In a few words
DISCOMFORT, ITCHING, PAIN IN THE ANAL AREA... ARE THOSE HAEMORRHOIDS? BY THE WAY, WHAT IS A HAEMORRHOIDAL ATTACK? HOW CAN YOU RELIEVE IT? WE ANSWER THE QUESTIONS YOU DON’T DARE TO ASK! DON’T PANIC, WE KNOW IT’S NOT FOR YOU, IT’S FOR A FRIEND.
First of all, did you know that more than 60% of people over 45 have had haemorrhoids(3, 5)? That’s right, that’s a lot of people! But it’s your friend that you want to get the information for, isn’t it? Well, here’s what you can tell her about the haemorrhoidal attack. It manifests itself through various occasional and easily recognizable symptoms:
The severity of these symptoms depends on the stage of the haemorrhoidal episode. For how long? A mild and slowed attack, usually lasts 5 to 6 days from the first signs(3).
Haemorrhoids refer to the blood vessels around and inside the rectoanal area(1, 4). They are painless in their normal state! It’s when one of these veins dilate abnormally that the symptoms mentioned above occur. This is known as a haemorrhoidal attack, more commonly referred to as “having haemorrhoids”. Did your friend know that?
Inflammation of the local venous plexus may also involve two areas: internal haemorrhoids, located inside the anus and in the lower part of the rectum, or external haemorrhoids, which are located around the anal orifice(1, 3).
The causes are varied, which is why many people suffer from it during their lives. But not you, since you’re reading this article to help a friend. So you can tell her that one of the most common causes of haemorrhoidal disorders is pregnancy! In fact, haemorrhoids in pregnant women are very common; 1/3 expectant mothers are affected(3, 6). And that’s not all! Childbirth is often accompanied by a haemorrhoidal episode. What a joy to give life. The appearance of haemorrhoids can also be promoted by:
If local hygiene is important in all circumstances, it’s all the more important during a haemorrhoidal attack! It is preferable to use a soaked cleansing cloth rather than toilet paper after bowel movements. When showering, cold water is recommended for the anal area. Then make sure you dry yourself well.
When it comes to the treatment of haemorrhoids, there are different ways of treating haemorrhoids at home. Various products are available in pharmacies and drugstores. These may be oral treatments, products for local application such as creams or suppositories, phytotherapy(3), or homeopathy.
Your friend can ask her pharmacist, doctor, or specialist for advice.
NB! Aspirin is not recommended for haemorrhoidal disorders: its action makes the blood thinner and may therefore increase the risk of local bleeding(1).
(1)The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, “Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Hemorrhoids https://www.fascrs.org/sites/default/files/downloads/publication/cpg_management_of_hemorrhoids.pdf, 2018.
(2)The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, “Hemorrhoids: Expanded Version,” https://www.fascrs.org/patients/disease-condition/hemorrhoids-expanded-version.
(3)The French Society of Colo-Proctologie, “Recommandations pour la pratique clinique du traitement de la maladie hemorroïdaire” https://www.snfcp.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/Recommandations/RPC-MALADIE-HEMORROIDAIRE.pdf, 2013.
(4) NHS, «Piles (haemorrhoids),» https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/piles-haemorrhoids/, 2019.
(5)Ameli.fr, “Le traitement des hémorroïdes” https://www.ameli.fr/flandres-dunkerque-armentieres/assure/sante/themes/hemorroides/traitement, 2018.
(6)GARRIGUES JM., ROUILLON JM. Haemorrhoids and pregnancy. Med Chir Dig 1992; 21 (4): 191-