Hemorrhoids are one of the most common conditions affecting a large population. While they tend to be more common for people over the age of 50, young adults can also be at risk of developing them.
In most mild cases, hemorrhoids can easily be treated at home by incorporating dietary changes, supplements, and topical creams.
So, when is a visit to the doctor warranted?
Again, it’s crucial to acknowledge that hemorrhoids are mild in most cases, and may not even require any form of intervention if you see them getting better on their own. However, severe complications are not exactly impossible as they continue to form and linger on.
So, what happens if you leave your hemorrhoids untreated for a prolonged period? Let’s find out.
What Happens When You Leave Hemorrhoids Untreated?
Fortunately, hemorrhoids aren’t life-threatening. This means it’s safe to see how they progress over time and react to home remedies. However, using home remedies doesn’t mean complications can never arise. Some combinations have a greater risk of pain than others, and you may have no choice but to see a health care professional. Here’s what happens when you leave painful hemorrhoids untreated for a long time:
If your hemorrhoids have started to appear blue or purple, there’s a great chance they may have developed a blood clot inside. “Thrombosed” hemorrhoids, as one may refer to them, can cause extreme discomfort, with the pain lasting for several days.
Once the blood clots go away, you may notice clumps of loose skin in the same region. This tends to get uncomfortable since wiping the area and subjecting it to bowel movements may loosen skin or cause “skin tags” to become painful and irritated.
Sometimes due to muscle pressure, your prolapsed hemorrhoids may be at risk for low blood supply. Not only is it painful, but the lack of blood flow may even lead to the death of the tissue in the target area.
In case your hemorrhoid ends up causing severe bleeding, you may experience a drop in your red blood cell count. However, if you notice any signs of bleeding from the anus, head over to a doctor immediately. Delaying medical attention could cause the problem to get more serious than when it first started. It may even be a sign of something more serious than just hemorrhoids.
What Types of Hemorrhoids Cause Greater Discomfort?
Primarily, there are two different types of hemorrhoids: Internal and external. While the former protrude from the rectum, the latter arise from the anal canal. However, one cannot be labeled as worse than the other because both conditions can turn out to be problematic in their own ways. After all, the severity of the symptoms depends on the degree and size of your hemorrhoid.
Leaving external hemorrhoids untreated can cause blood clotting, whereas leaving internal ones untreated can result in bleeding.
Signs You Need to Visit a Doctor!
While discomfort due to hemorrhoids should be reason enough to visit a health care professional, here is a more detailed checklist to help you determine when a visit is inevitable.
- Check for any signs of rectal bleeding, and in case you notice it, get it examined immediately.
- Are the hemorrhoids causing you discomfort or pain? Pain should be a good enough sign to visit a doctor.
- See if the problem continues to get worse even after trying several over-the-counter creams and additional remedies.
- Look out for signs of bleeding. One giveaway is the color of your stools. If they appear maroon or tarry, it’s a clear sign of bleeding.
- Do you feel dizzy shortly after experiencing a significant amount of rectal bleeding? Make sure to seek immediate medical attention.
Again, hemorrhoids aren’t considered a major health dilemma. However, the notion shouldn’t keep you from taking necessary actions if they end up worsening. After all, the ultimate goal is for you to experience relief in one way or the other, even if it means seeking the required medical attention.
Remember, a call to your doctor may become necessary even if you’re undergoing a less serious case. It doesn’t have to get worse for you to consider scheduling an appointment or seeking emergency care. If your hemorrhoids haven’t gotten better on their own or if the symptoms have been lingering even after trying out every possible home remedy, a doctor visit should definitely make sense.
What Are Some Ways to Prevent Their Recurrence?
If your hemorrhoids have a tendency to keep appearing, it may be a sign to see your health care professional and seek advice about making permanent changes to your lifestyle. Once you have been diagnosed, your doctor may recommend making the following changes:
- Avoid lifting heavyweights
- Avoid straining during a bowel movement
- Limit the time you spend sitting on your toilet
- Incorporate more water consumption into your diet
- Incorporate food rich in fiber in your diet
- Incorporate the prescribed fiber supplements into your diet
The Bottom Line
In the end, it’s important to re-establish that hemorrhoids don’t usually require intensive treatment. In fact, in most cases, they tend to go away on their own. However, recurrence is still very much a possibility, and it can be avoided by making relevant changes to your diet and lifestyle.
While they don’t necessarily end up causing complications, there may be rare cases when they do. However, knowing when to see a doctor is absolutely crucial, depending on the progression of the issue. If home remedies haven’t been able to reduce discomfort, then it may be a sign you need to seek emergency medical care right away.
All in all, staying wary of warning signs, learning to distinguish between internal and external hemorrhoids, and knowing when to seek medical assistance is the key to dealing with your hemorrhoids effectively. Delaying treatment is only going to lead to repercussions and regret. If you have a hunch that you might have hemorrhoids, seek medical assistance.