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UNDERSTANDING WHY HEMORRHOIDS ITCH

Hemorrhoids are veins that are found beneath the mucous membrane lining the lower parts of the rectum and anus.1 This condition develops when those veins start to swell, very much like varicose veins. This can happen during pregnancy, during extreme weight gain, or while straining bowel movements.

By Sion GermoPublished 2 months ago 4 min read
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Why do hemorrhoids itch?

Inflammation of the hemorrhoid

Passing Stool

Production of Mucus in the Hemorrhoid

Friction

Hemorrhoids are veins that are found beneath the mucous membrane lining the lower parts of the rectum and anus.1 This condition develops when those veins start to swell, very much like varicose veins. This can happen during pregnancy, during extreme weight gain, or while straining bowel movements.

Symptoms of external hemorrhoids usually include pain, itching, bleeding, and swelling in the anal region.5 However, internal hemorrhoids are harder to spot. Symptoms of this can include painless bleeding while passing stool. You may also notice hemorrhoid bulging at your anal opening.

People who suffer from this may ask why hemorrhoids itch. Among its many symptoms, this can be one of the most irritating and uncomfortable things to experience especially at night. This article aims to explain the causes of this symptom and different ways you can do to help relieve it. Keep reading to learn more!

Inflammation of the hemorrhoid

The root cause of itchy hemorrhoids is inflammation. When the area around the hemorrhoid is inflamed, it fills up with fluid and white blood cells. This causes the body to adjust to the change by stretching out the area around it. This is what creates that itchy feeling.

This is most common with external hemorrhoids because their overlying skin and protruding hemorrhoid can easily be irritated as it erodes.1

You can distinguish external hemorrhoids when you see a lump protruding from the anus.1 When this happens, a blood clot forms. It can sometimes be painful. As the blood clot dissolves, its excess skin is left itchy.

Passing Stool

In the case of internal hemorrhoids, this can be pushed out as you pass stool through straining. This causes it to become prolapsed.

Inflamed and irritated hemorrhoids can develop or worsen if the strain is put on them while using the bathroom. This can also cause itching.

Production of Mucus in the Hemorrhoid

When hemorrhoids are infected, it tends to develop an abscess that is filled with pus.2 This is the body’s way of fighting the infection.

As this mucus exits the body, it can cause the outer skin surrounding the anus to dry. This can create an uncomfortable and itchy sensation. Aside from that, if the stool is mixed with this mucus, it can cause the itching to worsen.3

Friction and rubbing

Prolapsed hemorrhoids can cause much discomfort in the body including itching. It can collect mucus and feces, leading to pruritus ani.1 This is also known as anal itching. It is a skin condition where itchiness worsens at night or right after passing stool. The area affected by this is your perianal area.4

Aside from this skin condition, friction with clothes is also a cause of itchy hemorrhoids. If you constantly wipe hemorrhoids with wet wipes or tissues in hopes to relieve the itch, it can cause it to worsen.

As you walk, contact with the coth of your underwear and pants can also cause abrasions in the hemorrhoids.

How to relieve the itch

Good hygiene

Having good hygiene goes a long way even for those with hemorrhoids. Since itchiness and irritation can arise if it comes into contact with stool, good hygiene must be maintained.

Always remember to clean your anus and its surrounding skin after passing stool. Pat the area dry as well since moisture and sweat can be irritants.

Sitz Bath1

You can also take a sitz bath to relieve the irritation. This is a warm water bath for the lower body, particularly your buttocks and hips.

You can sit in a bathtub filled with a few inches of warm water. Experts recommend sitting in the warm water for about 20 minutes after passing stool and an additional two to three times a day. After sitting, be sure to pat the area dry as well without wiping too hard to prevent irritation.

Topical relief

There are many things that you can apply to the itchy area.

Witch hazel wipes: This provides a soothing sensation without any harmful effects.

A small ice pack: Placing a small pack of ice against the anus for a few minutes helps reduce swelling, itching, and pain.

Cushion: Instead of sitting on a hard, flat surface, sit atop a cushion. This helps reduce swelling while preventing the formation of new hemorrhoids,

Over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams: Many over-the-counter creams are local anesthetics that can soothe the pain.

Key Takeaway

Now that we covered the different reasons why hemorrhoids itch, it’s time to find the right treatment to help with your condition. You can consult with your doctor to find which method soothes your situation best.

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