Hemorrhoids are an uncomfortable medical condition that is quite common, with some studies indicating that up to 90% of the population will experience the condition in some form during their lifetime. Each particular sufferer’s case of hemroids is different, however, as the type and severity of hemroids can vary.
There are essentially two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids are those hemroids which occur in the anal canal and rectum, while external hemroids occur outside the anal canal, near the anal opening.
Internal Hemorrhoids: The Four Stages
Internal hemroids can be classified by severity into four distinct stages. Effective treatment of internal hemroids will vary according to the severity or stage of the hemorrhoids.
With stage I internal hemorrhoids, the hemroids are still in the interior anal canal and protrusion or prolapse has not occurred. Itching may occur in this stage, and the internal hemroids may actually be mistaken for anal fissures.
Stage II internal hemroids are similar to Stage I internal hemorrhoids except with Stage II bleeding is also a common symptom. Additionally, prolapse, the condition where the internal hemorrhoids sag and protrude from the anal opening, also occurs, especially after a bowel movement. The tissue reverts back to its original position, however, without any intervention. In general, increasing the fiber intake in your diet is an effective option for treating internal hemorrhoids in this stage of severity.
When internal hemorrhoids reach stage III, they have all the symptoms of the earlier stages with one notable exception: the prolapsed internal hemroids no longer return to their original position on their own. They must be manipulated back into the anal canal manually. This stage of internal hemroids severity is very painful, and requires almost constant treatment for pain.
Finally, when internal hemorrhoids reach stage IV, all the earlier symptoms of itching, burning, pain and prolapse are present. The difference in stage IV over all the earlier stages is that the hemroids can no longer be manipulated back into place in the rectum. Because of this, strangulation is possible, whereby the sphincter muscle of the anus constricts on the protruding hemroid causing pain and even thrombosis. When internal hemroids reach this stage, a doctor’s intervention is required, and treatments like surgery or laser coagulation may be necessary.
When dealing with internal hemorrhoids, it is important to seek treatment early, ideally at the first sign of symptoms. Delaying hemorrhoid treatment could cause symptoms to worsen and the severity of the hemorrhoids to become more advanced. Additionally, hemroids treatment becomes more of a challenge the more advanced the severity of the condition becomes.
While there are many effective hemorrhoids treatments available, including natural herbal remedies, in general, treatment methods become more expensive and more invasive in the latter stages of hemorrhoid severity. For that reason alone, it is best to treat your internal hemorrhoids while they are still in the earlier stages of severity.