Blood In Your Stool. Hemorrhoids?
Noticing blood in your stool can be a frightening experience. If this is the first time that you have seen the blood, the feelings and thoughts can go beyond frightening. However, a quick trip to the proctologist, also known as a colon and rectal surgeon, is usually reassuring.
There’s Blood in My Stool. Is It Serious?
Probably not. In fact, an estimated 40 percent of all adults experience hemorrhoid symptoms. External hemorrhoids often cause a burning sensation or itching in and around the anus. Internal hemorrhoids can also cause similar symptoms. But when internal hemorrhoidal veins in the anal canal rupture, the result is bright red blood that accompanies a bowel movement. Rectal bleeding is the most common symptom of ruptured hemorrhoids.
In most cases, bleeding hemorrhoids are not a serious problem. The bleeding looks worrisome but is usually not cause for alarm. Hemorrhoid symptoms typically heal after a few days to a week, with simple homeopathic remedies or over-the-counter medications. If you discover bright red blood from your anus after a bowel movement, it is most likely caused by an internal ruptured hemorrhoid. However, if you discover light-colored, pink, or brownish-colored blood in your stool, this may be an indicator of a more serious health problem. Either way, you should have it checked.
What Causes Ruptured Hemorrhoids
Ruptured hemorrhoids are typically caused by too much pressure on the internal veins surrounding the anus. When the walls of these veins are weakened by fatty tissue, infection, medications, or lifestyle issues, a small tear in the blood vessel wall can occur and release blood into the rectum.
Constipation, typically caused by a poor intake of dietary fiber and water, can cause hard stools to form in the colon. If you are constipated you’ll place added pressure on your rectum when trying to pass a bowel movement. This pressure can strain the blood vessels of the rectum and cause them to rupture.
Sitting for long periods of time can lead to ruptured hemorrhoids. Pregnant women sometimes experience rectal bleeding from ruptured hemorrhoids because of the added pressure from carrying a baby. And overweight and obese people are more at risk for ruptured hemorrhoids because excess weight places added pressure on the anus.
How to Treat Ruptured Hemorrhoids
The symptoms of ruptured hemorrhoids can be treated much like external hemorrhoids, with over-the-counter remedies like hemorrhoid creams or medicated wipes. By staying in bed with your feet elevated on pillows, you will be able to relieve some of the pressure on the hemorrhoids, thus decreasing the blood flow. Soaking in a warm bath and using moist towelettes instead of toilet paper can also relieve the symptoms of ruptured hemorrhoids. Additionally, you can reduce the swelling of ruptured hemorrhoids by applying a cold pack to the anus and taking over-the-counter medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
Will I Need Surgery for Ruptured Hemorrhoids?
In most cases, no. Ruptured hemorrhoids can become a chronic condition, but they heal quickly for most people. Rarely, an operation is needed to resolve the problem, and this can be discussed with your colon specialist.
Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates
The board certified surgeons of Los Angeles Colon and Rectal Surgical Associates can advise you on all forms of hemorrhoid treatment. Indeed, they are specialists in all diseases of the colon, rectum and anus. By calling (310)273-2310, you can schedule a confidential appointment and discuss any of you questions with your physician.