Bleeding hemorrhoids: a serious problem
Hemorrhoids, which are commonly known as piles, usually occur in people of age group 45-75. Hemorrhoids appear as distended swollen veins or a cluster of puffed-up veins beneath the mucous membranes lining in the lowest part of rectum (external hemorrhoids) and under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). These veins appear similar to varicose veins in legs. Swollen internal hemorrhoids bulge out of the anus and appear as soft lumps of tissues.
Although, piles are a frequent problem found in 3 out of 5 individuals and its actual cause is unknown but sometimes, it appears due to strain during bowel movements, chronic constipation, or due to an increased pressure on these veins during pregnancy.
In severe cases, these inflamed veins burst out and secrete blood. The walls of the veins stretch and become so thin that they bulge out while pooping (i. e. the internal hemorrhoidal veins), then rupture which leads to the loss of blood. This is often known as bleeding hemorrhoids.
Among the various signs, blood in stool is a common sign of rectal bleeding that may be indicative of hemorrhoids that bleed.
A hemorrhoid is an anorectal condition which results in the loss of blood. The condition is generally not life-threatening but can cause serious complications if continuous loss of blood occurs. Hemorrhoids, in severe cases, result in rectal bleeding. Rectal bleeding is a type of gastrointestinal or GI bleeding. With pain and protrusion of skin during bowel movements, irritation and itching around the anus and blood loss may occur. Some other common complications that might occur due to rectal bleeding are:
- Anal fissure
- Anal fistula
- Anal infection
- Anal cancer or rectal cancer
Bleeding usually stops itself after a short period of time. But, in more serious conditions, continued bleeding might be a sign of some other serious problems as discussed above.
Is anal blood loss due to hemorrhoids?
Piles are detected when the veins swell-up in the form of a blood clot which causes itchiness and intense pain. This might lead to blood pooping (with or without puss), also known as thrombosed hemorrhoid. Sometimes, blood loss can be due to other reasons also such as anal fissures, colitis, esophageal problems, peptic ulcers, etc.
How long do piles take to recover and when should the patient see a doctor?
The time of recovery can vary for people suffering with hemorrhoids depending upon the stage of hemorrhoids. Minor hemorrhoid bleeding persists for three to four days and stops itself, but in more serious cases, bleeding may not stop for several days. This may lead to excessive loss of blood and several other associated complications such as fissures or cancers, etc. A patient should immediately visit the doctor in such cases to prevent weakness due to anemia, anal infections, or to avoid unnecessary complications, etc.
If proper treatment is not given for hemorrhoids, the condition may worsen and they may swell and become more painful and itchy. Extreme condition may lead to the formation of blood clots. In very rare severe conditions, a clot might travel to the heart or brain and lead to even more serious and life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.
A doctor might detect the severity of the situation through a rectal examination and treat the patient accordingly. Several over-the-counter creams, ointments, or medicines are recommended for hemorrhoids according to a person’s condition. In severe cases, minimally invasive procedures such as rubber band ligation, sclerotherapy, coagulation, and surgical procedures such as hemorrhoid removal and stapling, etc are recommended to the patient to treat hemorrhoids.