Thrombosed Hemorrhoids - definition, causes, symptoms and treatments.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are a normally an extremely painful condition of hemorrhoids, which also results in much swelling, color changes, and massive inflammation of the hemorrhoid in question.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids can even be dangerous if they introduce massive infection or gangrene to your circulatory system.
Thrombosed hemorrhoids are defined quite simply as a hemorrhoid that has gotten a blood clot stuck inside of it that is partially or completely blocking incoming and outgoing blood flow.
Occasionally a hemorrhoid may have blood sitting around in it for quite a while. Blood goes in, but doesn't come back out which causes some unpleasant pain and inflammation in and of itself. If a clot forms within the hemorrhoid, it's now a thrombosed hemorrhoid.
Thrombosis is medical jargon for "current or developing blood clot."
A thrombosis (clot) can develop anywhere in the venous circulatory system, which means it affects both internal and external hemorrhoids equally.
Gangrene has developed from a small number of thrombosed hemorrhoids, usually those in which the blood flow is completely blocked.
There are millions of tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, throughout every inch of tissue, including that of a hemorrhoid. If a thrombosis develops inside a hemorrhoid, this usually means that the main blood vessel that formed the hemorrhoid is the vessel that's blocked. The surrounding capillaries get enough blood through to keep the tissue cells from dying immediately.
However, these microscopic capillaries are not big enough to feed the tissue alone for long. You have the time to make an appointment and proceed from there, but you don't have the time to just ignore it, hoping it'll go away.
If these millions of honeycombed microvesicules weren't still working, the tissue of and around the thrombosed hemorrhoid would be dead within a matter of minutes and starting to rot within half a day. Cells start to die from oxygen deprivation within just a few minutes. While the capillaries keep it up for quite some time, if the thrombosis is not removed within a reasonable time frame, then tissue death and necrosis will begin and congratulations, you have gangrene. While it's a rare occurence, why make the chances worse?
The clot can escape from the hemorrhoid as well. This is a bit more likely than gangrene, but carries its own problems of course. The best case scenario is that the clot escapes and dissolves back into the bloodstream by moving around and breaking up. If the clot stays together and migrates somewhere else, you could have just as many problems.
Anytime a blood clot blocks off circulation to an entire area, it's called an infarction. If it happens in your arm, the muscle tissue in your arm can die, leaving you crippled and in pain. If it happens in your heart, it's called a myocardial infarction or, more simply, a heart attack. If the clot should get stuck in your brain, you have a stroke.
If the thrombosis is only partially blocking circulation through the hemorrhoid, enough oxygen may get through to keep the tissue alive for even longer. However, massive swelling and pain are still going to plague you, and you're still ripe for the nasty infections that hit a small number of cases.
Thrombosis in a hemorrhoid leads to a vicious cycle
The irony of thrombosed hemorrhoids is that they're both caused by and contribute to reduced blood flow through the hemorrhoid itself, leading to all these nasty symptoms and potentially severe consequences. On the bright side, they're so painful they demand that we do something about them. Do listen to your body, the severe pain is a red flag that something needs fixing now.
Reduced circulation is the biggest cause of thrombosed hemorrhoids. When the blood flow doesn't go quickly enough, it allows the blood to be still which sets up perfect clotting conditions.
Another reason that a hemorrhoid may become thrombosed is that the vein wall within the hemorrhoid has gotten damaged. This will usually bleed when it happens, and of course, scabbing over and blood clotting is what's supposed to happen when bleeding occurs. When the clot is sealing off a wound on the outside, i.e. the hemorrhoid was actually bleeding, this type of clot normally does not cause blockage unless the vein was already constricted by something like cholesterol plaques. However, if the hemorrhoid got bruised, which basically means that a blood vessel broke but skin didn't, blood will collect within the tissue. Then, it can clot and give you a thrombosis in and around those millions of capillaries I mentioned earlier. This is one of the reasons being gentle with your hemorrhoids is so important.
A prolapse of any kind involves a tissue collapse, sometimes but not always outside the body.
Prolapse is a descriptive medical term for a tissue collapse somewhere in the body. While this sometimes means things falling out of the body that aren't supposed to, it doesn't always imply that. If, for instance, your stomach prolapses, it won't fall out of you but it will fall into and put pressure on other internal organs thus making life difficult.
Hemorrhoids in the process of prolapsing start to collapse a long time before you see it outside of the anal sphincter. During this time it's in the process of growing and pulling anal wall tissue down and is graded as a Stage I (Grade I) prolapsed internal hemorrhoid. At the point you can see or feel it only during bowel movements, it's at Stage II. Stage III is when you have to push it back in manually and at Stage IV it refuses to stay in at all. Whenever you notice prolapsed tissue starting to protrude from the anal sphincter, you need to see a doctor. Only doctors can tell the difference between a prolapsed hemorrhoid and a prolapsed rectum. While a doctor may take a look, find out it's just a prolapsing hemorrhoid and tell you to use home treatments, it's better to know exactly what you've got than try and treat the wrong condition.
When a prolapsed internal hemorrhoid gets to Stage IV and is outside the body all the time, muscular spasms of the anal sphincter can be powerful enough to completely cut hemorrhoid blood flow off. The circular muscle spasm pinches off all of the blood vessels at the same time. Any Stage IV hemorrhoid will develop a thrombosis if left untreated long enough. Gangrene, infection, and septicemia are then potential side effects, although they only statistically affect a small number of people. Don't be one of that small number.
When a Stage IV hemorrhoid has been pinched or crushed by a muscular spasm of the anal sphincter and blood has stopped entering or exiting the hemorrhoid, it's referred to as a strangulated hemorrhoid. If a strangulated hemorrhoid has not yet developed a thrombosis, they may be rectified by sitting in a warm sitz bath. However, this isn't guaranteed to work, so keep on the lookout for a developing thrombosis due to reduced circulation.
External thrombosed hemorrhoids develop a black, dark red, purple or bluish tinge. If you see a lump one of these colors near the anal opening, you probably have an external thrombosed hemorrhoid on your hands. We're still researching all the causes of external hemorrhoid thrombosis.
Any hemorrhoid that has developed a thrombosis will present with certain symptoms. They'll swell, they'll be incredibly painful, and they'll take on a black, purple, dark red or blue tinge.
We keep a real hemorrhoid photo on this site of a serious case of thrombosed internal hemorrhoids. It looks incredibly nauseating, so be warned before you look. The kind and gracious person who allowed this thrombosed hemorrhoid photograph to be taken must have endured quite a lot of pain, discomfort and suffering.
A thrombosed hemorrhoid may need minor surgery immediately. The most common procedure involves the injection of a local anesthetic, slicing open the thrombosed hemorrhoid and squeezing out the clot. The injection stings for a minute, but the rest is usually reasonably painless. Your doctor will probably send you home with oral painkillers and a sense of relief both physical and mental.
I've been through this, and the doctor who did the operation said that mine was the worst thrombosed hemorrhoid he'd ever seen in both private and hospital practice.
One of the things I remember best from the operation was the nurse's face. She was more than a bit stunned that I reported no discomfort while the doctor was repeatedly squeezing the hemorrhoid. If the anesthetic is done correctly, you shouldn't suffer any more pain than I did. The only thing that bothered me a bit was when I had to have adrenaline injected to make sure the hemorrhoid was completely clotted.
Clinical research has found that this inject, slice and squeeze surgical procedure is the best option because there's very little risk that the hemorrhoid will thrombose again, but you also don't have some of the risks of more major surgery.
Home remedies aren't really effective against thrombosed hemorrhoids in the long term, although they can provide immediate relief while waiting for treatment. Short term herbal hemorrhoid treatments are about as effective as home treatments in regards to recurrence.
If your thrombosed hemorrhoid is not yet severe enough to require surgery, your doctor may tell you to go home and take sitz baths to help the muscles in your bottom relax and try to restore blood flow into and out of the hemorrhoid. Sitz-baths are described in detail on our popular home remedies page.
Vitamin E, dosage 400IU taken three times a day offers another potential aid to dilate the blood vessels in a thrombosed hemorrhoid, which allows blood to flow more quickly and easily.
Because thrombosed hemorrhoids are generally an acute situation requiring immediate attention, you normally wouldn't consider an online alternative medicine. With pain that severe, you dont' want to wait for the time the medicine would take to reach you. Because manufacturers know this, they haven't bothered designing an online medication to handle hemorrhoid thrombosis, they have no market for it.
Hemorrhoidectomy, which involves cutting the hemorrhoid out entirely, or one of the medical treatments meant to decrease the size of the thrombosed hemorrhoid are other options to think about. You need to decide on the best method for you.
Also, please consider sharing our helpful website with your online friends.
All the best to you in your search for hemorrhoid relief and prevention
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