local anesthetic and sedation, spinal anesthesia, or general anesthesia can all be used during the procedure.
How are external hemorrhoids prevented?
You can reduce your risk of developing external hemorrhoids by:
- Maintaining good bowel habits: Avoid straining during bowel movements by increasing fiber intake and drinking plenty of water.
- Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids by improving blood flow to the rectal area.
- Refraining from sitting for too long: Take breaks from sitting to prevent pressure on the rectal area.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
- Avoiding prolonged standing: Standing for prolonged periods can also increase pressure on the rectal area, leading to the development of hemorrhoids.
- Avoiding heavy lifting: Heavy lifting can put pressure on the rectal area, leading to the formation of hemorrhoids.
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External hemorrhoids can be managed effectively with proper treatment and prevention strategies. If the symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical advice to determine the best treatment plan.
If you are worried about external hemorrhoids, contact our knowledgeable team in Dubai by calling toll-free 8006686 or clicking the chat icon at the bottom of the screen to book your consultation.