Swollen veins characterized by bleeding, pain, irritation and itching are termed as hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids that develop at the bottom of the rectum or in the anal canal are termed as internal hemorrhoids and those that develop in the anus under the skin are termed as external hemorrhoids. Force exerted on the swollen veins during bowel movements ruptures the sensitive skin or mucous layer covering the hemorrhoid tissue. This results in bleeding hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoid bleeding due to internal hemorrhoids may or may not be painful but bleeding due to external hemorrhoids is often painful. In some cases, external hemorrhoids may not bleed but may develop clots within the tissue forming thrombosed hemorrhoids. Formation of clots causes severe pain. To prevent worsening of the condition and development of complications such as anemia it is essential to treat bleeding hemorrhoids immediately.
How to stop hemorrhoid bleeding?
Before starting treatment for bleeding hemorrhoids know if the bleeding is due to hemorrhoids or other causes. Presence of dark colored blood indicates bleeding hemorrhoids. But, a much darker blood indicates other serious conditions such as anal fissures, polyps etc. If you suspect hemorrhoids, consult a physician to affirm presence of bleeding hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoid bleeding can be controlled by using hemorrhoid creams, herbal remedies and drugs. If bleeding does not stop through creams or home remedies then surgery or non surgical procedures may be used to control bleeding hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoid creams: A number of herbal creams and suppositories are available over the counter to control bleeding hemorrhoids
- Creams made of herbs such as Witch Hazel and butcher’s broom. Astringent action of witch hazel reduces hemorrhoid bleeding and also controls the infection.
- Hemorrhoid creams containing hydrocortisone control swelling and itching.
- Vasoconstrictor creams containing phenylephrine constrict the veins and reduce bleeding.
Precautions to be followed while using hemorrhoid creams
- Apply the cream as indicated on the pack.
- Clean the area as well as the applicator before applying the cream.
- Do not use hemorrhoid creams for prolonged periods.
- Avoid using external hemorrhoid creams for internal hemorrhoids.
- Know if you are allergic to any of the ingredients contained in the hemorrhoid creams.
- Hemorrhoid patients suffering with diabetes and cardiovascular problems should avoid using hemorrhoid creams containing phenylephrine.
Home remedies to stop hemorrhoid bleeding
- Soften the stools: Hard stools exert pressure on swollen veins increasing the risk for further bleeding. Hence, to control bleeding soften the stools by taking plenty of water and stool softeners if required as suggested by the physician.
- Increase the bulk of the stools: Take fiber rich foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables to increase the bulk of the stools. If the daily diet does not provide sufficient fiber then take fiber supplements. Bulky stools pass out of the anus easily without exerting pressure on walls of anal canal.
- Take care of diet: Diet rich in nutrients often reduces the risk of development of hemorrhoids. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, alcohol and soda to prevent dehydration that further worsens the problem. Take bioflavonoid containing foods such as onion, mangoes, garlic and green tea to strengthen the blood vessels, reduce bleeding and inflammation.
- Maintain regular meal timings: Never skip meals or eat haphazardly at irregular intervals to avoid indigestion that aggravates constipation. Eat regularly at specific timings to maintain healthy bowel movements.
- Soothe the affected portion: Take sitz baths with warm water mixed with Epsom salt or use ice packs to soothe the irritated skin. Sitz bath shrinks the hemorrhoid tissue and reduces irritation and bleeding.
- Reduce pressure on hemorrhoids: sitting for long hours makes the hemorrhoids worse. Hence, use donut shaped cushions if you have to sit for long hours.
- Regular practice of exercises helps to strengthen the veins and promote faster healing.
Non-surgical methods to treat hemorrhoid bleeding
Mild hemorrhoids that cannot be controlled by home remedies and creams are regulated using non-surgical procedures such as sclerotherapy, laser coagulation, infrared coagulation and rubber band ligation. These procedures shrink the hemorrhoid tissue by cutting blood supply to the swollen tissue.
Surgical procedures to control hemorrhoid bleeding
In few people hemorrhoids keep recurring. In such people, permanent relief from bleeding hemorrhoids is possible through hemorrhoidectomy (surgical procedure to remove the hemorrhoids). Conventional hemorrhoidectomy is often associated with post-surgery complications. Stapled hemorrhoidectomy is a type of hemorrhoidectomy that eliminates swollen tissue without causing severe complications.
Among the available methods to regulate hemorrhoid bleeding choose a method that best suits your condition, health status and affordability. If you are undergoing surgery choose an expert physician to reduce the risk of complications such as bleeding.