Hemorrhoids are varicosities of the veins around the dentate line of the anal canal. Of all the anorectal disorders, hemorrhoids have the highest rate of occurrence and are commonly believed to be caused by:
- Chronic constipation
- Pregnancy, tumor in the pelvic region, enlarged prostate glands
- Infection, excessive hot and spicy food, alcoholism, inflammation in the rectal region
Hemorrhoids can be classified based on their location into:
- Internal: inflamed and swollen veins above the dentate line at the rectum, and commonly called primary hemorrhoids. Major symptoms are bright red blood covered stools, the gradually growing hemorrhoids will be eventually pushed outside the anus and may stay prolapsed. Internal hemorrhoids can be pathologically classified into three types: varicose vein, inflamed artery and fibrosis.
- Depending on the condition it can be graded into:
- Grade I – bleeding upon defecation and no prolapse;
- Grade II – prolapsed upon defecation but can be pushed back into the anus;
- Grade III – hemorrhoids stay prolapsed.
- External: inflamed and swollen veins below the dentate line at the rectum or skin growth (cutaneous skin tag) at the anus region. Major symptoms are difficulty in cleaning the anus region after bowel movement, pain arising from inflamed veins or blood clots at these veins. External hemorrhoids can be classified into four types: scarring, varicose veins, blood clot, inflammatory.
- Combined: varicose veins both above and below the dentate line, and frequently the internal and external hemorrhoids are connected together. Major symptoms are bright red blood covered stools, prolapsed hemorrhoids, difficulty in cleaning the anus region after bowel movement, itchiness, mucous discharge, in serious cases there may be severe pain caused by the prolapsed and inflamed hemorrhoids.
Why are Hemorrhoid Conditions Common among Females?
It is a commonly held belief that nine out of ten men have hemorrhoids, but in reality the same is also true of women. The reasons for this are:
1. Anatomical: women’s colon is subjected to the pressure exerted by the uterus inside the pelvic cavity and is longer than that of men’s, as a result feces take long time to get to the rectum; such condition can easily lead to constipation and consequently hemorrhoids.
2. Pregnancy: the fetus exerts pressure on the colon and rectum, restraining the return of blood from the veins leading to varicosis and consequently hemorrhoids.
3. Menstruation and leucorrhea: the discharge irritates the region around the anus, which may result in chronic inflammation, followed by abnormal skin tissue growth, eventually developing into hemorrhoids or anal eczema.
4. Childbirth: during the childbirth process, different levels of laceration of the pudendum may occur resulting in swelling and inflammation of the anus with accompanying pain, and developing into external hemorrhoids.
5. Postnatal condition: following childbirth, women may feel emptiness and weakness in the abdomen, with decreased sensation on the urge for bowel movement. The lack of physical activity is also making it difficult for them to have a bowel movement, and as a result feces will remain in the colon for longer periods, leading to dry and harder stools, with the possibility of injuring the anus when straining during bowel movement and developing Anal Fissure.
How Do Seniors Prevent Hemorrhoids and Choose Treatment Methods
Generally seniors have weaker physical conditions and many have cardiovascular and/or neurological disorders, with diminishing functional capacity and lower self-healing capabilities. Under these conditions, surgery to treat the anorectal diseases will carry higher risk – whereas our treatment therapy using external application of our “Ba Zhi San” powder is a completely safe option.
A thorough treatment to take care of the anorectal problems prior to entering advanced age or before any signs of cardiovascular or neurological diseases appear, will make it easier for seniors to maintain a healthier life. Disease prevention is obviously a better choice and to avoid having Hemorrhoids older people should pay attention to the following:
1. Maintain regular routine with diet, sleep, exercise, rest and entertainment, and keep the body in a healthy condition.
2. Have a nutritional diet that provides high protein, multi-vitamins, low fat, low cholesterol, low salt, low sugar. Have meals at regular times, in moderate quantities, neither too hot nor too cold and easy to digest.
3. Exercise at an appropriate intensity level on a consistent basis, avoid being vigorous and excessive.
4. Prevent disease and when sick, seek medical treatment as early as possible. Pay attention to body conditions and have periodic medical checkups so that problems can be dealt with at an early stage.
Wine Drinking and Hemorrhoids
There is a close link between drinking wine and the occurrence or worsening of anorectal diseases. Wine can stimulate blood circulation and relax the walls of the blood vessels, such that too much blood is supplied to the rectal venous vessels. For people with Hemorrhoids, the inflammation will get more severe; to those with Anal Fissure or Fistula, the symptoms will become more serious and pain will intensify.
Drinking wine may occasionally bring temporary pain relief, however, the person may find the next day that the Hemorrhoids will get more swollen and protruding, with excruciating pain.
It has been mentioned in ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine literature that one of the causes of hemorrhoids is alcoholism, because excessive wine will damage the digestive organs, creating “heat” in the body (as defined in T.C.M.) and accumulating toxins in the internal organs, which will eventually be channeled to the colon, leading to stasis followed by bleeding.
Wine has a damaging effect on Hemorrhoid patients and consumption should therefore be reduced or avoided. We should also consider the adverse effects of wine on our liver and heart. One should always limit wine consumption in accordance with one’s health conditions.
Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Constipation is a common symptom of the hemorrhoids patient. Around 50% of the seniors suffer from constipation. Constipation is not only a cause of anorectal diseases like hemorrhoids and fistula, it may also lead to other diseases or worsening of existing disease states.
Constipation can have three different meanings:
- Infrequent bowel movements (less than three times per week): moisture and toxins will be absorbed by the body; decreased elasticity of the anal venous vessels leading to blood stasis
- Difficult bowel movement, not smooth, with feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Dry and hard stools: with tendency of straining on bowel movement thereby injuring the anal muscle, leading to inflammation and abscess, increasing the extent of blood stasis
Chronic constipation may cause more serious complications like intestinal obstruction.