Are Hemorrhoids Contagious? Can Hemorrhoids Be Spread Like a Disease? Discover the Truth!
Posted on 26 June 2018 by Maryanne Johnson
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Do you ever wonder are my hemorrhoids contagious? What's more unsettling than discovering that things don't seem all normal "down there"? Bumps, bright red blood, and a general feeling of discomfort in certain positions can undoubtedly be alarming, but there's no need to panic quite yet.
If this is you, then you could be experiencing hemorrhoids. The question lurking in the back of your mind could be: are hemorrhoids contagious?
If you're wondering just how cautious and apprehensive you need to be due to these abnormalities surrounding your rectal area, then take a deep breath.
Hemorrhoids are normal and equally as common, and if this is your first experience with this common rectal disease, then the chances are that you've caught them early enough for even mild, at-home remedies to be useful in the means of treating them.
This common rectal condition is not contagious, not a sexually transmitted disease, and assuredly not fatal. For internal or external hemorrhoids, treatment enacted early on can guarantee them from becoming worse and more inconvenient.
The most important part about having any widely experienced condition is to understand what causes their occurrences, and hemorrhoids are no different. Prevention begins with knowledge, and soon enough, hemorrhoids won’t be an issue.
While it is unnerving to feel something off about your anal-rectal area, you should know that this happens to nearly 10 million Americans each year and you are unequivocally not alone in experiencing hemorrhoids.
Approximately half of adults age 50 and older will have hemorrhoids. But hemorrhoids are not just for older folks; young people can get them just the same, which begs the question: what exactly are hemorrhoids?
This anal-rectal disease merely is the inflammation of the veins located inside of the rectum (internal hemorrhoids), or underneath the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids). These two categories of hemorrhoids—internal and external—are implemented to help identify where the hemorrhoids have formed and how to treat them better.
Hemorrhoids have been studied and researched for centuries because they are so prevalent in men and women. Because of their widespread presence, treatment methods have been sought and perfected, including remedies that can be practiced and applied at home.
For hemorrhoids that have progressed into complications, there are surgical methods that can be utilized. Severe hemorrhoids may require surgical removal if they become life hindering, cause immense pain and discomfort, or are so frequently occurring that they have become a constant issue that prevents daily activities.
Complications can arise for internal and external hemorrhoids alike. For internal hemorrhoids, doctors and scientists have sectioned this type of hemorrhoid into different stages. These stages, degrees, or grades, as it is referred to, indicate the severity of prolapse that occurs in concern with internal hemorrhoids.
If you are noticing rectal bleeding but not experiencing an internal hemorrhoid protruding through the rectum, then you likely have the mildest grade of hemorrhoids—Grade I. Anything beyond Grade I introduces the protrusion of an internal hemorrhoid through the rectum and its associated severity.
External hemorrhoids have their own set of complications. This exterior form of hemorrhoid can form blood clots, which are referred to as thrombosis or thrombosed hemorrhoids. Blood clots often require lancing and draining by your doctor so infection can be staved off.
Overall, hemorrhoids are not contagious, as you cannot catch inflammation or swelling from another person. Hemorrhoids form because of many different reasons, like abnormal pressure on the rectal muscles and vein, constipation and straining, and even hereditary factors.
The Signs and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
What should you look out for when hemorrhoids are concerned? There are different symptoms of internal and external hemorrhoids due to their respective locations in the anal-rectal area.
A telling sign of the presence of internal hemorrhoids is rectal bleeding. Internal hemorrhoids are not seen or felt unless a prolapse occurs, and its only sign is painless bright red blood that covers the stools or appears on toilet paper after wiping.
Sometimes, there can be anal itching or discharge when an internal hemorrhoid is present.
External hemorrhoids are tender to the touch; uncomfortable bumps that form around the anus. They may look reddened, flesh-colored, or if they are thrombosed, a bluish hue.
External hemorrhoids may break open and bleed, and they are also prone to itchiness, a throbbing feeling, anal discharge, and causing pain in many positions.
Indications of hemorrhoids include:
- Itchiness around the anal opening or directly on the anus
- Throbbing, burning, and painful feeling
- Anal discharge
- Rectal bleeding of bright red blood
- Straining on the toilet, constipation, and trouble passing a bowel movement
- A sense of fullness after a bowel movement
- Rubbery, sore bumps around the anus
- Prolapsed internal hemorrhoid visible outside of the rectum
- Purple or a bluish blood clot that forms outside of the anus
By keeping watch for these signs, symptoms, and indications of hemorrhoids, you can treat them early enough to prevent them from worsening. It is important to recall why hemorrhoids form in the first place so preventative methods can be taken.
Hemorrhoids are essentially swollen veins and blood vessels. By curbing constipation, straining, or chronic diarrhea, these veins will calm themselves down to normalcy and symptoms can subside in a matter of days.
Learn What Causes Your Hemorrhoids to Flare-Up
Why do hemorrhoidal veins and blood vessels become inflamed and produce these well-known symptoms?
For many adults, the answer is because of constipation in union with a few other factors:
- Lack of fiber in the diet, which can cause constipation and strain
- Frequently lifting heavy objects
- Genetics, a family history of hemorrhoids
- Lack of water in culmination with a lack of exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Pregnancy and delivery, especially for women who deliver vaginally
- Age, for those who are 50 years old and onward
- Other gastrointestinal problems, like IBS, Chron’s, or diverticulitis
Just the same as any other condition, sometimes there are factors we cannot help, stop, or prevent hemorrhoids.
We can't change our genetic history or our age, but we can add more fiber into our diets, drink plenty of water for absorption and hydration, exercise to promote our health, and we certainly can manage our weight.
And as you can see, none of these factors and variables demonstrates that hemorrhoids are contagious.
Ways to treat hemorrhoids include:
- A warm bath soaking the hemorrhoids for 15 to 20 minutes
- Using topical treatments to relieve itching and burning
- Taking a fiber supplement
- Taking a stool softener
- Utilizing a hemorrhoid cushion to make sitting more comfortable
- Using over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol or Aspirin
- Using hemorrhoidal pills
You can treat hemorrhoids at home in a variety of ways. A sitz bath is typically recommended by doctors to alleviate the painful symptoms of hemorrhoids and to help reduce swelling.
Other methods include topical hemorrhoid creams, ointments, and balms, witch hazel infused wipes, and dietary supplements target for hemorrhoid relief.
Visit a hemorrhoid doctor if rectal bleeding continues for more than a few days or if hemorrhoids are reoccurring and have become bothersome. Your doctor may want to instill dietary changes to prevent your hemorrhoidal veins and blood vessels from becoming inflamed, swollen, or irritated.
Your doctor may also wish to add a fiber supplement or a stool softener to relieve hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids Are Not Contagious
While we may get the genetic history that our parents have that makes us predisposed to have hemorrhoids in our golden years, we don't "contract" hemorrhoids from other people regarding a contagious disease.
Hemorrhoids can be a reflection of our diet and lifestyle—pregnancy leads to flare-ups due to the growing stress on the expecting mother’s lower region of veins and tissues, or a flare-up could indicate a lack of dietary fiber leading to an irregular colon.
The best thing to do when you are experiencing symptoms of hemorrhoids is to talk to your doctor about how to control hemorrhoidal breakouts and what you can change to prevent them.
Fortunately, many techniques can be tried, like rubber band ligation for internal hemorrhoid removal, adding a dietary fiber supplement like HemRid Max, or including a stool softener medication.
Despite hemorrhoids being sometimes an unavoidable condition, you can rest assured that they are not something you can get by touching or being around another person who has hemorrhoids.