The role of water in the management of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoidal veins are usually found in the rectum and anus. Occasionally, these veins become swollen, their walls stretched and thinned out. As a result, the walls become easily irritated and bruised when the individual moves his/her bowels.
Types of hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can either be internal or external.
Internal hemorrhoids as the name suggests, are swollen hemorrhoidal veins that are found high up in the rectum. As this condition progresses and the cause persist, the swollen vessels may appear outside the anus as soft and pinkish skin. This can be referred to as a type of external hemorrhoid, which is usually painful, unlike the internal hemorrhoid.
Around the anus, there are numerous nerve endings, which get stimulated by the swollen vessels. Whether the protruding vessels go back into the rectum or not is dependent on how swollen they are and how long the condition has been. In the early stages, when the vessels appear as a result of straining to move the bowels, they may return of their own into the rectum. However, as the vessels get more and more swollen, one may need to push them gently back into the rectum.
Unlike the internal hemorrhoids that appear externally as a result of more swelling and duration of disease, external hemorrhoids originate from the anus. They can easily be seen and felt during anal examination. They are characteristically painful because of the nerve endings in the anus.
Hemorrhoids and rectal bleeding
Hemorrhoids are the commonest cause of rectal bleeding. The bleeding may be as a result of bruising of the thin and stretched out wall of the veins. The bleeding, in the case of the internal hemorrhoid, comes from the vessels inside the rectum. In fact, this bleeding may be the only symptom in an internal hemorrhoid. Pain is usually minimal or even absent. In an external hemorrhoid, bleeding could occur if the walls of the vessels are bruised around the anal sphincter when moving the bowels. Also, bleeding is likely to occur when a blood clot is formed [thrombosis] inside the vessels that protrude from the anus.
Causes of hemorrhoids
Potentially, whatever makes an individual to strain as much as to increase the abdominal pressure, for example during bowel movements, can cause hemorrhoids. Apart from straining during bowel movements, the abdominal pressure may greatly increase in certain conditions as in constipation. By far the commonest cause of hemorrhoids is constipation and this is more often than not caused by dehydration.
Hard and slow-moving stools in the colon characterize the stools in constipation. The amount of water one drinks and type of food eaten, determine whether the stools will become hard or slow moving. These slow-moving, hard and impacted stools put pressure directly on the hemorrhoidal vessels causing them to swell and protrude out of the anus. Not only that, there is much straining and increased abdominal pressure when there is constipation. Other causes of hemorrhoids include chronic cough as in tuberculosis, sneezing often, pregnancy with vomiting and obesity.
Management of hemorrhoids
In discussing the management of hemorrhoids, it is very important that the root cause is determined. Knowledge of the cause and removing it usually goes a long way in managing hemorrhoids. With constipation secondary to dehydration and the wrong diet being the most common cause, the first thing to do would be to rehydrate with water. Sufficient water, drunk regularly, daily will go a long way in combatting hemorrhoids. Eight to ten glasses of water daily would be sufficient.