How long do Hemorrhoids last?

What are Hemorrhoids?

A hemorrhoid is a medical condition in which the veins in the lowest part of rectum or anus get swollen. They are also found to be located around the anus or lower rectum. The walls of these blood vessels stretched so thin that the veins bulge and get irritated. Old age person, pregnant ladies or obese people are more prone to get hemorrhoids. About 50% of adults experience the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Swollen veins are also called as piles.

Hemorrhoids don’t cause symptoms usually, but when they are a matter of concern due to extreme itching, discomfort, and bleeding in the anal area.

Hemorrhoids are not dangerous as they clear up in few weeks. They can be dangerous only if left untreated or rarely. Sometimes, a clot may form in hemorrhoid (thrombosed hemorrhoid). These are extremely painful and sometimes need to be lanced and drained.

The most common cause of rectal bleeding is hemorrhoids. A physical examination is needed in order to check the severity of hemorrhoids. You should consult your doctor in case your hemorrhoids are troublesome. Your doctor may remove the hemorrhoids that are painful and irritating.

How Long do Hemorrhoids Last and Can They Go Away on Their Own?

What does hemorrhoid look like and feel like?

  • One cannot see the normal hemorrhoid because they are visible only after swelling and when they become inflamed or develop a clot.
  • A swollen external hemorrhoids or prolapsed internal hemorrhoids can be seen when they are exposed outside the anus.
  • Internal hemorrhoids are not visible because they are inside remains inside the anus.
  • A visible blue colored lump at the anal verge, protruding from the anus is known as thrombosed hemorrhoid. It is dark bluish in color due to blood clot inside the swollen blood vessel.
  • You can differentiate between thrombosed and non-thrombosed hemorrhoids by checking the color between the two.
  • Non-thrombosed hemorrhoids usually appear as a rubbery lump.
  • You can get more than one hemorrhoids at the same time.

What causes Hemorrhoids?

When the pressure on the veins (around your anus) exceeds, the veins get streched and they get swollen. There are many causes of swollen veins (hemorrhoids) such as:

  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Sitting for long periods of time on the toilet
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet

Hemorrhoid grows more with ageing because the tissues responsible for support the veins in rectum gets weakens and start stretching.

What are the types of Hemorrhoids?

There are two types of hemorrhoids named as:

Internal Hemorrhoids

As the name indicates, internal hemorrhoids are present inside the rectum. They are present far enough that one can see or feel them. Bleeding is the most prominent sign of the presence of internal hemorrhoids. They are usually painless as the pain sensation in that area is very less.

External hemorrhoids

They can be seen easily because they are the lumps that are protruding outside the anus. They are present around the anus where there is more pain sensing nerves. They are painful and irritating.

Sometimes hemorrhoids are more pinkish in color than the surrounding area and they hurt you more when you poop.

types of Hemorrhoids
Image Credit: WebMD.com

How long for hemorrhoid lump to go away?

Hemorrhoids are not dangerous as they clear up in few weeks. They can be dangerous only if left untreated or rarely. There are various kinds of hemorrhoids that need the different interval of time to get treated. If you are of old age, obese or pregnant, you are more likely to get hemorrhoids, you should be careful and take precautionary measures to ensure the prevention of recurrence of hemorrhoids. Depending on the type, some hemorrhoids can disappear within a few days while some more severe ones may last for weeks.

  1. Small Hemorrhoids: If you have hemorrhoids that are small, not visible, and less painful, such hemorrhoids may clear up in few days without treatment. Only little changes in diet and plenty of water intakes will help in treating small hemorrhoids.
  2. Internal Hemorrhoids: It takes around two months for internal hemorrhoids to heal.
  3. Prolapsed Hemorrhoids: These are more severe internal hemorrhoids and they are so enlarged as they protrude outward from the anus. Such hemorrhoids are called Prolapsed hemorrhoids. They need much longer time than internal hemorrhoids for a full recovery.
  4. External Hemorrhoids: It may take even more than three months especially in a case of hemorrhoids caused by a clot.
  5. Hemorrhoids during pregnancy: In pregnancy due to increased pressure in the abdomen, especially in the third trimester can enlarge the veins in the rectum. The veins in the anal area are swollen due to pregnancy hormones. The hemorrhoids during pregnancy last until you give birth.
  6. Depending upon frequency: If you have had hemorrhoids more than once, then you are more likely to be prone to this condition in the future as well and each one may be more severe in nature
  7. Medical intervention: If you suffer from severe hemorrhoids, you should consult a doctor in order to get faster and proper relief. The treatment used for treating hemorrhoids usually depends upon the severity of the disease. You doctor may treat your hemorrhoids with the help of a rubber band to cut off the blood supply from hemorrhoid, it is known as ligation treatment. It takes 7 to 10 days to disappear with this method. Infrared coagulation is another method in which doctor use an infrared device to coagulate the blood in hemorrhoid. It needs 3 to 4 weeks to cure hemorrhoid completely. It needs several weeks to recover when you have undergone a surgery for treatment of hemorrhoids.
  8. Bleeding hemorrhoids: Sometimes hemorrhoids start to bleed at the time of bowel movement. The bleeding of hemorrhoids lasts for 7 days. If the situation gets severe and hemorrhoid starts bursting, it may last for more than few weeks. You should seek doctor consultation if hemorrhoids last for more than this period.

If you notice blood in your stools, this indicates the rupture of hemorrhoids. In such case, you should visit a proctologist immediately. Usually, bleeding hemorrhoids are not a matter of concern. Hemorrhoids can bleed due to excess pressure on the internal veins. Hemorrhoid creams or medicated wipes are most common over the counter remedies for treating bleeding. In a case of severe pain and inflammation, you can also soak in warm water. With such remedies, these symptoms heal after a few days to a week.

Do thrombosed external hemorrhoids go away on its own?

sA thrombosed external hemorrhoid is a painful swelling of the anal tissues caused by a clot (or “thrombus”) in one or more of the small veins in the anal skin. They can be caused by long term sitting or prolonged constipation. The underlying clot or thrombus is responsible for the bluish color of the swollen tissues which are very tender and painful. Some large and big thrombosed hemorrhoids are so painful that they need to be removed after giving local anesthesia. This procedure is called as incision and drainage. Small thrombosed hemorrhoids can be painful but not very serious and resolve without any treatment. If you feel swelling, pain, and fever, you are more likely to have a perianal abscess.

The local pain and swelling start to reduce after a few days of treatment but at least 2 to 3 weeks are required for the lump to vanish completely. You may try few things for the management of hemorrhoids:

  • Treat constipation
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Increase dietary fiber
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicine (Tylenol, Ibuprofen or naproxen)
  • Taking sitz baths

Use above measures to get comfort in case of painful hemorrhoids.

Do hemorrhoids heal?

Normal hemorrhoids are usually asymptomatic, nonirritating, and are not painful. They heal by themselves but if you start noticing the symptoms of the hemorrhoids, you should make changes in your lifestyle to make them heal faster. Passing harden stools are the main cause of hemorrhoids. You should include high fiber diet such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help soften your stools and make it easier to pass. Drinking plenty of water also helps to treat constipation and beneficial in reducing straining during bowel movements.

Following points are beneficial in relieving the symptoms:

  • You should reduce the time you sit on the toilet to minimal.
  • You should try to change the position of your rectum by changing the sitting position. You can put a small stool during bowel movements by putting your feet on it.
  • Sleep on your side; if you are pregnant, it will help relieve pressure around your anus.
  • Clean the anal area after passing stools after you pass a bowel movement.
  • You can also calm your anal area by sitting in a warm tub or by bathing in a sitz bath.

You can also take some OTC ointments for relief in hemorrhoids. But if OTC medications are not helping or if the hemorrhoids persist or do not go away, you should consult a doctor.

Are Hemorrhoids permanent?

Hemorrhoids are often temporary and heal fast if proper treatment has been taken. This condition can last long if the diagnosis of the main cause and proper treatment will not be done. Even the internal hemorrhoids are not permanent, if they are very painful and cause excessive bleeding, physician use to carry out a surgery to treat such hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids disappear after surgery completely.

What are the complications associated with hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are rarely complicated but sometimes they can cause severe conditions like:

Blood Loss: It is also called anemia. Chronic but very rare blood loss from hemorrhoids can cause the condition like anemia in which you may lose RBCs (red blood cells) that carry oxygen to your cells.

Strangulated hemorrhoid: Hemorrhoids can be strangulated in the case of the cut in the blood supply to internal hemorrhoid.  This may cause extreme discomfort and pain in the anal area.

How to prevent Hemorrhoids?

The swollen veins or hemorrhoids erupt at the time of sitting and stretching or stretched most when you poop. The only and best way to prevent hemorrhoids to keep your stools soft. Following are few tips that help you to prevent from symptoms of hemorrhoids:

Avoid constipation: Follow a regular exercise schedule to avoid constipation. Constipation can cause for longer period of sitting that can exert extra pressure on the veins. Try to stay active that will help you to prevent constipation and reduce the pressure on the veins.

Stay Fit: Obesity is one of the main reasons of hemorrhoids. Do exercise daily and reduce your weight to avoid pressure on the veins.

Food habits: Eat high fiber foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grain for the smooth bowel movements.  Intake of fiber rich foods helps in softening of stools and helps you in avoiding the strain that can cause hemorrhoids.

Liquid Intake: Plenty of fluids say six to eight glasses every day to keep the stool soft.

How can I reduce my hemorrhoids?

Fiber supplements: The dietary recommendation of fiber in your food is: 25 gm/day for women and 38 gm/day for men. People who cannot meet the above level of fibers in their diet can also suffer from hemorrhoids. Metamucil and Citrucel are the main over the counter fiber supplements that can improve the overall fiber level inside your body. But you should use these products along with plenty of water per day as these products can worsen the conditions like constipation and can cause constipation in a person with normal bowel movements. When taken properly, fiber rich products are beneficial in softening of stools.

Avoid straining: Straining and holding your breath when trying to pass a stool creates greater pressure in the veins in the lower rectum.

Never hold on: Go as soon as you feel the urge to pass the stools. Long term holding can make the stool dry that can cause pain and also harder to pass.

Avoid long periods of sitting: Sitting too long on the toilet can exacerbate the condition and also increase the pressure on the veins in the anus.

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