What are Chronic Hemorrhoids?

N. Madison

Some people have hemorrhoids, which are swollen, inflamed veins in the anus or rectum, that cause symptoms for only a short period of time and then do not return. Others, however, have hemorrhoids that cause symptoms over a long period of time or reoccur. Chronic hemorrhoids may affect a person internally, developing inside the rectum and sometimes protruding out of it. Chronic external hemorrhoids, on the other hand, develop around the rim of a person’s anus.

Most people use over-the-counter creams to treat their hemorrhoids.
Most people use over-the-counter creams to treat their hemorrhoids.

In most cases, hemorrhoids are a problem that occur only occasionally. In such cases, a person could possibly have an episode of hemorrhoids and then not have them again for years. In fact, some people who deal with hemorrhoids one time may not ever have them again. With chronic hemorrhoids, however, the symptoms may last longer than two weeks or flare-up repeatedly.

An inflatable 'doughnut' can bring relief to someone with chronic hemorrhoids.
An inflatable 'doughnut' can bring relief to someone with chronic hemorrhoids.

When a person has chronic external hemorrhoids, he has inflamed, swollen veins that appear under the skin around the rim of his anus. In many cases, external hemorrhoids are itchy and some people notice a burning sensation during flare-ups. In fact, some people complain of pain rather than just discomfort when they have hemorrhoids. Chronic external hemorrhoids may also cause bleeding, and some people notice mucus draining in the area.

Chronic internal hemorrhoids are inflamed, bulging veins inside the lower portion of a person’s rectum. While they can protrude from a person’s anus, they don’t always appear on the outside. As such, some people are unaware they have them. When symptoms do occur, they often include bleeding, pain, and itching. Any bleeding that occurs may be evident in a person’s stool or show up on toilet paper when he wipes after a bowel movement. When the veins do not protrude from the anus, however, they usually do not cause pain.

There are many factors that may contribute to the development of chronic hemorrhoids. They include long-term constipation and diarrhea, straining to move one’s bowels, and too little fiber in one’s diet. Sitting on a toilet for extended periods of time and pregnancy may also contribute to the problem. Sometimes women develop hemorrhoids as a result of pushing during child birth, but such cases are often only temporary.

Usually, people use at-home and over-the-counter remedies, such as hemorrhoid creams and sitz baths, to treat cases of hemorrhoids. Unfortunately, however, such treatments may not work as well for chronic cases. Medical treatments for chronic hemorrhoids often include those aimed at cutting off the vein's blood supply. Using agents that cause the affected veins to collapse and applying heat to shrink the affected tissue often works as well.

Chronic hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally.
Chronic hemorrhoids can occur internally or externally.

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