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Changes at the anal opening

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What are haemorrhoids?

  • The haemorrhoid veins are part of the locking mechanism of the rectum and responsible for sealing the anus. The sealing works through different levels of filling of the blood vessels.
  • If these vessels do not inflate and deflate properly and cause problems, it is called haemorrhoids.

What are the symptoms of haemorrhoids?

  • Anal bleeding
  • Mild faecal soiling
  • In case of existing sensitivity:
    • anal itching
    • anal burning

What is an anal fissure?

  • An anal fissure is a crack in the anal canal. Most anal fissures are caused by a disproportion between the anal opening and the stool volume.
  • Pain causes additional tenseness of the anal opening, which reduces its opening volume even more. Scars may develop and further decrease the elasticity of the anus.

What are the symptoms of anal fissures?

  • Dampness and fresh blood on the toilet paper
  • In the case of existing sensitivity:
    • pain when defecating, potentially long-lasting
    • anal itching

What do I do if I suffer from problems due to haemorrhoids or anal fissures?

  • Regulation of stool consistency – it should be soft and depends on:
    • eating food rich in dietary fibre
    • avoiding flatulence-causing foods
    • drinking enough
    • adjusting of laxative medication
  • Haemorrhoids:
    • local treatment using haemorrhoid cream or suppositories
  • Anal fissures:
    • if painful, local anaesthetic cream may be used
    • good personal hygiene, possibly warm hip-baths

If haemorrhoids are big or cause too much discomfort, surgery becomes necessary. The enlarged vessels are normally ligatured1 with an elastic band or atrophied.

Haemorrhoids and anal fissures cannot always be avoided; however, if some simple rules are followed, their occurrence can be reduced:

  • regular defecation, every 1 – 2 days
  • preventing constipation or hard stool
  • only as many digital manipulations of the rectum as necessary; carry this out carefully and use sufficient Vaseline

Is blood in the stool generally caused by haemorrhoids or anal fissures? Is this always harmless?

No, a change in the bowel can also be the reason for it. You should consult your GP when bleeding occurs for the first time.

Is it dangerous if it is bleeding strongly?

Usually not – haemorrhoids can bleed severely. However, if the bleeding continues, you should inform your GP.

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