Bleeding hemorrhoids are caused by the irritation of swollen hemorrhoidal veins and anal tissue. They can be external or internal.
Hemorrhoids, especially internal hemorrhoids, often go unnoticed until blood appears spotted on toilet paper in the stools after a bowel movement.
Too much pressure on the rectal and anal veins is the most common cause of bleeding hemorrhoids. Straining due to constipation, too much sitting, poor diet, obesity, pregnancy, and lack of exercise are the usual suspects that bring about hemorrhoids.
Bleeding results from inflammation of the veins and tissue in and around the anus. Bleeding hemorrhoids can be treated at home if they aren’t too severe. It’s important to treat a bleeding hemorrhoid as soon as it’s noticed to avoid enlargement and increased pain.
However, if there is heavy bleeding, severe pain, or if the hemorrhoid is prolapsed (protruding through the anus), a doctor should be seen for treatment.
Self-care and home remedies practiced regularly will usually relieve the symptoms of bleeding hemorrhoids. Creams, ointments, pads, and suppositories can be purchased over-the-counter to treat bleeding hemorrhoids.
Products containing corticosteroids act as a vasoconstrictor to reduce bleeding and itching. Witch hazel, petroleum jelly, or aloe vera applied directly with a cotton swab are also effective, soothing home remedies.
Stay away from spicy foods and increase fiber in the diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables and consider adding a fiber supplement.
Drink at least six glasses of water a day and avoid drinking alcohol, sodas, and other caffeinated beverages to promote regularity and healthy bowels.
Keeping the anal area dry and clean will reduce itching and irritation. Moistened toilet paper or towelettes make wiping after a bowel movement less painful; just be sure to gently pat the area dry after wiping.
Regular soaks in warm baths cleanse and soothe inflamed hemorrhoids. A hair dryer set on low can be used after bathing to avoid direct contact with the raw area. One hundred percent cotton undergarments will also promote dryness.
Though the area may itch, try not to scratch as this will exacerbate the bleeding and further inflame the hemorrhoid. Perfumed products and products containing alcohol, such as lotions, scented toilet paper, and body spray are irritants that should be avoided.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing that do not chafe the affected area. A doughnut-shaped foam pillow to make sitting easier can be bought where medical supplies are sold.
If bleeding hemorrhoids persist beyond a few days with home self-care, seek help from a physician who can present medical alternatives.