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Hemorrhoid Thrombosis: How And Why Does It Happen

Hemorrhoids and Blood Circulation Interactions That Cause Thrombosis

Hemorrhoids are produced by the anal portion of the circulatory system. Therefore, in order to really understand thrombosis in hemorrhoids, a good overview of how the circulatory system works can be quite helpful.

From an anatomical point of view, blood is pumped through the body for the purpose of feeding oxygen and nutrients to cells and to remove toxins for breakdown and excretion. The circulatory system accomplishes this goal all over the body through a combination of mechanical and chemical processes that aren't always immediately apparent.

Three types of blood vessels can be found in the circulatory system, arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries carry clean, nutrient laden oxygenated blood from the heart/lung complex out to the rest of the body. These particular blood vessels usually run deep within the body close to the bones to protect them from damage as much as possible. They are constantly under pressure, and the blood within is bright red.

Whenever you have your blood pressure taken, it's the arterial pressure being measured.

When the nurse says you have 120 over 80, the high number is the pressure reading of the artery when under maximum pressure and the low number is the reading under minimum pressure, following your heartbeat.

If you suffer from high cholesterol, you may have a problem with high blood pressure or hypertension. Cholesterol makes the arteries narrower and more rigid, which drives the pressure up as the same amount of liquid (blood) tries to fit into a smaller space, namely the cholesterol clogged vessels.

Veins, on the other hand, carry deoxygenated, toxin laden blood back to the heart, with a stop off at the kidneys and veins to drop off the trash, so to speak. Venous blood is blue when in a vacuum and becomes dark red when exposed to the oxygen in the air. If you have light or thin skin, you may be able to see your veins at certain points on the body, such as the interior of the elbow, as blue lines running just under the surface. They are not under nearly as much pressure and don't pulse with the heart. The vast majority of your blood supply is stored in your veins and usually moves relatively slowly.

Capillaries are the tiny blood vessels that transition between the arterial and the venous system, where blood cells can interact with tissue cells and actually do their work. There are millions of tiny capillaries honeycombing through every cubic centimeter of your body, and they are the vessels by which you gain all the nourishing benefits of blood. They have extremely permeable borders, allowing the individual blood cells to get into and out of tissue.

Did you ever wonder why your blood doesn't just pool in your feet?

While this may seem like an unrelated question, the mechanisms your body uses to keep that from happening actually interact directly with hemorrhoids. All of the veins below the level of your heart have muscular valves that only allow blood to flow through one way, back up towards the heart. Blood is pushed back up by a number of means, including the pressure of new blood being fed in by the arteries to the working and squeezing of your muscles.

That being a given, the majority of your blood volume remains in your legs, and only circulates relatively slowly. If the blood flow rate gets too slow, it has enough time to coagulate or form clots, also known as thrombosis.

Thrombosis can occur anywhere in the body, but clots usually form below the waist due to the nautre of physics. These clots can then travel and lodge somewhere, which is never a simple problem. If that clot is precisely the correct size, it can travel all the way to the heart and cause a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack.

However, any clot large enough to block a blood vessel is a serious problem waiting to happen, and some of those blood vessels are really quite tiny.

Thrombotic clots never develop in arteries because arterial blood moves too fast under too much pressure. In addition, clots don't usually block arteries, having been broken up long before they get there. So, while a blocked blood vessel is usually going to be a vein, while this doesn't cause immediate cell suffocation it still causes significant problems. When a vein is blocked off, the blood within is deoxygenated and loaded with cell toxins waiting for breakdown. This blood is under pressure, however slight, and will start seeping into surrounding tissues and releasing those toxins, leading to tissue irritation and eventual cellular poisoning.

Capillaries in particular are easy to clog, but there are so many of them in such a small space that it generally doesn't cause immediate problems. However, if not taken care of relatively quickly, capillary clogging leads to the same problems as vein blockage.


Hemorrhoid/Hemorrhoid Thrombosis

AKA Thrombosed Hemorrhoids/Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoidal cushions of blood rich tissue sit right within the anal canal, allowing for cushioning and protection of the anorectal structures and to assist the anal sphincter function.

These cushions feature many blood vessels in a dense arrangement, allowing the cushions to swell or contract depending on the body's requirements.

An internal hemorrhoid arises when one of the cushion veins weakens, either through excessive pressure or injury, and falls out of its proper place along with connected tissue. An external hemorrhoid occurs when this happens to one of the veins draining these cushions that runs to the outside of the body.

Thombosed Internal Hemorrhoids

An internal hemorrhoid can eventually swell to the point of prolapse out of the anal sphincter, at which point it can be seen outside of the body on occasion.

In the beginning, the prolapsed internal hemorrhoid will only emerge through the opening during bowel movements, retracting once the muscular strain is relaxed. As gravity and straining take their toll, the internal hemorrhoid will eventually grow so large that it protrudes from the body constantly if left untreated.

Chronic prolapse, where the internal hemorrhoid is constantly outside, can lead to circulation strangulation and a quantity of blood being trapped within the hemorrhoid so long that it forms a clot and becomes a thrombosed hemorrhoid.

Thrombosed Hemorrhoids, Both Internal and External

Because of the lack of pressure or quick blood movement within veins below the level of the heart, any hemorrhoid whether internal, prolapsed, or external can develop a thrombotic clot which must be approached as a serious health problem quickly, no matter what the previous conditions.

An untreated thrombotic clot can lead to massive inflammation and eventually to cell death and gangrene when the surrounding tissue is poisoned by the accumulation of toxins. The inflammation stage usually lasts for a little while, so you'll have enough time to take the pain warning and get it looked at before gangrene and systemic infection set in.

Why don't coagulation therapies like latex banding cause inflammation, gangrene and infection?

Why don't coagulation therapies like latex hemorrhoid banding cause inflammation, gangrene and infection when thrombosis will? The idea of latex banding is to cut off circulation, so wouldn't that cause the same problems as a thrombotic clot?

Remember, only small hemorrhoids are suitable for treatment by latex hemorrhoid banding, and the bands used are so tight that it cuts off all flow of blood and fluid. No blood gets in, no blood gets out, and the toxins are limited to the hemorrhoid itself instead of getting back into the body.

One of the warnings given about latex banding is that it will be quite painful as the hemorrhoid dies, shrivels up and falls off, but none of the poisons get back into the circulatory system as a whole.

To give an example from my own personal experience, my doctor once decided to use latex banding on my hemorrhoids for a number of reasons, most of which were non-medical in nature. Upon examination, the doctor found that my hemorrhoids were a little too big for this procedure, but he double banded them in hope that the size margin wasn't too big for the bands to work. In a few days I brought back a nice example of a thrombosed hemorrhoid or hemorrhoids.

As I look back on this experience, I believe that the doctor and I made the right decision at the time. While I did need the thrombosis taken care of, I didn't have to undergo a dangerous hemorrhoidectomy that would have seriously impacted my work as a caregiver.

Conclusion: Some Thoughts On Thrombosed Hemorrhoids - How and Why

When performed under a doctor's care, latex banding is a relatively safe procedure for hemorrhoid treatment within the correct range of size and severity. However, thrombosis is always a dangerous condition that requires immediate care whether the hemorrhoid is internal, external, small or large.

We hope we've succeeded in clarifying the interactions between circulation, hemorrhoids and thrombosis. Educating yourself about your hemorrhoids is an important part of making good medical decisions for you and your life, and eventually becoming hemorrhoid-free.

Research and main write by Loni L. Ice, editing and quality control by D. S. Urquhart.

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All the best to you in your search for hemorrhoid relief and prevention

This website is an educational site and is in no way intended to take the place of a qualified medical practitioner. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, but only to offer information, ideas, and options for you to discuss with your doctor. Always check this or any other printed information on any medical condition with your doctor and your own common sense.

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