Treating External Hemorrhoids

 By the time people reach their advanced time of life, most of them would have gone on to develop this rather painful condition known as hemorrhoids.

What are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are varicosed veins of the anal canal.  The other name for hemorrhoids is piles, which can become a very irksome problem when itching, burning and rectal bleeding is experienced.  The reasons contributing to its development are varied – it could be pregnancy related, excess body weight, standing or sitting for long hours, constipation or basically any condition that places too much pressure on the veins situated in the rectal area.

Hemorrhoids can either be a) internal, or b) external.  In the case of internal hemorrhoids, the lumps develop inside the anus; and in the case of external, swollen skin tissues are felt surrounding the anal opening.

External Hemorrhoids

As far as external hemorrhoids are concerned, the swollen mass of dilated veins occurs closer to the anal opening, which then can prolapse outward and be easily felt.  This type of hemorrhoids is considered to be more painful than the internal type, since these are super sensitive, get irritated very easily, and can rupture very easily from friction.  These can also get thrombosed, leading to a hard and painful lump of swollen tissues and veins.

The causes for external hemorrhoids are –

–       Bowel problems like constipation

–       An increase in pressure around the abdominal area, noted more during pregnancy or weight gain

–       Excessive use of laxatives to treat constipation, leading to frequent passage of stools

–       A diet lacking in fiber, and increased intake of spicy food

–       Lack of mobility levels, standing or sitting for long hours, with minimal or no exercise done

Treatment Options for External Hemorrhoids

Laser Coagulation – This is a relatively new procedure used for treating external hemorrhoids.  Here, an electrode, slender laser probe is used by the surgeon to pass electric current to the hemorrhoid.  With the passage of each current, blood flow to the area is reduced and then stopped, and certain chemical changes as well occurs within that will shrivel up the swollen tissue lumps, and steadily shrink it in size until it falls off.

Infrared Photocoagulation – In this procedure, infrared radiation is used which when directed on to the hemorrhoid tissues, it gets converted into heat energy which will aid in breaking down of the tissues and coagulate the swollen veins.  Once the veins clot, blood flow is restricted, and with lack of blood and nutrients, the swollen lump will eventually fall off.

Hemorrhoidectomy – This is considered the last option and usually chosen to treat severe cases of hemorrhoids which will need to be removed instantly for relief.  The removal may be done by using a scalpel, an electric cautery device, or laser beams.  However, patients complain of pain even after this procedure.

For best results, the treatment method opted for should be the one that will suit the sufferer the most.

Usually, hemorrhoids, whether it be internal or external, get resolved on their own within a couple of weeks’ time.  However, they can return if certain steps are not put in place to prevent its recurrence.

–       Avoid getting constipated by having meals on time, following a fiber rich diet, drinking sufficient amounts of water, and including more of fresh foods rather than the processed types.

–       Exercise regularly to maintain ideal body weight

–       Stay relaxed while moving bowels and refrain from straining to evacuate stools

–       Try not to attempt lifting heavy objects

–       Do not stand or sit for long hours at a stretch.  Take frequent breaks.