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Strangulated Hemorrhoid Guide - What is a Strangulated Hemorrhoid?

Posted on 07 November 2018 by

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Hemorrhoids are a common condition that are rarely serious. But, in some cases, the pain and discomfort associated with the condition can be difficult to handle.

Strangulated hemorrhoids are a type of hemorrhoid that can be difficult to handle.

They are generally very painful. So, what are strangulated hemorrhoids and how can you deal with them? Let’s take a closer look!

What is a Strangulated Hemorrhoid? 

Hemorrhoids are split into two different categories. External hemorrhoids occur at the opening of the anal canal and are more symptomatic than internal hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are located in an area that lacks pain-sensing nerves.

They commonly go unnoticed and may even exist without symptoms. Internal hemorrhoids can become strangulated. Strangulated hemorrhoids occur when an internal hemorrhoid is prolapsed.

In most cases, prolapsed hemorrhoids become trapped by the anal muscles. This cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid and causes complications. Strangulated hemorrhoids are very painful and should be treated by a healthcare professional.

They generally result from more advanced forms of internal hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids fall into four grades:

Grade I internal hemorrhoids often go unnoticed. They may exist without any symptoms.

  • Grade II internal hemorrhoids can protrude outside of the anal opening, but recede on their own.
  • Grade III internal hemorrhoids protrude outside of the anal opening, but do not recede on their own. They must be pushed back in manually.
  • Grade IV internal hemorrhoids protrude outside of the anal opening, don’t recede on their own, and can’t be manually pushed back into place. These are the most likely to become strangulated.

Is a Strangulated Hemorrhoid Dangerous?

Strangulated hemorrhoids are very painful. They may cause discharge of pus that can lead to more pain. When strangulated hemorrhoids get to this point, it is important to contact a doctor immediately. Since strangulated hemorrhoids can potentially become infected, they should be treated by a doctor.

Complications of strangulated hemorrhoids include:

  • Infection
  • Gangrene
  • Sepsis
  • Thrombosis
  • Abscess

Unfortunately, when strangulated hemorrhoids get to this point, all the above complications can lead to the point where they are life-threatening.

Strangulated Hemorrhoid Pictures

The following diagram shows the different types of hemorrhoids patients experience. Strangulated hemorrhoids occur when prolapsed hemorrhoids reach grade IV and are strangled by the anal muscles as they pass through the canal.

Strangulated Hemorrhoid Symptoms

Strangulated hemorrhoids occur when the blood supply is cut off. When the blood supply of an internal hemorrhoids becomes compromised, it is prone to die. This is where the term strangulated hemorrhoids comes from.

The most common symptoms of strangulated hemorrhoids is pain. Since it was mentioned that strangulated hemorrhoids are commonly associated with grade IV internal hemorrhoids, you may also notice the symptoms of internal hemorrhoids.

Here are the symptoms of internal hemorrhoids associated with strangulated hemorrhoids:

  • Bleeding, especially during bowel movements
  • Itching and irritation
  • Discomfort
  • Swelling around the anus
  • A lump protruding from the anus

Strangulated Hemorrhoid Pain

Strangulated hemorrhoid pain is generally severe. Just think about the term alone. When anything becomes strangulated, it causes pain that can be difficult to bear.

While conservative treatments can be used for grade I and grade II internal hemorrhoids, grade III and grade IV internal hemorrhoids should be treated by a medical professional.

Grade I and grade II internal hemorrhoids can be treated by:

Because grade III and grade IV internal hemorrhoids are associated with a great deal of pain, and run the risk of becoming strangulated, they are often treated with surgery.

The most common procedure for grade IV internal hemorrhoids is hemorrhoid stapling.

Here are the most common procedures for Grade IV hemorrhoids:

  • Rubber band ligation- a rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid to cut off the blood supply, causing the hemorrhoid to die off. This is done without anesthesia in a doctor’s office.
  • Hemorrhoidectomy- this is a surgery performed in the hospital under general anesthesia. A small incision is placed in the hemorrhoid and the vein is removed.
  • Stapling- a surgical stapler is used to place the hemorrhoid back in position with a medical grade staple. Once the staple is inserted, the blood supply is cut off and the hemorrhoid dies. The anal tissue eventually shrinks down.

If you think you have a strangulated hemorrhoid, it’s important to contact your medical provider. 

They will properly diagnosed your hemorrhoid, give you pain relief, and treat it the right way so you don’t face the potential damage of the common complications.

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