Hemroids and Anorectal Prolapse
Article by Donald Urquhart
Unfortunately there are a few conditions that hemroids get confused with on a regular basis. Anorectal prolapse is one of the more serious of these conditions. It is most often confused with prolapsing internal hemroids. While neither prolapsed hemroids or anorectal prolapse are good news, anorectal prolapse is much more likely to lead to significant complications. Prolapsed hemroids represent a small amount of tissue becoming sufficiently large and inflamed to protrude out of the body, while anorectal prolapse means that the entire rectal canal has collapsed and is protruding out of the body. This sort of confusion is one of the reasons that a doctor’s examination is important if you’ve got any doubts as to what you’re suffering from.
Keep in mind that there are a few different kinds of anorectal prolapse. There are multiple layers to the rectal canal, and those layers can separate to a degree. Mucosal prolapse happens when the mucus membrane separates from the rest and protrudes alone through the anal sphincter. Full thickness rectal prolapse describes the entirety of the rectum collapsing and protruding through the sphincter. Internal intussusception occurs when the rectal canal collapses within the body but does not fall through the sphincter itself. All of these are caused by the weakening of connective tissue and ligaments within and around the rectal canal. This weakening can happen for several reasons such as advanced age, long term constipation, long term straining during defecation, pregnancy and childbirth stresses, and anything else that causes such downward torque.
Ironically, these are many of the same things that can cause hemroids. People who are prone to hemroids are often prone to anorectal prolapse later in life, especially if the underlying causes of the hemroids is never properly addressed. So, naturally, they can occur at the same time. However, there are a few differences you can use to tell which one you’re suffering from. A prolapsed hemroid resembles a small lump of flesh protruding through the anal sphincter. It’s often described as the size of a grape. In contrast, an anorectal prolapse looks like a pink sock protruding from the anorectal canal. Obviously, a full thickness anal prolapse is going to look like a much bigger sock than a mucosal prolapse, but the basic principle remains the same.
Partial prolapses are often treated by a program of exercise combined with a high fiber diet. This combination helps the ligaments and connective tissue responsible for holding the rectal canal in place rest and heal sufficiently to start working properly again. However, a full thickness prolapse can usually only be treated by either abdominal or perineal surgery. Abdominal surgery is more dangerous, but usually more successful on a long term basis. Perineal surgery is safer, but carries less assurance of being a permanent cure. No matter what, long-term lifestyle changes are an important part of post surgical care.
A prolapsed hemroid and an anorectal prolapse are obviously nowhere near the same health issue. However, they are progressions of the same underlying problems. Downward straining of some kind combined with a poor diet and lack of exercise are the most frequent culprits, and both lead to serious embarrassment, anxiety, pain and trouble in the anal area. If you’re having problems in the area and you really don’t know what’s going on, going to a doctor and following their advice is the best way to get back to normal fast.
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To find out more about anorectal prolapse and hemroids check out our hemroids articles and hemroid treatments.
Copyright 2010. Written by Donald Urquhart. All universal rights reserved.