Can hemorroids kill you?
Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins that are located around your anus and lower rectum. They are commonly known as piles. Hemorrhoids can cause a lot of discomfort and pain, and bleeding also. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 50% of adults over 50 years experience hemorrhoids.
We all have hemorrhoidal tissues in our rectum, that’s made up of blood vessels, connective tissues, and some muscles, but they only become a problem when certain factors cause them to become enlarged or swollen. But can hemorrhoids kill you? You’re about to find out.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS?
As we have said, hemorrhoids are distended and enlarged tissues of the rectum and anus. There are two types of hemorrhoids: Internal and External hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are usually not visible to the naked eyes, because they develop inside the rectum. Although in some cases they may protrude through the anus, and then can be seen. In this case, it is said that hemorrhoid has become prolapsed.
Internal hemorrhoids are generally not painful but can cause severe bleeding. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, can be seen as they develop under the skin around the outside of the anus. Unlike internal hemorrhoids, these hemorrhoids cause great discomfort. They can be itchy, painful, and feel lumpy.
Sometimes, blood clots within external hemorrhoid, this is known as a thrombosed hemorrhoid. Although these clots dissolve on their own or can be removed by a doctor through a specific procedure, while it’s still on external hemorrhoid, it stimulates more pain.
CAUSES OF HEMORRHOIDS
Doctors have not been able to understand fully the exact cause of hemorrhoids, however, certain conditions and habits can trigger it to appear, such as:
- Chronic Constipation: When you’re constipated, bowel movements become difficult, so you’re unable to pass stool, hence you strain to move stool. This puts a lot of pressure on the walls of the blood vessels and affects the flow of blood in your rectum or around your anus.
- Chronic Diarrhea: Similar to the case in chronic constipation, shortly after cases of chronic diarrhea, with the pressure put on the blood vessels around your anus and rectum, the walls of the vessels could stretch and become irritated, thereby causing hemorrhoids to develop.
- Prolonged Sitting: Sitting for too long, especially on toilet seats, can also cause hemorrhoids, as blood flow to the anus and rectum can be affected by sitting for too long, and when that happens, blood does not flow at its expected rate within the vessels, resulting in the occurrence of hemorrhoid.
- Diet: Your type of diet could also contribute to your development of hemorrhoids. For instance, a lack of fiber in your diet may encourage poor bowel movements, which can cause constipation, and eventually hemorrhoids.
- Obesity: Research has it that being overweight can cause hemorrhoids, as increased pressure within the abdomen as a result of the accumulation of fatty tissues can put pressure on the hemorrhoidal tissue, causing it to distend.
- Aging: Although both children and young adults can experience hemorrhoids, it is most common among older adults above the age of 50. This is because as we age, our connective tissues become weaker, and weak connective tissues in the anus and rectum can potentially lead to the protruding of hemorrhoidal tissue.
- Anal Intercourse: The pressure from having anal intercourse could cause new hemorrhoid or worsen an existing one.
- Genetics: For some people, having hemorrhoids is a matter of their genes. You may have inherited the tendency to develop hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy: About 35% of pregnant women experience hemorrhoids. As the fetus matures, additional pressure is put on the abdomen, so the tissues in the rectum become weak and hormones cause the veins to relax and swell. However, this usually goes away after childbirth.
SYMPTOMS OF HEMORRHOIDS
If you’re having hemorrhoids, often you may notice symptoms like:
- Bleeding on the toilet paper, toilet seat, or your stool
- Itching or irritation in your anal region
- One or more hard, and painful lumps around your anal region
- Pain in the anal region, especially when you’re sitting or having bowel movements
- Dilation or budging of a vein
- Swelling and soreness around your anal region.
CAN HEMORRHOIDS KILL YOU?
No, hemorrhoids cannot kill you. Regardless of how discomforting and painful the experience might be, hemorrhoids cannot kill you. Sure, hemorrhoids can cause certain health complications, especially if left untreated, however, hemorrhoids themselves cannot kill you.
COMPLICATIONS OF HEMORRHOIDS
When hemorrhoids become too full of blood, they can burst, this will make you feel severe rectal pain and you may notice blood and pus in your anal region. If you notice this, it will be best to seek urgent medical attention, to prevent further complications such as the death of the affected tissue and infection of hemorrhoid. Both internal and external hemorrhoids can lead to health complications.
Complications due to internal hemorrhoids can be:
- Internal bleeding
- Prolapsed internal hemorrhoid which becomes visible from the anus
- Infected internal hemorrhoid
Meanwhile, complications due to external hemorrhoid may include:
- Blood clots due to affected blood flow
- Hard lumps and skin tags
- Strangulated hemorrhoid
CAN HEMORRHOIDS KILL YOU BY ANEMIA?
Although anemia due to hemorrhoids is an extremely rare case, it does happen. Anemia is a serious medical condition where the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. There are different types of anemia, but one that caused due to hemorrhoids is iron deficiency anemia. The presence of iron in the blood is important as it makes up most of the hemoglobin content of the red blood cells.
Iron deficiency anemia is the type of anemia that occurs when the levels of iron intake, iron stores, and that lost are not enough for the production of more red blood cells. Blood loss is one of the major causes of iron deficiency, and as we can see with hemorrhoids, a lot of blood is lost, especially in internal hemorrhoids. Anemia due to hemorrhoids may not cause death, but it’ll have a significant impact on your health.
If you have become anemic due to hemorrhoids, you may notice symptoms such as:
- Feeling of weakness due to excess loss of blood
- Stomach cramps or severe abdominal pain
- You may bleed easily in your anal region when you strain
If you notice these symptoms, or you suspect that you may have become anemic while having a hemorrhoid, contact your doctor immediately.
CAN HEMORRHOIDS KILL YOU WHEN IT IS INFECTED?
This is rare also, like anemia due to hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are rarely infected, however, prolapsed internal hemorrhoids are more prone to infection, due to restricted blood flow to the anus and rectum, this is known as strangulation. When blood flow is restricted, the supply of white blood cells and certain proteins that play a part in the immune system is restricted also, so infection becomes possible.
You may be susceptible to strangulation if you have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, HIV, or any immune system disease and blood clots. Apart from restricted blood flow, another thing that could cause hemorrhoids to become infected is the procedure used in treating hemorrhoids.
For instance, in the rubber band ligation used to treat hemorrhoids, the doctor places a band around hemorrhoid and cuts off its blood supply, so hemorrhoid dies and falls off. However, during this procedure, the affected tissue is prone to infection from bacteria in your intestine.
If your hemorrhoid is infected, among other symptoms of hemorrhoid, you may also notice symptoms such as:
- Severe pain even after standard hemorrhoid treatment
- Redness around the infected site of the anus
If you have reasons to suspect that your hemorrhoid is infected, consult your doctor immediately as an infected hemorrhoid can potentially lead to life-threatening complications such as peritonitis – an infection of the abdominal wall and internal organs.
TREATMENTS OF HEMORRHOID
To ease the pain and discomfort from hemorrhoids, here are some home remedies that you may find helpful:
- Use alcohol-free soothing wipes after using the bathroom. They’re known to provide immediate relief.
- Use a stool softener to reduce pain during bowel movements and also reduce the amount of strain you have to put in to pass out stool.
- There are hemorrhoid creams or suppositories available that offer short-term relief you could try.
- The use of OTC pain relievers such as acetaminophen will help decrease pain.
However, if you have severe hemorrhoid, you may need a more standard medical treatment such as:
- Rubber band ligation
- Surgical removal
- Laser piles treatment
Can hemorrhoids kill you? It may cause some discomfort, bleeding, and pain, but hemorrhoids cannot kill you. However, always seek medical treatments if you have hemorrhoids because if left untreated, hemorrhoids could get infected and that can have an impact, negatively, on your health.