WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
You should see a doctor if you have any rectal bleeding, even if it is a small amount on the toilet tissue. Even though hemorrhoids are one of the most common causes of bleeding, other more serious bowel conditions can cause bleeding, so get a diagnosis from your doctor.
The most common hemorrhoid symptoms include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Anal pain
- Anal itching
- Feeling of rectal fullness
- Bulging tissue from the rectum
- Difficulty cleaning after a bowel movement
- Soiling of underwear
TYPES OF HEMORRHOIDS
Hemorrhoids may become a recurring condition for susceptible individuals. The first step to healing is determining whether you have internal or external hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid banding is ONLY used on internal hemorrhoids but internal banding can sometimes help relieve the pain of some external hemorrhoids.
Internal Hemorrhoids: These occur inside the body in the lower rectum above the dentate line. Although these types of hemorrhoids cannot be seen, they can be felt. They are less painful than external hemorrhoids, but still may be noticed as an internal itching, a feeling of fullness after a bowel movement and may produce a small amount of blood.
External Hemorrhoids: External hemorrhoids are much more painful and sensitive than internal hemorrhoids. These visible lumps or bulges around the anus are especially painful when sitting, may lead to bleeding and itching, and can develop a blood clot or become “thrombosed”. Because the nerve endings around the anus are so sensitive, external hemorrhoids can be excruciatingly painful.
One of the main ways to prevent hemorrhoids is to avoid becoming constipated. Most people should have a bowel movement every day or two.
The best way to help with this is to:
- Drink water (about 8 glasses per day)
- Eat dietary fiber (30 grams daily) commonly found in fruits, vegetables and legumes
- Use a fiber supplement such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Benefiber if needed. Talk to your doctor about a good starting dose.
- Avoid straining when having a bowel movement. A general rule: if you can’t go within 3minutes, get up and try again later.