Hemorrhoids can cause bloody stool, itching and discomfort in various degrees from mild to severe hemorrhoids pain. When dealing with hemorrhoids stages 1-3 some standard basic advice centred around lifestyle changes, eating habits and hydration is commonly given. This is still relevant at stage 4, even though discussion (at that stage) often shifts over to whether a hemorrhoidectomy may be required or not.
How To Deal With Hemorrhoids Successfully
Dealing with hemorrhoids and preventing further flare ups will inevitably involve some commitment to lifestyle adjustment, dietary improvement, adequate hydration, and other practices discussed elsewhere on this site. Also, you have the option of doctor prescribed or OTC medication. Alternatively natural hemorrhoid treatments have increasingly become an important part of dealing with hemorrhoids in a way that helps with prevention, as well as alleviating symptoms.
All these things have the potential to help whether you are in a mild or more severe stage of piles. If you are willing to find out more and take action, it is more than possible that you will not only find relief, but hopefully stop the pain of hemorrhoids from encroaching into your life on a regular or semi-regular basis, as as often tends to happen.
However, (in some rare cases – stage 4) it may be a little too late to expect good results in an acceptable period of time, from any actions taken or treatments tried in stages 1 – 3. What happens when the condition has become too severe?
Hemorrhoids – The 4 Stages
Doctors have differentiated the stages of hemorrhoids into 4 levels of severity. Understanding clearly what stage you are at can help in dealing with hemorrhoids correctly.
These stages can be summarized based on whether the hemorrhoid has completely prolapsed or not and if it can be pushed back into place manually:
Stage 1: The vein has not prolapsed, but the blood vessels are prominent.
Stage 2: Under pressure when bearing down, the hemorrhoid prolapses but it then reduces on its own once pressure is taken away.
Stage 3: Prolapse occurs when the patient bears down, and manual reduction is necessary afterward.
Stage 4: The vein has prolapsed and cannot be reduced manually.
Now that we have the basic definitions of the stages and types of hemorrhoids, let’s talk more specifically about how to deal with hemorrhoids based on what stage you have.
Hemorrhoids Stage 1
If your doctor catches the problem early, you may only have a minor amount of rectal bleeding and/or a small amount of irritation during your bowel movements. For mild hemorrhoid symptoms like this, you can prevent the veins from prolapsing and causing more chronic problems by changing your diet.
In fact there are a host of lifestyle adjustments, immediate actions for fast relief, and natural remedies with effective ingredients that you can take to relieve and hopefully end the pain before the condition deteriorates.
For patients with Stage 1 hemorrhoids, the experts at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons recommend increasing fiber intake. Hydration is important, and it’s also recommended that you avoid both fatty and spicy foods and certain anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin.
Basically, when treating either the mildest or more severe case of piles, you need to at least aim for a healthy body weight, certainly maintain good hydration, and avoid straining during bowel movements. Treatment of mild external hemorrhoids is almost exactly the same as treatment for internal hemorrhoids. If you have problems with constipation, your doctor may recommend a stool softener.
Hemorrhoids Stage 2
In Stage 2, the vein prolapses when you bear down during a bowel movement, but it returns to normal when you stop straining. As far as hemorrhoid stages go, Stage 2 is still considered mild, and won’t require any intense or invasive treatments.
Stage 2 is treated much the same way as Stage 1. Your doctor will recommend a high-fiber, low-fat diet. If this is your first experience with hemorrhoids, your doctor may leave treatment at lifestyle changes and wait for follow-up examinations before performing any follow-up treatment.
If you have a Stage 2 hemorrhoid, and you don’t want to subject yourself to further medical treatments, you can usually deal with the condition on your own with lifestyle changes and changes to your eating habits. You should know, though, that vigorous or explosive exercise and factors like stress can exacerbate a hemorrhoid.
If you consent to further treatment from your doctor, they may perform a rubber band ligation on the hemorrhoid. According to the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons, during this non-surgical procedure, your doctor will go in with an anoscope, pull out the hemorrhoid, and place a rubber band tightly around its base.
This effectively pinches the vein off where it has prolapsed and restricts blood flow to it. Without blood flow, the hemorrhoid will “die”, detach, and pass with your stool. After this, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent future hemorrhoids from forming.
Hemorrhoids Stage 3 & 4
For most patients, treatment for Stage 3 hemorrhoids is not that different from Stage 2. Your doctor may perform a rubber band ligation, or they may recommend sclerotherapy. In this procedure, your doctor will inject the hemorrhoid with chemical irritants to encourage it to shrink and recede back into place.
These non-surgical methods are usually effective for most patients, even up to Stage 4. Some patients choose these methods to reduce Stage 3 and 4 hemorrhoids down to Stage 1 or 2, so that they are manageable without surgery. For severe hemorrhoids pain, though, a surgical procedure is the best option.
Dealing With Advanced Stages of Hemorrhoids
For very severe Stage 3 or 4 hemorrhoids, your doctor may recommend a hemorrhoidectomy. This is the surgical removal of an internal hemorrhoid, and it’s only required for less than 10% of patients.
When treating severe external hemorrhoids, your doctor may need to excise the hemorrhoid. This is done by administering a local anesthetic and precisely cutting away the hemorrhoid tissue. Often, your doctor will wait to see if your pain improves and you begin to heal on your own before performing the procedure.
We cannot stress enough, no matter what stage or severity of this problem you think you may have, the importance of seeking qualified medical attention and treatment. If you are at all concerned about your hemorrhoids, schedule an appointment with your doctor.