Some references say hemorrhoids have no precise definition. But in pathology, the term refers to the abnormally grown veins in the lower part of the rectum caused by a constant pressure from within them. According to statistics, approximately 75% of human population experience hemorrhoids at certain stage of their lives, usually occurring in adults between 45 and 65 years old. Of this figure, however, only four percent of the general population are likely to experience more discomfort.
There are actually two ways by which a hemorrhoid is formed. It is called an internal hemorrhoid if it springs from the rectal side, or located on top side of anal canal. This is referred as external hemorrhoid if it’s found on lower end anus near anal canal.
Internal hemorrhoid is often manifested by the presence of bright red color blood on stool specimen, on toilet roll paper, or maybe in toilet bowl. It is generally not painful, unless the hemorrhoid is prolapsed. A prolapsed hemorrhoid often causes anal itching and discomfort. This occurs when the internal hemorrhoid grows larger and stretches from its location in the rectum through to the anus. A prolapsed internal hemorrhoid is distinctively identified with a lump outside the anus; it can be gently pushed back through the anus; it tends to grow bigger and more swollen if it cannot be pushed back, and; it is likely to become entrapped. In the latter case, medical attention is required.
On the other hand, external hemorrhoid is manifested with normally blood clot within a vein, called thrombosis. A thrombosed external hemorrhoid causes bleeding and painful swelling, also hard lump found near the anus. In addition, it is characterized by:
- Excruciating pain when sitting and during bowel movements
- More swelling and increased pain when blood clot occurs
- Thrombosed external hemorrhoid requires medical attention
Nevertheless, hemorrhoids are neither critical nor life threatening. Its symptoms usually disappear within few days. Effective treatments can be done at home, or by seeking professional medical care. Most importantly, simple diet regimen and changes in lifestyle significantly help reduce the swelling of hemorrhoids. But, in case home treatment does not seem to alleviate the pain, patient may have to seek medical help. Outpatient treatment usually includes rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, or infrared coagulation.