Hemorrhoids, or piles, are a common ailment that many people have to deal with at one point or another in their lives.
They can come owing to several things, including aging and constipation.
Some may experience hemorrhoids for only a few days while others may have them for weeks or even months!
Here, we will discuss how long hemorrhoids last and how they present themselves on the body. I’ll show you how you can treat them yourself at home (including foods to eat) and how they’re treated medically (with surgery as an option).
Also, when should you see your doctor?
Let’s find that all out…
What are hemorrhoids and how long do they last
Hemorrhoids refer to inflamed veins found within the rectum or around the anal canal. They typically cause pain, itching, irritation, and bleeding. The discomfort can range from a mild inconvenience to severe pain that interrupts your quality of life.
This is a common condition that affects a lot of adults in their lifetime. As a matter of fact, more than 50% of adults experience hemorrhoids by the time they get to 50 years of age.
And while they can be somehow painful at times; hemorrhoids typically do not require treatment unless complications arise.
Many people confuse hemorrhoid symptoms with other intestinal problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
But, how long does it take for them to go away?
Well, it could take just days, say, within a week, before they go away on their own.
Small ones should go away quickly but may return if the cause is not treated correctly. Large hemorrhoids can be extremely painful and may stay longer and require special medical treatment.
Types of hemorrhoids
There are four main types of Hemorrhoids:
- Internal. Most of the time, it happens inside the walls of the rectum or anal canal. You cannot see nor touch the internal hemorrhoids without the help of a doctor.
- External. It’s the most commonly seen type. This is where small and swollen blood vessels around the anus protrude outside.
- Prolapsed. This type of hemorrhoid occurs when a swollen vein falls down into the anal canal.
- Thrombosed. This happens when a blood clot gets trapped in the swollen vein.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
One of the first signs that a person might have hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding. It can include blood in your stool or on the toilet paper after you wipe.
Other symptoms may also become present and are not as easy to see. The most common ones include:
- swelling around the anus
- pain when sitting down
- pain when passing bowel movements
- lump growth
- general discomfort around your anal area
If you notice any one of these issues, speak with your doctor immediately about it.
Still, you must also know that these same symptoms could also be an indicator of something else. They may point out underlying health issues like polyps, cancer, or anal fissures.
Note: Anal fissures are much more painful and happen when the skin around your anal cavity tears.
Main causes of hemorrhoids
Now that you know the signs of hemorrhoids, what do you think are the risk factors that bring them in the first place?
Well the main causes of hemorrhoids include:
- Pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are very common during delivery. The pressure of carrying a baby for nine months puts extra stress on the body. This, in turn, can put more pressure on the veins in your rectal and anal area.
- Obesity. Being overweight is also related to hemorrhoid development. The excess weight places too much strain on the anus and lower rectum. This may lead to inflammation and swelling of veins around this location. This can lead to prolapsed hemorrhoids and increase pain even further.
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation. Both conditions cause high amounts of straining while trying to relieve yourself. This can lead to bulging and swelling of the veins found in these two areas.
- Age. As a person becomes older, they become more prone to experiencing hemorrhoids.
Other factors include:
- Family history or personal history of hemorrhoids
- Straining during bowel movements
- Taking low-fiber diets
- Weakening muscles
- Anal intercourse
- Abusing laxatives
- Sitting for long periods in the toilet
Home remedies for hemorrhoids
To relieve the symptoms of hemorrhoids, you can try some home remedies. These remedies can also help you to prevent future cases of hemorrhoids.
- Use OTC soothing creams and pain relievers. They can help you reduce the level of discomfort you experience.
- Sit in a sitz bath to clean your anal area and improve blood flow. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes in your regular bathtub or dedicated sitz bath basins.
- Use ice packs to reduce inflammation of hemorrhoids.
- Eat foods rich in fiber, which can provide relief from constipation. Eat fresh fruits like apples or grapes, green leafy veggies like spinach, and broccoli. You can also go for whole grains such as brown rice or oatmeal for this purpose.
- Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and keep yourself lubricated inside your rectum area. This is very important because it prevents straining during your bowel movements.
- Use a donut cushion to ease the discomfort. They work pretty well to prevent pressure on your tailbone when you sit for long hours.
- Avoid staying too long in the toilet. It increases your chance of getting hemorrhoids from the pressure put on your anal veins. To help you, try removing distractions like magazines and phones from your bathroom.
- Finally, try adding more exercise to your daily routine. Doing exercises like swimming or yoga is another good way to prevent getting hemorrhoids again. Especially after having treated them successfully before!
As you might have seen, most of the methods I’ve highlighted above are not invasive.
Intensive treatment methods available
You will know that you need special treatment if the home remedies above don’t work or if you have severe symptoms that need medical attention.
If you have a serious hemorrhoid condition, your doctor may recommend other treatment methods. These can include:
a. Rubber band ligation
In this procedure, a small rubber band gets placed around the internal hemorrhoids. The reason for this is to cut off blood supply to the bulge.
Over time, it shrivels up and falls out as waste.
It involves injecting certain chemicals into the tissue of the affected area. This shrinks or destroys the hemorrhoidal tissue which may be also inflamed or bleeding.
It can also involve removing external piles with surgery by cutting them away from their roots.
c. Infrared coagulation
It is a process of burning off hemorrhoids by using an infrared light source.
d. Laser treatment (laser coagulation)
A laser beam operates on the tissue surrounding rectal veins. It cuts out small blood vessels and closes them down to stop bleeding in a much faster way. It also works for internal piles as well.
e. Surgical procedures
Surgical procedures are only recommended to those whose hemorrhoids have not responded to the treatments above.
Here, excess swollen tissues around your anus get removed through surgery. Also, it’s a more effective way to deal with hemorrhoids and avoid future incidents again.
Your doctor will walk you through the most appropriate option. He or she will also let you know what to expect pre and post-surgery.
Note: If you also have an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics on top of the treatments above.
When to see a doctor
If you have rectal bleeding that’s accompanied by other symptoms like fever, nausea, or weight loss, it may be a sign of something more serious. Don’t neglect these warning signs!
See your doctor right away and they can run the appropriate tests to determine what is exactly going on.
If you’ve been also experiencing rectal pain as well, see your doctor immediately even if he/she hasn’t recommended this beforehand. Rectal pain should never go unchecked for long periods of time. This is because it could lead to bigger problems down the road.
In most cases though, rectal bleeding isn’t an emergency. Still, there are some scenarios where immediate treatment is necessary. These include:
- Severe rectal tenderness
- Constant rectal pain during bowel movements
- Fever of 100.0 or higher
- Rectal bleeding that doesn’t stop after one week (you can pack the rectum with gauze to help stop blood flow)
- Rectal pain that doesn’t go away after one week
- Rectal bleeding accompanied by a high heart rate, dizziness, or fainting spells
- Rectal bleeding that soaks through a sanitary pad in less than an hour
If you experience any of these symptoms for more than one week, then it’s time to consult your doctor!
Hemorrhoids are a common ailment that can cause discomfort and pain. There are many different kinds of hemorrhoids, but all will have the same symptoms such as bleeding, itching, or burning.
Some people may not even know they have them because they’re so small at first.
Among the home remedies for hemorrhoids includes taking sitz baths. It’s soothing to irritated skin while also reducing your risk for infection by drawing out any bacteria in the area.
Even so, some cases need more intensive treatment methods. This may include surgery for quicker and safer recovery. You should highly consider these if you don’t see relief after trying home remedies for more than 2 weeks.
Have you gone through the experience of suffering from hemorrhoids? What was your journey like? What signs or symptoms gave it out and when did you decide to see a doctor? Feel free to share your journey with me in the Comments Section below!