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Bleeding from internal hemorrhoids can cause pain, distress and embarrassment, but the condition is surprisingly common. Occasionally, hemorrhoids are serious and require medical procedures, but often, the patient is able to stop internal hemorrhoids from bleeding with simple measures, such a change of diet. Over-the-counter medication might also provide relief and help to stop the bleeding.
Internal hemorrhoids form as bulbous cushions on the upper wall of the rectal canal. The cause of hemorrhoids is not fully understood, but constipation, sitting for prolonged periods and pregnancy are generally recognized as contributory factors. Symptoms include itching, pain and bleeding.
Constipation and the straining associated with passing hard stools is widely believed to cause hemorrhoids to swell and to aggravate existing hemorrhoids. As the stool passes, pressure and friction can rupture the hemorrhoid and cause pain and bleeding. By treating constipation, the patient can keep the internal hemorrhoids from bleeding.
Increasing dietary fiber can reduce constipation. Many people, especially in the developed world, do not eat enough fiber-rich foods, and including more fiber in the diet can have dramatic results. Dietary fiber supplements and stool softeners might also help to manage constipation.
Hydration is another important way for one to control constipation and manage hemorrhoids. When the body is dehydrated, it draws fluid from any available resources, including the intestine, and this results in a dense, hard stool. Water helps to soften bowel motions so that excessive straining is not required, meaning that any internal hemorrhoids are less likely to bleed.
Doughnut-shaped cushions are often used by patients who have hemorrhoids to minimize pressure on the area while seated. In the bathroom, experts recommend squatting over the toilet rather than sitting on the seat to prevent irritation and promote quick healing. The easiest way to do this is to lift the seat out of the way.
When hemorrhoid bleeding is present, disposable baby wipes can be gentler and clean more thoroughly than toilet paper. Many types of wipes are not intended to be flushed and can cause clogs, but flushable wipes are available, and these generally are preferred. After cleaning with a wet wipe, toilet paper might be needed to dry the area and prevent irritation. Over-the-counter ointments are available for the treatment of hemorrhoids and can be applied after cleaning.
In severe cases, medical attention might be required. Prescription medications might be sufficient, or the doctor might recommend more dramatic treatment for hemorrhoids and the associated bleeding. A variety of nonoperative and surgical procedures are available for extreme cases, but for most patients, gentler measures and home treatment can keep internal hemorrhoids from bleeding.