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Bleeding Hemorrhoids:Symptoms and Treatment

Bleeding hemorrhoids are generally considered an advanced state of hemorrhoid formation although rectal bleeding isn’t always attributed to hemorrhoids.  Other anal bleeding problems, including abscesses, fistulae, fissures or irritation and itching – some potentially life threatening – have similar symptoms to bleeding hemorrhoids. So it’s important to get an early diagnosis.   In most of the cases, however, if hemorrhoids are bleeding they are likely internal hemorrhoids. Early diagnosis provides you with a better opportunity to get relief from bleeding hemorrhoids.

Bright red blood is consistent with bleeding hemorrhoids, whereas darker blood is suggestive of bleeding much further up the anal canal and not so much from bleeding hemorrhoids.  Bleeding hemorrhoids are either internal or external hemorrhoids.  There are two distinct types of nerves in the anus: visceral nerves which transmit a feeling of pressure, while the somatic nerves conduct pain impulses.  This is why internal hemorrhoids, affected by visceral nerves are painless, while external hemorrhoids, affected by somatic nerves can be very painful.

The release of fresh blood externally or internally is the main symptom of bleeding hemorrhoids. Bleeding internal hemorrhoids can result in fresh blood in the stools, in the toilet bowl and on toilet paper. Many patients are quite startled to see the flow of blood from that part of the body.

Blood loss from hemorrhoids may be so voluminous at times, that the sufferer may become anemic and iron deficient.  For some, bleeding from hemorrhoids may be so extreme that the toilet bowl is inundated with blood after each defecation. But for most hemorrhoid sufferers though, bleeding from hemorrhoids is usually very little, if any.

In general, hemorrhoids are a painful condition in which veins in the rectal and anal area become swollen. Some have likened this condition to varicose veins which occur with age. While some types of hemorrhoids can clear up by themselves after minimal treatment, other types such as bleeding hemorrhoids can be far more serious.

The condition is made worse if you have constipation, or when passing a very large and/or hard stool. Bleeding hemorrhoids can cause great inconvenience, not to mention embarrassment, for many sufferers.

Understandably, the initial reaction is panic clouded by thoughts of a dreadful disease. Any kind of rectal bleeding is worth a trip to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. In most cases, however, your doctor will say you are suffering from bleeding hemorrhoids a not uncommon diagnosis and you can breathe a sigh of relief. In that case you’ll need to focus on ridding your system of hemorrhoids using topical medications and diet change, because if you don’t…they will worsen with surgery as the next logical step.

Usually, bleeding from the anus, in the stool on toilet papers or in the toilet bowl is the first sign you have internal hemorrhoids. Bleeding hemorrhoids are relatively painless because nerve endings are not as prevalent internally as they are externally. If bleeding hemorrhoids are left untreated an individual will probably experience itching, burning and possible rectal pain during elimination. Because of the nature of hemorrhoids, straining during a bowel movement from constipation often causes hemorrhoid formation so stopping constipation eases the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Weak valves and walls in the anal canal and rectum are also contributing factors to bleeding hemorrhoids. All the above problems are due primarily to hard stools passing through the rectum.  Ultimately, all these symptoms have a basis in an improper diet.

The most common symptom of internal bleeding hemorrhoids is that bright red blood covering the stool, on toilet paper, or in the toilet bowl, is a condition known as hematochezia, Untreated and in time, they may protrude through the anus as external hemorrhoids. Symptoms of external hemorrhoids include painful swelling or lump around the anus.

A number of factors may lead to hemorrhoid formation including irregular bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea), exercise, improper nutrition (low-fiber diet), excessive intra-abdominal pressure (prolonged straining), pregnancy, aging, genetics, and the absence of valves within the hemorrhoidal veins, and aging.  Other factors that increase rectal vein pressure resulting in hemorrhoids include obesity and sitting for long periods of time.

During pregnancy, pressure from the fetus on the abdomen and hormonal changes cause the hemorrhoidal vessels to enlarge. Delivery also leads to increased intra-abdominal pressures.  Surgical treatment is rarely needed, as symptoms usually resolve post delivery

Bleeding Hemorrhoid Causes

  • Extremely weak anal and rectal valves or veins
  • Severe constipation
  • Stress in the portal vein
  • Straining during the bowel movements in pregnancy
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcoholic drinks
  • Hypertension
  • Increased pressure on the rectal veins due to improper muscle tone
  • Improper muscle posture such as prolonged sitting on a toilet seat

Bleeding Hemorrhoid Treatment

  • Start drinking more water daily — at least six to eight glasses. Hard stool in the rectum irritates rectal veins and water helps soften fecal matter.
  • Eat more fiber with your meals. Fiber acts as a sponge absorbing more liquid giving bulk to the stool for easier elimination.
  • Eat at regular times and choose healthy foods with a particular emphasis on vegetables and fruits. In today’s breakneck pace, meals are often eaten on the run and loaded with calories. Make an effort to keep your digestive system on a schedule.
  • Take food supplements containing herbs that promotes vascular health and improved digestion. Butcher’s broom, stone root, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark, red root, and peppermint all have natural curative powers.
  • Regularly cleanse the rectum with water from a rectal bulb or prepackaged enema solutions to flush out impurities and toxins.
  • Recommended treatment consists of increasing fiber intake, oral fluids to maintain hydration, NSAID analgesics, sitz baths, and rest. Surgery is reserved for those who fail to improve following these measures.

The sight of blood on toilet tissue or in the toilet bowl is a wake-up call.  Understandably, the initial reaction is panic clouded by thoughts of a dreadful disease. Any kind of rectal bleeding is worth a trip to a doctor for a proper diagnosis. In most cases, however, your doctor will say you are suffering from hemorrhoids and you can breathe a sigh of relief. In that case you’ll need to focus on ridding your system of hemorrhoids using topical medications and diet change, because if you don’t…they will worsen with surgery as the next step.

Bleeding hemorrhoids should be evaluated by a qualified physician and given prompt treatment before the condition becomes a real problem. For those who suffer from bleeding hemorrhoids for the first time, it can be a scary and unnerving experience.

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