Bleeding hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the anal and rectal areas that have become so swollen and irritated that they begin to seep blood. Considered to be more serious than other forms of hemorrhoids, the bleeding variety is more susceptible to infection and often more painful. There is also much less chance of hemorrhoids of this type clearing up on their own.
There are several reasons why bleeding hemorrhoids may occur. One has to do with the strength of the veins themselves. Weaker veins can collapse due to straining that may occur when constipation is present. This additional pressure can cause one of more of the veins to rupture, allowing blood to leak from the anus or to mix with stool as it passes out of the body.
Women who are prone to develop hemorrhoids from time to time may find that they experience bleeding hemorrhoids during pregnancy. The additional strain on the pelvic area may generate enough additional pressure while sitting or attempting to void the system that the veins rupture. This leads to the appearance of blood in the stool.
While bleeding hemorrhoids can happen to people of all ages, there is some evidence that the potential for developing this type of health issue increases with age. Some believe this is due to the natural changes that occur in the strength of tissue and veins as an individual grows older. Others believe that the apparent increase of bleeding hemorrhoids in older people has more to do with activity levels and dietary habits.
In terms of hemorrhoid pain, it is not unusual for bleeding hemorrhoids to be more painful than veins that are inflamed and swollen, but do not actually rupture. Because of the ruptures, many of the over-the-counter and home remedies that are effective with hemorrhoids in general may not be appropriate when bleeding is present. The best option is to see a doctor immediately if blood begins to appear in the stool or on the toilet paper.
Bleeding hemorrhoid treatment usually comes in the form of surgery. The exact nature of the surgery will depend on whether the problem involves internal or external hemorrhoids, or a combination of the two. Procedures designed to help ease the swelling while also repairing the ruptures are effective, but often quite painful in their own right. The recovery period may be almost as painful as the hemorrhoids were previously. However, surgery does facilitate the healing and also reduces the chance of infection due to bacteria.
Some methods used to treat a prolapsed hemorrhoid may also be effective with a bleeding hemorrhoid. A stapling procedure can be employed that will help to close the lesions, prevent infection, and gradually allow the swelling to respond to medicated creams and ointments that are applied directly. This approach can be used when the bleeding hemorrhoids are not considered severe enough to merit more aggressive surgical procedures.