The word “hemorrhoids” conjures up many images, and none pleasant. Once they appear, do they stay there forever or go away? What are these things, also called “piles?” Do hemorrhoids go away on their own?
WHAT ARE THEY?
Hemorrhoids are veins that have become inflamed and are located in the lower rectum and anus. Pressure on these veins from pregnancy or more than the usual strain during bowel movements leads to hemorrhoids. They cause itching, bleeding and discomfort and are common to adults. At least half of the population will experience the pain and annoyance of hemorrhoids after age 50, and some sooner.
The situation can be improved by eating a lot of fiber in whole grain foods, fresh fruit and vegetables. Aerobic exercise, even walking for 20 minutes a day, also helps bowel function. Don’t delay going to the bathroom when the urge hits because holding it in may cause dryness and difficulty passing the feces, and that can cause hemorrhoids or exacerbate the problem.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
So, do hemorrhoids go away on their own? Hemorrhoids do go away on their own in about 7-10 days even with home remedy kinds of treatments. They are surgically removed only when they have become extremely painful and have formed a blood clot. There are many ways to get rid of and prevent hemorrhoids without paying for medical treatment.
Over the counter medications and hemorrhoid creams, like Preparation H, as an example, shrink hemorrhoids and reduce swelling. Hemorrhoid treatments like Anuice is also quite effective, and Ibuprofen, taken orally, also helps reduce swelling. A Sitz bath, which sits on the toilet seat, is warm and soothing as well. Many women who have just had babies are treated with a Sitz bath while still in the hospital, and it is a great relief. Taking a warm bath in the bathtub is also effective. Stool softeners loosen the fecal material to allow it to come out without excess straining. It is not a laxative, just a softener.
WHAT IF THEY GET WORSE?
Hemorrhoids can become very painful, especially if a clot forms in one of them. Many doctors recommend home treatment even for this condition unless it does worsen significantly. Look for these symptoms to decide when medical treatment is indicated:
• Moderate pain lasts longer than one week after home treatment
• Severe swelling or pain
• Tissue bulges from the anus even after home treatment for 3-7 days
• Increased size or pain of a lump inside the anus
• Rectal bleeding-blood turns dark red (should be bright red)
• Stools change from brown to black or maroon or change shape
When treating hemorrhoids at home, also be concerned about these issues:
• Continuing symptoms for more than one week
• Symptoms start again, sooner than usual
• Hemorrhoids appear when there is no apparent reason for them to return
• Colon cancer has been ruled out but the above symptoms remain
Yes, hemorrhoids do go away on their own or with home treatments. They can also return but should not occur all the time. Excessive pain after treatment is a warning sign, and bulging indicates that it is time to see the doctor. A fiber-rich diet and daily exercise should help, and warm baths are soothing.
It may be easier to start with the family doctor who can recommend a specialist if he or she feels it is necessary. If there is no family doctor, go to an urgent care clinic or call the nurse there and describe the problem. The clinic can recommend home treatment or medical care. Free community clinics can also address this problem. Better to ere on the side of caution if it’s questionable.