External hemorrhoids are characterized by the onset of anal pain, especially when you have a bowel movement, and the presence of anal itching and small lumps that run through the anus.
In most cases, external hemorrhoids disappear in just 2 days with simple measures such as baths, use of ointments, and avoiding standing for a long time, and increased consumption of fibers and water, to soften the stool. However, when these measures are not enough, surgery can be recommended to permanently remove hemorrhoids.
How to identify
External hemorrhoids are dilated veins that pass through the anus usually due to intense exertion during bowel movements, or chronic constipation, which cause symptoms such as:
- Acute pain in the anal area that worsens when you evacuate and sit;
- Itchy anus due to the outflow of mucus and small stool particles;
- Palpation of one or more pelvic nodes or balls in the anus.
Most of the time, external hemorrhoids also bleed due to trauma to the vein, passing stool or cleaning the area with toilet paper. In this case, the best thing to do is to wash the area whenever you evacuate, with soap and water, to reduce symptoms which in turn helps them to heal faster.
How to treat
The treatment for external hemorrhoids is usually made using an ice pack on the area. If the 'ball' has come out through the anus, it can be reintroduced with a clean finger to avoid further complications. The ice can be placed initially for 15 minutes, which will help to reduce the swelling and anesthetize the area, facilitating the manual introduction process. Then you can perform a warm seat bath, with witch hazel for example, to make you feel better.
Other measures that are also important are to avoid using toilet paper, prefer moist tissues or wash the area with soap and water. Do not make any effort, avoid taking weight, avoid making too much force to evacuate, eat more fiber, drink plenty of water and avoid spending many hours standing or sitting.
In more severe cases, when it is not possible to find symptom relief with these measures, surgery may be indicated to definitively remove hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are related to:
- Vascular alterations;
- Inflammation of the anal region;
- Working many hours standing;
- Aging and relaxation of the anal sphincter support fibers;
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages;
- Food rich in pepper or very seasoned.
Hemorrhoidal disease affects about half of the adult population, but not all have symptoms on a long-term basis, the most common being a person having hemorrhoids once or twice throughout their life at times such as pregnancy or during a differentiated feeding phase is usual, for example. However, when a person has hemorrhoids once, they are more likely to develop a new hemorrhoid crisis.
When to go to the doctor
A medical evaluation is recommended when hemorrhoid symptoms become present for more than 48 hours and interfere with everyday tasks. When symptom relief is not reached within 2 days of treatment using medications, ointments, and changes in lifestyle, the general practitioner may indicate an appointment with a proctologist to assess the need for surgery to achieve a definitive cure.