Prolapsed Hemorrhoids: Symptoms, Causes, and Self-Care Tips

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Hemorrhoids, often known as piles, are enlarged veins in the anus and rectum that can hurt, itch, and cause bleeding. When they protrude out of your anus, they are called prolapsed hemorrhoids. They might cause mild to severe discomfort, and may go away on their own after some time. You can perform self-care strategies at home to help relieve these symptoms.

What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?

Symptoms may vary for every person. The most common symptoms are:

  • Bleeding

Bright red blood can be found in the stool or toilet paper. This is a common symptom of hemorrhoids.

  • Lump(s)

A lump or lumps may be discovered after a bowel movement. These are swollen vein that will eventually hurt, itch, or bleed if you pass a hard, dry stool or if there is irritation because of your clothing.

  • Pain, itching and irritation

Pain, itchiness and irritation are common symptoms of prolapsed hemorrhoids. The skin around the anus may also get irritated and itchy.

  • Foul smell due to mucus discharge

If your hemorrhoids become inflamed, there can be mucus discharge. This is what causes foul smell, the feeling of dampness, and underwear stains. This discharge can cause inflammation around the skin of your anus, resulting in a burning sensation that eventually becomes itchy.

These symptoms may be similar to other health problems. Consult your doctor regularly to ensure these are not signs of a more serious condition.

Why do hemorrhoids occur?

The following factors may trigger an increased pressure in the veins around your anus, causing them to bulge or swell.

  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Persistent straining during bowel movements
  • Prolonged sitting on the toilet
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Low-fibre diet

What self-care treatments can I try to help relieve the symptoms?

Here are simple home remedies to help relieve symptoms and prevent the worsening of prolapsed hemorrhoids. Sitz bath is a procedure where you sit in warm water to help relieve pain and irritation. Soak for 5 to 10 minutes, two to three times a day. Fill the tub with about five to eight centimetres of warm water. It should be lukewarm and comfortable to touch. Sit in the tub, making sure your anal area is fully immersed. Cold therapy using ice packs or cold compresses reduces the amount of swelling in the area because it slows down blood flow. In addition, the cold will numb the area to provide some relief from pain, itching, or burning sensation. Witch hazel can reduce itching and pain. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling in the area. It can be bought as hemorrhoidal cooling pads and soothing wipes. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties, like witch hazel, that help soothe inflammation due to hemorrhoids. Aloe vera is usually paired with witch hazel in hemorrhoidal pads to achieve maximum results in irritation and swelling relief. Wearing loose clothing and underwear keeps the area aired out and stops moisture from forming, which can trigger irritation in the area. Opt for breathable cotton and avoid fabric softeners or perfumed detergents to help reduce irritation.

What should I do to lessen my risk of getting hemorrhoids?

There are numerous tips you may follow to reduce your risk of getting hemorrhoids. These include:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids. Keeping hydrated helps soften the stools. The Health Promotion Board recommends drinking eight cups of fluids daily, which is approximately 2 litres.
  2. Eat a fibre-rich diet. Fruits, vegetables, and grains aid in giving structure to the stools, making them easier to pass through.
  3. Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge. Delaying can make your stools hard and dry, making them harder to pass.
  4. During a bowel movement, lift your heels to keep your knees higher than your hips, then lean forward. This helps you to avoid straining when constipated. Also, do not hold your breath when trying to pass stools. It puts more pressure on the veins.
  5. Maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Keeping an ideal weight helps reduce the pressure placed on the veins, while exercising regularly helps promote bowel movements.
  6. Get rid of unwanted toilet habits. Put away distractions such as your phone to avoid prolonged sitting on the toilet.

Conclusion

If your hemorrhoids persist even after following home treatment tips, consult a colorectal specialist and inquire about suitable medical procedures to remove or shrink prolapsed hemorrhoids. Specialist procedures such as minimally invasive techniques and surgery can be performed when conservative measures fail.

References

  • https://www.singhealth.com.sg/patient-care/conditions-treatments/hemorrhoids-piles
  • https://www.healthxchange.sg/digestive-system/colorectal/piles-haemorrhoids-common-problem-singapore#:~:text=Non-surgical%20remedies%E2%80%8B&text=It%20is%20also%20important%20to,any%20swelling%20in%20prolapsed%20piles.
  • https://www.rafflesmedicalgroup.com/services/specialist-centres/surgery/services/haemorrhoids/
  • https://www.psd.gov.sg/challenge/lifestyle/out-of-office/how-much-water-a-day-keeps-the-headache-at-bay#:~:text=The%20Health%20Promotion%20Board%20recommends%20drinking%20eight%20cups%20of%20water%20a%20day.
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/home-remedies-for-hemorrhoids#home-remedies

 

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Colorectal & General Surgeon
Dr Jane Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 1997. She obtained her postgraduate surgical qualifications from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2000, and a Masters in Medicine (Surgery) from the National University of Singapore in 2001. She was certified a Specialist in General Surgery by the Specialist Accreditation Board of Singapore in 2005, and subsequently admitted as a Fellow to the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine of Singapore.
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