A Guide to Internal vs External Hemorrhoids

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The overall prevalence of hemorrhoids (or piles) worldwide is about 4.4%, which may seem small, but that’s still millions of people. In other words, if you’ve experienced hemorrhoids, you’re not alone.

Many people don’t know the difference between internal vs external hemorrhoids. They know that they’re experiencing discomfort, but they can’t tell what the problem is. What’s the difference, anyway?

We’re here to talk about it. Read on to learn all about internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids, and the difference between them. As a bonus, we’ll also discuss preventative methods so you can avoid this uncomfortable condition!

What Are Internal Hemorrhoids?

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Internal hemorrhoids are a common condition that affects the blood vessels in the rectum and anus. Unlike external hemorrhoids, which appear outside of the anus, internal hemorrhoids develop inside the lower rectum. They can be difficult to spot or diagnose.

They are far less common than external hemorrhoids.

How to Identify Internal Hemorrhoids

Internal hemorrhoids can cause various uncomfortable symptoms. These include rectal bleeding, itching, and discomfort. Blood in the stool or on the toilet paper after wiping is a common sign of internal hemorrhoids.

In some more extreme cases, internal hemorrhoids may prolapse or protrude outside of the anus, causing pain and irritation. This may be the only visible sign that someone has internal hemorrhoids.

Treatment Options

Treating internal hemorrhoids can be tricky.

Because they’re internal, topical treatment isn’t always an option. A cold compress pressed against the area may be beneficial, albeit uncomfortable.

You can also use over-the-counter creams and suppositories, but make sure to read the instructions and ensure that they’re appropriate for internal use. You can also take anti-inflammatory medications.

If your discomfort persists, you may want to talk to a doctor about how to remove piles massa comfortably (with or without surgery).

What Are External Hemorrhoids? 

External hemorrhoids are far more common than internal hemorrhoids.

They’re characterized by swollen veins located around the anus and lower rectum. Unlike internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids appear on the outside and they’re visible. They often cause discomfort, pain, itching, and swelling in the affected area.

There are many factors that can cause them. These include straining during bowel movements, chronic constipation or diarrhea, obesity, and prolonged sitting.

Many people start getting external hemorrhoids after pregnancy.

How to Identify External Hemorrhoids

Most people notice pain, discomfort, and itching when they have external hemorrhoids. You may also see them! They’re swollen and red and they may cause bleeding.

If you experience swelling and redness around your anus, hemorrhoids are a likely culprit.

Treatment Options

As with internal hemorrhoids, over-the-counter medications and creams can be beneficial. There are a few other options as well, however.

Many people find relief after sitting in a warm bath for ten to fifteen minutes. This can ease the swelling and pain. Avoid having any harsh soaps in the bath with you.

A sitz bath is another good option. Fill it with warm water and use it up to three times per day or after every bowel movement. You can even add Epsom salt to it for even more relief.

Applying aloe vera gel to the affected area may be beneficial. It has anti-inflammatory properties which may reduce redness and swelling. Coconut oil has similar benefits.

You should wear loose clothing while trying to heal your external hemorrhoids. You should also make sure to wear clean and breathable undergarments.

While you’re healing, you should also drink plenty of water. Fluid intake is key here.

Internal vs External Hemorrhoids: The Main Difference

The primary difference between internal and external hemorrhoids is how they present.

Internal hemorrhoids rarely have visible symptoms unless you’re experiencing a prolapse. All symptoms are internal.

External hemorrhoids are visible. The characteristic redness and swelling is obvious. They’re easier to diagnose as a result.

Preventing Hemorrhoids 

So how do you prevent hemorrhoids?

You should maintain a high-fiber diet. This will make your bowel movements easier and more regular and make you less likely to strain while using the restroom (an action that contributes to hemorrhoids). Eat plenty of legumes, fruits, and vegetables, and avoid foods that can trigger constipation.

Aim for at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

You should also drink plenty of water. Water is great for your digestion and, again, it will make your bowel movements easier.

Avoid straining during bowel movements. Take your time and allow your body to naturally eliminate waste. If you find yourself straining, use a stool or footrest to elevate your feet slightly, which can help achieve a more natural squatting position that promotes easier bowel movements.

You should also avoid sitting on the toilet for extended periods. Prolonged sitting can put unnecessary pressure on the anal area.

Maintaining proper hygiene in the anal area can help prevent irritation and inflammation that can contribute to hemorrhoids. Consider using a bidet or gentle baby wipes after bowel movements.

Don’t Worry: Hemorrhoids Are Normal

Many people find hemorrhoids embarrassing, but they aren’t. Many people experience them, and with proper care, they’ll generally go away without medical intervention.

When it comes to internal vs external hemorrhoids, both are unpleasant, but they’re not the same. If you’re not sure which you have, and you’re uncomfortable, it never hurts to visit a doctor for help.

You can find relief from your hemorrhoids.

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