Hemorrhoids are veins around the anus or in the rectum that have become swollen and inflamed. They can be caused by straining, constipation, sitting for too long on the toilet and even chronic diarrhea. Those that form inside the rectum, above the anorectal line, are known as internal hemorrhoids. These swollen veins can collapse and protrude outside of the anus; these are known as prolapsed hemorrhoids.
A common symptom of internal hemorrhoids is blood in the stool or on tissue paper after having a bowel movement. Bleeding internal hemorrhoids are generally not threatening and they may not even be painful, depending on if they are prolapsed or not. If you do notice rectal bleeding, see your doctor for a diagnosis as there are other more serious causes of this symptom. If the bleeding is simply due to internal hemorrhoids there are solutions.
Prolapsed or Not Prolapsed
Whether internal hemorrhoids have prolapsed or not it is still common for there to be some blood. If these swollen veins are located in the rectum they will probably be painless (rectal tissues do not have nerve fibers). If there is blood it will be a bright red color. If they have prolapsed, there may be a lot of pain and the bleeding will be severe. Other possible signs or prolapsed hemorrhoids include itching and irritation.
Bleeding internal hemorrhoids can often be treated with home remedies. Talk to your doctor about using a laxative such as psyllium, which acts by increasing the bulk of the stool and is safe to use regularly, unlike other types of laxatives.
It is very important to address diet to treat and prevent hemorrhoids. Be sure to include plenty of fiber in your diet with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Drink eight glasses of water, fresh juice or herbal tea each day.
Getting regular exercise is also important for encouraging normal bowel movements and preventing constipation. Aim for at least twenty to thirty minutes a day, four to five days a week. Choose a physical activity that you enjoy so you stick with it.
Sitz baths are a helpful home remedy. Simply sit in a shallow tub of warm water for ten to fifteen minutes. During treatment, take three times a day or as much as is needed for relief. Sitz baths will ease symptoms while also speeding the healing process.
Sometimes prolapsed hemorrhoids require further medical care, such as rubber band litigation or even surgical removal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble getting rid of hemorrhoids with home care.
If you notice blood in your stool or after a bowel movement it is not time to worry, but it is time to see your doctor. If you are diagnosed with hemorrhoids, it is also time to address your diet and focus on consuming plenty of fiber and water. While the bleeding can be alarming and in some cases hemorrhoids can extremely uncomfortable, they are often easily treated.
“Hemorrhoids and what to do about them.” Harvard Health Publications. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Hemorrhoids_and_what_to_do_about_them.htm
Hemorrhoids. NDDIC. https://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hemorrhoids/
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).