What are they?
Hemorrhoids are composed of submucosal cushions of vascular tissue found around the anal wall, creating significant pain or discomfort for the patient.
When they first occur, external hemorrhoids are often no more than small skin tags hardly noticed by the patient. However, they usually enlarge without ever deflating. In this case, we talk about haemorrhoidal disease.
Hemorrhoids are very common in both men and women. In fact the data show that at least once in their life 90% of people experience this condition.
Hemorrhoids can be classified into different types:
- External hemorrhoids are hemorrhoids that affect veins outside the anus. These hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, cracking, and itching.
- Internal (inside) hemorrhoids form within the anus beneath the lining. Painless bleeding and protrusion during bowel movements are the most common symptoms. Some internal hemorrhoids become so enlarged that they stick out of the anus and then go back inside spontaneously.
- Grade 1 hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids which do not prolapse, or protrude out of the anus.
- Grade 2 hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids which prolapse, but then go back inside the anus spontaneously without interference.
- Grade 3 hemorrhoids are internal hemorrhoids which prolapse, but do not go back inside the anus until the patient pushes them back in.
- Grade 4 hemorrhoids are prolapsed internal hemorrhoids which will not go back inside the anus.
The most common symptoms, associated with hemorrhoids are:
- Continuous pain or during evacuation;
- Perineal irritation
- Anal itching;
- Loss of mucus and serum.
The causes of hemorrhoids can be of both physical and psychological nature:
- Cigarette smoke;
- Heavy alcohol use;
- excessive caffeine intake;
- overconsumption of salt;
- Hormonal changes;
- overconsumption of chili pepper;
- excessive consumption of fried foods;
- Excessive consumption of spicy foods;
- Excessive consumption of chocolate.
Doctors diagnose hemorrhoids with information from your medical history, a physical exam, and procedures to look inside your anus and rectum.
Doctors perform a visual inspection of the perianal region to reveal any evidence of fissures, dermatitis, abscesses, fistulous openings, or lesions.
A digital rectal exam is an exam of the lower rectum. The will insert a gloved finger into the rectum and feel the prostate for hard, lumpy, or abnormal areas.
Less than 10 percent of hemorrhoid cases require surgery, but this can become necessary in some cases when external or prolapsed hemorrhoids become too irritated, infected, or when there are complications.
Very often Grade II and III hemorrhoids can be trated pharmacologically:
- Rectal anesthetics are used to relieve the pain and itching of hemorrhoids (piles) and other problems in the rectal area.
- Hydrocortisone is a steroid used to treat hemorrhoids or rectal irritation.
Several plants with therapeutic action can be used for the treatment of hemorrhoids:
- The roots of the butcher’s broom contain steroid saponins, essential oils and resins with vasoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties and is excellent for reducing inflammation and bleeding;
- Cypress essential oil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that help reduce itching or pain;
- Saint John’s Wort Organic essential oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory of the skin and above all the mucous membranes. It is excellent to ease the itching and burning of hemorrhoids;
- Witch hazel contains many compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Eating a healthy diet rich in high fiber whole foods can help relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
The foods to be avoided are:
- Spiced foods, such as pepper, chilli pepper, horseradish, mustard, ginger, floobi and shallot;
- Crustaceans and molluscs;
- Seasoned cheeses;
- Carbonated drinks and alcohol;
- Red meat and cold cuts;
- Caffeine -based drinks, such as coffee or tea.
Ideally, stool should be soft and lubricated. Therefore foods rich in fiber, such as vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains and water are highly recommended.
In any case, even in people subject to recurrent episodes of diarrhea, the anus area can become inflamed. So also in this case it is necessary to intervene with an astringent diet based on white rice, little seasoning, lemon, vinegar, apple, white meat and fish.
With regard to water, in these cases it is necessary to respect 2 liters per day.
Definitely improving your lifestyle can help a lot, a more active life makes the intestine less sluggish, so avoid sitting for hours or do not completely abandon physical activity.