If you’ve ever suffered the pain and discomfort of external hemorrhoids, you’ll know how uncomfortable they can make you feel. You’ll naturally be wondering how long do external hemorrhoids last, and what can you do to help them heal faster? Let’s take a look at the causes and symptoms of external hemorrhoids, and what you can do to get relief as quickly as possible.
What Causes External Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing condition that affects the area around the anus. Hemorrhoids are actually swollen blood vessels, which have become inflamed and painful. This is often caused by something as simple as straining a lot when passing a bowel movement.
External hemorrhoids occur when the blood vessels just under the skin of the anus becomes inflamed.
There are some risk factors that increase your risk of developing hemorrhoids, including:
- Being overweight
- Being over the age of 45
- Being pregnant
- Having a history of hemorrhoids in your family
What Are The Symptoms Of External Hemorrhoids?
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids are:
- Itching around the rectal area
- Pain around the rectal area
- Blood in the stool or after a bowel movement
- Bleeding from the back passage
- A palpable lump at the outside or just inside the anus
For repeat sufferers, the symptoms of hemorrhoids are often instantly recognizable. For more severe or ongoing symptoms, your healthcare practitioner might recommend a procedure such as a protoscopy or colonoscopy for a more thorough examination. However, discussion of your symptoms and sometimes a digital rectal exam is usually enough to diagnose a simple case of external hemorrhoids.
How Long Can I Expect External Hemorrhoids To Last?
Most cases of external hemorrhoids will subside in a few days, though some bouts may last as long as two weeks.
If you’ve suffered with external hemorrhoids before, you may find that subsequent inflammations last a little longer than your first bout.
How Can I Treat External Hemorrhoids?
If you find yourself suffering with external hemorrhoids, it’s natural that you will want to get relief from the unpleasant symptoms as quickly as you can. So what can you do?
You can buy several over the counter remedies designed to help relieve the pain and itching of external hemorrhoids. These often come in the form of a cream that you apply directly to the affected area, or you can find them in the form of suppositories. Many people find these topical treatments are adequate for helping to relieve symptoms. You might also try over the counter pain relief if your external hemorrhoids are causing you pain.
There are a few simple things you can do at home to help ease your symptoms too:
- Avoid using perfumed soaps or lotions around the affected area
- Wash gently with warm water in the shower
- Pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing dry
- Clean gently with moistened toilet paper rather than wiping after each bowel movement
- Apply ice to the affected area several times a day
- Try a sitz bath – run three inches of warm water (not too hot!) in your bathtub and sit in it for fifteen minutes
- Try sitting on a pillow to relieve the pressure
- Opt for loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t put pressure around your bottom
- Choose underwear made of cotton to let the area breathe
If your hemorrhoids are severe or recurring, your doctor may recommend a small surgical procedure to remove them.
Preventing External Hemorrhoids From Recurring:
If you’ve suffered with external hemorrhoids, naturally you will want to stop them coming back! Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk in the future:
- Add more fiber to your diet for healthier bowel habits
- Drink plenty of water on a daily basis
- Stay healthy with regular exercise
- Try to avoid medications that cause constipation
- Don’t resist the urge to pass a bowel movement, as this can cause harder stools or more pressure
External hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable condition. Try some gentle over the counter and home remedies to relieve the discomfort, and make healthy lifestyle changes to keep your bowels healthy and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids coming back.