Hemorrhoids are common among people of all ages.
However, people in the age bracket of 45 to 65 are most vulnerable to piles.
According to some estimates, 75 percent of people will have hemorrhoids at some point in life.
Three out of every four people get piles at least once in life.
Pains and pangs of this disease are tormenting.
Most patients are seriously worried about how long do the hemorrhoids last.
How long does it take for hemorrhoids to shrink and heal depends on several factors? We are coming to all that in the latter part of this article.
What are hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus.
Piles can occur externally or internally.
Internal hemorrhoids occur inside the rectum while the external one happens outside of the anal opening.
Inflammation in the exterior part of the anus can be very itchy and painful compared to the interior one.
Hemorrhoids cause bleeding from the anus during bowel movements.
Many hemorrhoid patients do not realize the onset of the illness during the initial period. If you are aware of the signs of piles, you can easily diagnose them by yourself.
So, what are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
The symptoms of hemorrhoids according to a Mayo Clinic report are:
- Painless bleeding during bowel movements — you may find some traces of red blood on the toilet tissue papers you use
- Pain and irritation in rectum and anus
- Continuous itching in and around the anal region
- Sensitive or painful lumps growing around the anus opening
- Swelling around the anus.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice some traces of blood on your toilet tissue paper or stool. Bleeding during bowel movements can happen because of other reasons as well.
What causes Hemorrhoids?
According to a research report published by the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the actual causes of hemorrhoids are not known.
Few of the early studies suggested the reasons for piles as body habits, diet habits, sedentary life, tight-laced clothes, climate, or temperament.
Evidence from past studies suggests that piles most commonly are seen in people under the following circumstances or conditions:
- spinal-cord injuries
- erratic bathroom habits
- chronic diarrhea
- postponing bowel movements
- a poor-fiber diet
- excessive dehydration.
Some of the recent studies have found a few more reasons for piles such as:
- the weakness of blood vessels walls in and around the rectum
- genetic predisposition
- excessive adnominal pressure from many causes
- prolonged forceful Valsalva defecation
- constipated stool in the rectal ampulla.
How long do hemorrhoids last?
It depends on the severity of the inflammation and the health conditions of the patient.
If you have a minor or small hemorrhoid, the symptoms of the disease may clear up within a few days. In such cases, medication may not be required. A few changes in diet and lifestyle habits can do magic.
Sometimes internal hemorrhoids prolapse or protrude outside the anus. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are a recurring incidence in many patients.
Hemorrhoids with protruded lumps around the anus take a longer time to heal. If the condition is severe, your physician may even perform minor surgery to remove the lumps. It may take a few weeks to completely overcome the issue.
Women who get hemorrhoids during pregnancy may have to wait up to childbirth to get rid of the disease. Piles during pregnancy usually happen from the third trimester when the increased abdominal pressure makes the veins in her rectum and anus larger.
How long does it take for hemorrhoids to shrink and heal?
There is no specific time frame for how long it takes to for the hemorrhoids to shrink and heal.
Patients suffering from recurring incidences of hemorrhoids may take a longer time to heal.
Medical intervention is necessary to get rid of piles fast.
Herbal remedies work for eliminating this inflammatory disease in the anus, but they take a little longer time than prescription medicines.
Recovery time also depends on how fast and well do patient’s body responds to the medicines.
Hemorrhoids may last up to three weeks in most cases though they start shrinking within a week.
A surgical process known as Hemorrhoidectomy is used for removing big lumps around the opening of the anus caused by piles. After the surgery, it may take several weeks to achieve complete healing.
Prolapsed hemorrhoids take a much longer time to shrink and heal.
Do hemorrhoids go away on their own?
Small external and internal hemorrhoids usually disappear on their own within ten days.
In many cases, the patients don’t even realize that they have had a hemorrhoids problem.
If the pile is not serious just doing some natural home remedies can reduce its symptoms quickly. Home remedies help in reducing the pain, itching, and irritation caused by the illness.
A severe hemorrhoidal inflammation will not go away on its own if the following symptoms exist:
- Continuous rectal bleeding
- Severe pain, itching, and unbearable irritation
- Despite the use of home remedies, hemorrhoids persist and increase as the days pass by
- Stools you pass look maroon or tarry in color.
If such symptoms exist you need to consult your physician and follow the recommended treatments.
The Mayo Clinic recommends the following recommendations to make hemorrhoid heal by itself:
- Eat high fiber foods and drink a lot of fluids
- Avoid straining the anus and rectum while pooping
- Avoid sitting on the toilet commodes for a long time
- Keep the anal area clean
- Avoid using dry toilet tissue paper
- Soak affected area frequently in a warm bath or sitz bath
- Use topical treatments
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses
- Take oral pain relievers like Tylenol, Ibuprofen or aspirin
- Do not hold up the urge for a bowel movement
- Keep your legs raised on a small stool to reduce the strain on the rectum while sitting.
- If you are pregnant sleep on your side to relieve the pressure on the anus
- Use fiber supplements like Psyllium (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) to make bowel movements smooth and easy
Best treatment options for hemorrhoids
Small hemorrhoids that occur to most people heal by themselves without prescription treatments. Just a little change in lifestyle and diet habits is more than enough to get well.
But if you are suffering from severe hemorrhoids with continuous pain, bleeding, and growing lumps around the anus, you should visit a doctor.
Depending upon the condition of your hemorrhoids your doctor may recommend medical procedures to shrink and heal the hemorrhoids.
Here are some of the commonly followed treatment options for piles:
- Rubber band ligation: Tying a tight rubber band around the base of lumps to cut off the blood supply to hemorrhoids.
- Infrared Coagulation: Using infrared light, heat, or extreme cold to shrink hemorrhoids.
- Sclerotherapy: Injecting chemicals to shrink the hemorrhoids.
- Surgery: When all other treatment options do not respond, or the hemorrhoids are large; use a surgical process to remove the lumps.
- Stapling: Stapled hemorrhoidectomy or stapled hemorrhoidopexy is used in treating internal hemorrhoids. This heals the internal hemorrhoids by blocking the blood flow to hemorrhoidal tissues.
DIY solutions for hemorrhoids
Home remedies help in inflammation and swelling resulting from hemorrhoids. They also help in getting relief from pain and itchiness.
Here are some of the proven home remedies that work well for managing the symptoms of piles:
- Witch hazel: Tannins contained in witch hazel reduces bleeding and swelling; heals and shrinks piles quickly.
- Aloe Vera: Soothes the inflamed skin by reducing swelling, pain, and itching.
- Apple cider vinegar: Effective for reducing inflammation and itching.
- Tea tree oil: Anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of this TTO alleviate pain, itching, and shrink the swollen veins.
- Cold compress: It numbs the inflamed skin to reduce the pain and itching; it also shrinks the swollen veins.
- Sitz bath: Sit in warm water (preferably with Epsom salt and witch hazel added to it) to help relieve pain and itching in the anus: this also cleanses the perineum.
Do hemorrhoids return?
A recurring occurrence of hemorrhoids can happen.
When the patient fails to keep up with the required lifestyle and diet habits, the chances of hemorrhoids return is very high.
One study in 2004 observed 231 hemorrhoids patients checking the rate of recurrence of hemorrhoids. The results showed that Hemorrhoids recurred in 6.3 percent of the people who had surgery and in 25.4 percent of the people who healed hemorrhoids with home remedies.
To stop the return of hemorrhoids consciously eliminate the specific causes that are responsible for hemorrhoids in you.
How to prevent it?
Here are a few tips for preventing the reoccurrence of piles:
- Identify the shortfalls in your diet and lifestyle habits that are responsible for hemorrhoids in you.
- Continue to use the home remedies twice or thrice a week to prevent the recurrence of piles.
- Compulsorily include high fiber foods in your daily diet; drink at least 8 cups of water.
- Engage in active physical exercises for at least 30 minutes a day for better bowel movements.
- If you are overweight reduce your weight.
- Choose comfortable sitting and eating positions to reduce strain on the rectum area.