All About Hemorrhoids
Many people are surprised to learn that hemorrhoids are actually a normal part of the human body. Hemorrhoids are anatomical vascular structures located inside your anal canal. These structures work to help with bowel function, stool elimination and fecal continence. When you strain, your hemorrhoids fill up with blood to help cushion the passage of stool.
The problem occurs when hemorrhoids become swollen beyond their limit. This can lead to persistent swelling and inflammation. The symptoms are usually the result of too much pressure on the hemorrhoids. For example, chronic constipation leads to excessive straining, and this can cause your hemorrhoids to remain swollen. This can also lead to the outer lining of the hemorrhoids to eventually break down and bleed.
There are actually two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Just as the names imply, the internal hemorrhoids are located deeper inside the intestines, and the external hemorrhoids are located more near the opening of the anus.
Internal hemorrhoid symptoms can be:
- Bulging out of the anus, or prolapse
- Feeling of a lump near the anus
- Sensation of lower intestinal or rectal fullness
- Urge to defecate
- Discharge or seeping of liquid from anal area
- Trouble with hygiene (wiping and keeping oneself clean after a bowel movement)
- Undergarment soiling
- Feeling like you are sitting on a firm object
Internal hemorrhoids are often categorized according to the grade of their severity. The grades are described as follows:
- Grade I internal hemorrhoids appear with painless bleeding and no other symptoms.
- Grade II internal hemorrhoids bulge (or “prolapse”) out of the anus with straining. When straining stops, the hemorrhoids return back inside the anal canal.
- In Grade III internal hemorrhoids, prolapse can occur at any time and does not depend on straining. Also the hemorrhoids do not slide back inside on their own. They must be pushed back inside the anus manually. In medical terms these are “reducible” hemorrhoids.
- Grade IV internal hemorrhoids are permanently prolapsed and cannot be pushed back inside, even by hand. In other words, they are “irreducible”.
The external hemorrhoid symptoms are most noticeable when there is thrombosis, that is, when a blood clot forms inside the hemorrhoid. What you might feel is a firm painful lump around the anus.
In general, hemorrhoid treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. More information can be found in the section of this website named “4 Levels of Hemorrhoid Care”.