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Recurring Hemorrhoids: What You Should Know

Recurring hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum or anus. They cause itching, irritation, pain, and swelling. They can also lead to blood in stool and anal leakage. They are uncomfortable, disrupt daily activities, and the itching and leakage make them potentially embarrassing.

At-home treatments for hemorrhoids can ease the discomfort until they heal. If you have severe pain or bleeding, your doctor might recommend a minimally invasive procedure to remove or shrink the hemorrhoid. Most hemorrhoids go away within a week or so with at-home treatment.

But what if they don’t?

When Hemorrhoids Keep Coming Back

Sometimes, hemorrhoids go away but keep coming back. These recurring hemorrhoids bring the pain and discomfort back into your life again and again. If left untreated, recurring hemorrhoids can worsen and require medical or surgical intervention.
Although a few medical conditions may cause hemorrhoids, most are caused by lifestyle factors. Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure on your rectum and anus, which can be a result of:

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Excess weight
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Lack of dietary fiber
  • Pregnancy
  • Sitting for long periods
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Anal intercourse

Finding Relief from Hemorrhoids

In most cases, home treatments can give you temporary relief from the discomfort of hemorrhoids. The pain and swelling might be relieved with:

  • Applying a cold pack for 20 minutes at a time
  • Hemorrhoid creams or suppositories with hydrocortisone
  • Laxatives, if constipation is a problem
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Warm sitz baths for 10-15 minutes, two to three times per day

Can hemorrhoids pop?

All hemorrhoids can bleed if hard stool irritates the hemorrhoid’s surface, but thrombosed hemorrhoids can sometimes rupture (pop). A thrombosed hemorrhoid has developed a blood clot inside. A ruptured hemorrhoid can cause severe pain and bleeding.

Because a hemorrhoid can feel like a hard lump, sometimes people attempt to pop one like a pimple. Please don’t try this! It’s difficult to see your own hemorrhoids and far too easy to injure the surrounding area accidentally. A popped hemorrhoid and any accidental injuries become an open wound surrounded by all the bacteria in your anal area. That bacteria can cause an infection, which can lead to more complications.

Signs of infection include:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Increased pain
  • Pus or discharge
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth

If you notice blood, have severe pain or signs of infection, or suspect you have ruptured a hemorrhoid, it’s best to see a doctor.

A lump near your anus doesn’t always mean you have a hemorrhoid. Other conditions can cause lumps and lesions, so it’s important to be diagnosed by a doctor before you attempt home treatments for a hard lump.

Treatment for Recurring Hemorrhoids

Over-the-counter ointments, creams, and suppositories may soothe the symptoms of hemorrhoids, but they don’t treat the cause. If you have recurring hemorrhoids, your doctor might recommend making lifestyle changes as a first step to stop the cycle. Some lifestyle changes that can help prevent hemorrhoids are:

  • Avoid sitting for long periods
  • Don’t hold a bowel movement – go when you need to
  • Don’t strain on the toilet
  • Drink more fluids
  • Eat more fiber
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay active

Sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t possible or don’t relieve your symptoms. In that case, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure like hemorrhoid banding – a fast, painless way to remove a hemorrhoid right in the office.

The best way to prevent recurring hemorrhoids is to treat the root of the problem, whether a medical condition or a lifestyle factor.

Don’t suffer from the discomfort of recurring hemorrhoids – schedule an appointment today!

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