WHAT ARE HAEMORRHOIDS?
Haemorrhoids are basically swollen and inflamed veins (blood vessels) in the anal canal. They develop due to the increased strain/ pressure on the veins of the anal region, often caused by long-term constipation, old age, and in some cases, pregnancy. When stress is placed upon these veins, it causes them to swell-up and the surrounding mass of tissues to slip downwards. When stool passes, the swelling stretches further and can lead to bleeding, discomfort, and pain.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF HAEMORRHOIDS?
- Internal Haemorrhoids – Internal haemorrhoids are too far inside the rectum, so they cannot be seen or felt. Since the inside of the cavity has too few pain-sensing nerves, there is usually no pain. In fact, bleeding may be the only sign of internal haemorrhoids.
- External Haemorrhoids – External haemorrhoids are the kind that is under the skin around the anus. The anal opening has many pain-sensing nerves, and as a result, these hurt as well as bleed. They are also more likely to hurt during defecation.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HAEMORRHOIDS?
- Bleeding during the passage of stool
- Something coming out of the anal canal during defecation that spontaneously goes back or needs to repositioned back manually
- Painless/ painful swelling near the anus
- Pain during defecation
- Irritation and itching around the affected area
- Discomfort or pain while sitting
- Redness and soreness around the anus
- In extremely rare cases, patients may experience anemia-like symptoms such as weakness and pale skin due to severe blood loss.
WHAT TESTS CAN DIAGNOSE HAEMORRHOIDS?
- Sigmoidoscopy/ Colonoscopy – to rule out other causes of bleeding and discomfort like inflammatory bowel disease, malignancy, etc.
WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS SURGICAL PROCEDURES FOR HAEMORRHOIDS?
- Conventional/ Open Haemorrhoidectomy – Usually not performed these days because of extensive post-operative pain and discomfort and a prolonged recovery period.
- Minimally Invasive Procedure for Haemorrhoids (MIPH) – Stapler/ Laser – Recommended, daycare procedure, no external cut, minimal post-operative pain and discomfort, faster recovery, and early return to work.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT RECURRENCE OF HAEMORRHOIDS?
- High fiber diet – fruits, green leafy vegetables, salads can reduce constipation.
- Plenty of fluids orally – 2-3 liters of fluid intake per day is considered satisfactory to prevent constipation.
- Reduce stress – exercise/ yoga/ meditation/ relaxation.
- Bulk laxatives like isabgol husk can be taken for prolonged periods to tide over constipation.