Hemorrhoids, also called piles, occur when the veins in the lower rectum and anus inflame and swell. The anus is the anal canal’s opening where stool is excreted.Hemorrhoids are not abnormal and are actually present in everyone. However, when too much pressure is exerted on the pelvic and rectal veins, it may cause the veins to become inflamed and swollen. Hemorrhoids are sometimes defined as clumps or masses of tissue containing blood vessels and other supporting muscles and elastic fibers within the anal canal.
Hemorrhoids can either be internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are small, swollen veins in the wall of the anal canal. In contrast, external hemorrhoids are small swollen veins in the anal opening. Their main difference is the location of the swollen veins, however, their symptoms are similar, which will be discussed later in the article. Hemorrhoids, although painful, are not usually serious.
Disclaimer: This article should not be used as substitute for medical advice or treatment. Hemorrhoids must be given first aid immediately to relieve of pain and discomfort. To learn how to treat and manage hemorrhoids, enrol in workplace approved First Aid Courses.
What Causes of Hemorrhoids?
As previously mentioned, too much pressure may cause the veins to swell or bulge, though the exact cause is unknown. The following factors may lead to increased pressure in the veins.
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting for prolonged periods of time on the toilet
- Long-term constipation or diarrhoea
- Anal intercourse
- Low-fibre diet
- Pelvic tumour
What are the Symptoms of Hemorrhoids?
The following signs and symptoms for internal and external hemorrhoids include:
- Bleeding during bowel movement, usually painless
- Blood is bright red in color
- Pain in the anal area
- Itchy anal area
- Swollen anus
- Presence of clumps near the anus that may be painful
- Stool leakage
How is First Aid Managed Regarding Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can be managed at home but may need several treatments to relieve of pain. The following tips are recommended in cases of mild hemorrhoids:
- Apply over-the-counter (OTC) topical haemorrhoid cream or ointment that contains hydrocortisone. Numbing agents may also be applied to the anus.
- Soak the anal area in warm water for 10-15 minutes twice or thrice daily. A sitz bath may also be tried over the toilet.
- Make sure that the anal area is kept clean. Shower or bath every day to clean the skin around the anus with warm water, although the latter is preferred. Soap may exacerbate the problem. Gently dry the area.
- Avoid using dry toilet paper, instead use wet toilet paper to clean the anal area.
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses to relieve of swelling. Do not fall asleep with the ice pack on the anus.
- Take OTC pain relievers such as, paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve of pain.
Eat a healthy, high-fibre diet to avoid hemorrhoids.