All of our organs are covered by an extensive network of blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart. In the rectum and anus, groups of veins intersect just below the mucous membranes that line the lower part where the intestine is located.
Normally, these veins do not cause discomfort unless too much pressure is exerted on the anal area or aging affects the tissue that holds them in place. In this case, the veins of the rectum become swollen or deformed, just as occurs with varicose veins in the legs. This condition is called hemorrhoids or piles. Knowing how to treat them and give them proper care is necessary for them to improve quickly and reduce the pain they may cause.
Causes of piles
The route of blood through the arteries is quite simple: Not only does the heart pump it, but gravity also helps the blood reach the most distant areas.
However, the return trip of the blood is more complicated. Not only does the blood fight against gravity, there is no pump to propel it through the veins. The only way to guarantee its return is thanks to the movement of our body, that is, constant physical exercise.
It is for this reason that veins tend to cause more problems than arteries and one of them is the appearance of hemorrhoids . These consist of inflammation of the internal or external veins of the anus (external hemorrhoids and internal hemorrhoids).
Once we understand the functioning of the veins, we realize that the circumstances that cause the appearance of hemorrhoids are interrelated. Let’s see what are the most common causes of piles :
- sedentary lifestyle Spending a lot of time on the couch or sitting down working can cause hemorrhoids.
- Chronic constipation . Those who have difficulty going to the bathroom often make extra efforts to move stool in the intestine. This effort puts pressure on the walls of the blood vessels and contributes to the appearance of hemorrhoids.
- Chronic diarrhea . Although it seems contradictory, very frequent bowel movements irritate the connective tissue where the veins are located and weaken it.
- pregnancy . The weight of the fetus can put a lot of pressure on the veins in the colon.
- Obesity . A diet high in fats, sugars and carbohydrates can lead to the appearance of hemorrhoids.
- Genetics . Some people tend to have a tighter than average anal muscle, even without exertion and at rest.
- Aging . Although you can suffer from hemorrhoids at any age, they are more common after the age of 45 due to the weakening of the connective tissue.
- Anal intercourse . This practice can produce hemorrhoids or aggravate those that are already present in people with a predisposition to suffer from them.
Why do hemorrhoids bleed?
In general, hemorrhoids are not serious. Many sufferers report burning, itching, or an uncomfortable feeling in the anus. Sometimes these veins bleed because they break during bowel movements and the blood is usually bright red . In some cases, surgery is a solution, but they almost always improve with medical treatment that can be carried out at home.
That said, there are people who develop blood clots, that is, thrombi, inside the hemorrhoids. These types of hemorrhoids that bleed heavily are called thrombosed hemorrhoids . When this occurs, hemorrhoids become quite painful. Little by little, that vein swells and the pressure from the tissues around it can cause it to rupture and bleed for a short time. In this case, the blood is not clear but dark and coagulated.
As it empties, the person may feel relief because the extra pressure that was building up in the vein is released. Medical science has not yet determined why some people develop thrombi in their hemorrhoids.
What to do when a hemorrhoid bursts
If you suffer from piles that bleed a lot, the first thing is to remain calm. Bleeding from hemorrhoids does not require emergency treatment. However, you can consult your family doctor to determine what caused the hemorrhoids, in addition to preventing them from reoccurring or reducing the probability that they will appear again. These are some of the tips and remedies that you can apply so that you know how to cure bleeding hemorrhoids and relieve the pain of piles:
The sitz bath is one of the measures you can take at home to calm and heal the area affected by bleeding piles. This is how it is prepared:
- If you have a bathtub, fill it up to about 10 centimeters of water. If not, there are also special bowls for sitz baths or, alternatively, you can prepare a basin to sit in.
- Sit down and soak the affected area for 15-20 minutes.
- The area should be dried with a clean towel, but without rubbing or friction.
- You can take this type of bath during the following days.
Some recommend adding products such as arnica, oak bark, or tea tree oil to the water . You can try it, although there is not enough scientific evidence that this works.
When evacuating, it is preferable to wet the toilet paper a little to avoid damaging the skin. If the person prefers to wash, it is best to use liquid soap. Doctors advise against the use of bar soap because it can aggravate the sensitive skin of the anus.
Witch hazel is a plant whose active ingredient is widely used in hemorrhoid treatments . They also sell pads that contain witch hazel, and you can even buy the extract directly.
In all cases, the product is placed directly on the area affected by bleeding hemorrhoids. Apply it by making small touches for several minutes. If you want, you can add a little to sitz baths.
Learn more about this beneficial plant in What is witch hazel used for – properties and contraindications .
Dietary fiber and water
One of the greatest precautions that someone who suffers from hemorrhoids must take is to avoid injuring the area again . In fact, it is necessary to ensure that the evacuations are as smooth as possible and it is necessary to encourage the intestinal movement.
For this reason, it is advisable to consume water and a diet rich in soluble and insoluble fiber . In addition, refined flours or any product that causes constipation should be avoided. Some foods that will help you are nuts, vegetables with a lot of fiber and fruits. Find out more in our article Foods for constipation .
Aloe vera plant stops bleeding from small wounds, reduces inflammation and helps heal . It also relieves the annoying itching in hemorrhoids. Although there are creams and gels from this plant on the market, the best way to use it is natural and in the form of suppositories. To do so, follow these steps:
- Cut a piece from one of the leaves.
- Wash it and remove all the skin.
- Cut into small pieces of approximately 1×2 centimeters.
- Wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in the freezer.
- After evacuating and before sleeping, one of the pieces should be placed in the anus and left overnight. The body will expel it later.
Some people are allergic to aloe vera, so we recommend doing a test before applying it. Learn more ways to take advantage of aloe vera in our article How to use aloe for hemorrhoids .
Although you may have heard of this home remedy for hemorrhoids and anecdotal references indicate that it is effective in relieving itching and burning, vinegar can irritate the skin and surrounding tissues of the anus. It is not recommended to relieve piles.