Hemorrhoids are a common disorder, and it is estimated that 50-60% of the population may suffer from them. However, being a problem that arouses modesty, the doctor is not always consulted, which means that they are not treated properly and can evolve to be very painful.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS?
Popularly called piles, we could say that they are a kind of varicose veins but appear in the anus. And it is that hemorrhoids are inflammations of the veins that we have inside the anus and around it.
Depending on where they are located, we speak of:
- Internal hemorrhoids, when the veins inside the anus become inflamed. It is impossible to see them from outside.
- External hemorrhoids, if the dilation affects the veins located outside the anus. They can be seen with the naked eye.
- Mixed hemorrhoids, when there is a combination of both.
And according to the importance of the inflammation, several degrees are differentiated, from 1, which is the lightest, to 4, which is the most important, since hemorrhoids are outside the anal canal at all times and are very annoying.
There is a genetic predisposition, so it is common for several members to suffer in the same family.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HEMORRHOIDS?
Although hemorrhoids are usually associated with pain, the main symptom is the discharge of small amounts of red blood from the anus, especially during bowel movements.
Pain and itching may accompany bleeding, but they do not necessarily have to be present all the time.
CAN HEMORRHOIDS BE DANGEROUS?
Although generally little blood is lost, if it is prolonged over time or if it occurs due to internal hemorrhoids, they can cause secondary anemia that must be treated.
Occasionally, hemorrhoids become complicated and lead to thrombosis, fissures, anal fistulas, and infections, with the formation of abscesses (accumulation of pus) that are very painful and may require drainage.
There are no studies linking hemorrhoids to cancer, but they need to be evaluated by a doctor, as they share some symptoms similar to those of digestive tumors.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF HEMORRHOIDS OR PILES?
If there are no added complications, the treatment of hemorrhoids is based on modifying the lifestyle and eating a healthy diet:
- Avoid being overweight, as it causes excessive pressure on the anus that can favor the appearance of hemorrhoids.
- Prevent constipation because the effort to evacuate also causes increased pressure in the area. A diet rich in fiber is essential to promote evacuation, which is achieved by increasing the consumption of whole-grain products, fruits, and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and practicing physical exercise regularly.
- Laxatives are not recommended because, by increasing the number of bowel movements, they also favor more significant pressure on the anus, in addition to irritation.
- Not holding back the urge to go to the bathroom.
- People who remain standing for a long time are also more likely to suffer from them due to the increased pressure in the anal area in this position.
- Take dark-colored fruits, such as plums, grapes, blackberries, cherries, and blueberries, as they have components called flavonoids that act by protecting the walls of blood vessels, which prevents hemorrhoids.
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, spicy foods, refined sugars (white sugar), products with a high salt content (canned and salted foods), and white cereals (not whole grains). They excite the digestive system and favor the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
- Carry out warm-cold water contrast baths 3-4 times a day to mitigate discomfort in the area.
PHARMACOLOGICAL TREATMENT FOR HEMORRHOIDS
In pharmacies, they sell anti-hemorrhoidal creams, which relieve itching and pain, especially if they contain an anesthetic called lidocaine. But their use should be less than a week because they can cause the opposite effect, that is, the appearance of increased bleeding and local irritation.
If the area is very inflamed, corticosteroid creams are helpful, but their application is not recommended for more than 4-5 days due to the risk of atrophy of the skin of the anus.