Hemorrhoids or piles, as most people call it, refer to inflamed blood vessels in the anal region. Even though they're common, they're not exactly the best to deal with. In fact, according to the NIDDKD (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases), around 50% of people who are 50 years or older tend to experience them at least once.
While it is common knowledge that hemorrhoids symptoms can be either mild or chronic, not many people know the severity. Among some of the most experienced symptoms are bleeding, itching, and the most challenging one of them all, pain.
Again, different people are likely to experience the condition differently. Some claim that hemorrhoids caused them minor discomfort, whereas others deemed it to be the most painful experience of their lives. However, no matter how significant the pain and discomfort may be, the condition doesn't kill you.
Here are some basic facts about hemorrhoids, the amount of pain they cause, and what you can do about it.
Are Hemorrhoids Painful?
In some cases, hemorrhoids may end up causing severe discomfort and pain, but nevertheless, they aren't deadly. In fact, fortunately enough, even the most painful ones aren't life-threatening.
While some hemorrhoids are external (which means you can feel them in the outer anal region), others are internal (which means they form in the internal anal wall lining). Health complications are an inevitable consequence of the condition regardless of where they form, and ignoring early warning signs can put your long-term health at risk.
Here are some health intricacies you may face in the case of internal and external hemorrhoids:
- Internal bleeding
- Hemorrhoids that become visible after emerging from your anus
- Skin tags
- Hard lumps
- Blood clots
If you feel immense pain and discomfort, trying home remedies won’t hurt. However, they may not be a long-term solution to the problem.
What Types of Hemorrhoids Cause the Most Amount of Pain?
Most people consider external hemorrhoids to be the most uncomfortable since the affected part of the skin rubs against other surfaces when you sit or lie down, causing severe irritation.
Furthermore, if there has been some form of blood clot formation, it may even cause abrupt pain. It’s possible that you may see a lump around the anus. While the clot ends up dissolving, it does leave skin tags, causing irritation and itching.
Meanwhile, internal hemorrhoids aren't considered as painful as external ones. In fact, even if they cause bleeding, you may not feel as much discomfort as you may with external hemorrhoids.
It's likely that you witness dripping in the commode or blood spots on the toilet paper. However, in case these types of hemorrhoids extend beyond your anal region or you experience prolapse, it may result in several health concerns.
It's also important to note that when hemorrhoid extends beyond the surface, it can collect small stool particles or mucus on the way, causing irritation again. This is why it isn't recommended to constantly wipe the anal region.
How Can You Control the Pain Resulting From Hemorrhoids?
Depending on your health care professional's advice, stool softeners can work for you, especially if you wish to lower the pain experienced during bowel movements.
Soothing wipes may not be a long-term solution, but they may work well in providing you with immediate relief. However, make sure to use alcohol-free wipes to prevent irritation.
A Hemorrhoid Cream
Another option for short-term relief is resorting to hemorrhoid creams. Again, they should only be used after consulting a professional.
A Warm Sitz Bath
A sitz bath works is by cleansing the affected area and soothing inflammation. This way, it helps relieve sphincter muscle spasms, irritation, and itching. It is recommended you take at least a 20-minute bath several times a day, depending on how often you move your bowels.
How to Avoid the Usual Flare-Ups
Consume More Fiber
It’s imperative you add extra fiber to your diet both in the form of food and a fiber supplement (after consulting a professional). When consumed with the right amount of fluid, fiber can do wonders in softening your stool and making the process of passing them easier.
Some high fiber food items include:
- Oat bran
- Fresh fruit
- Whole-grain food items
Once you start consuming fiber supplements after consulting with a health care professional, you may notice a reduction in inflammation, enlargement, and bleeding. If they work well, you may even get rid of irritation once and for all.
However, for some people, supplements or a sudden boost of fiber in their diet can cause gas or bloating. This is why you must increase your intake gradually along with fluid intake.
Remember, holding your stool can lead to greater straining and pressure. Hence, if you feel the urge to defecate, do so immediately. Also, try forming a regular bowel habit and never wait for a more convenient time to release feces. The more you wait, the more uncomfortable you’ll be.
Last but not least, don’t forget to work out. Effective bowel function requires some form of bodily movement and an active lifestyle on the whole. So, dedicate at least 10-15 minutes each day for brisk walking, aerobics, and other subtle exercises.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, hemorrhoids can be a little challenging to deal with. Even though the amount of pain they cause varies from case to case, the discomfort can be a nuisance to your daily routine. Internal hemorrhoids aren’t deemed as painful as external ones but ignoring them can also lead to other health repercussions.
Hence, it’s important to be wary of early warning signs and seek treatment immediately. Prolonging the process may only end up complicating your case more.