Hemorrhoids occur when the veins that line the anal canal and rectum become swollen from increased pressure over an extended period of time. In many cases, the symptoms of hemorrhoids can be addressed with at-home treatments, and the condition will resolve itself. However, hemorrhoids that do not respond to treatment can become larger and lead to complications, including a strangulated hemorrhoid.
What is a Strangulated Hemorrhoid?
Hemorrhoids that develop inside the anal canal are called internal hemorrhoids. An internal hemorrhoid can become prolapsed, which means it protrudes from the anal canal. The anal sphincter can then put pressure on the prolapsed hemorrhoid and cut off the blood supply. This is known as a strangulated hemorrhoid.
A strangulated hemorrhoid can be very painful, especially if a blood clot forms in the hemorrhoid. A strangulated hemorrhoid can also be dangerous. The loss of blood flow to the hemorrhoid will eventually result in tissue death and a serious condition known as gangrene.
What to Do if You Develop a Strangulated Hemorrhoid
The most common sign that you may have developed a strangulated hemorrhoid is extreme pain in the rectal area. You may also be able to see or feel the protruding hemorrhoid.
If you suspect you have a strangulated hemorrhoid, contact your doctor immediately. Although at-home treatments might temporarily relieve the symptoms of a strangulated hemorrhoid, they cannot address the underlying problem. Surgery or an in-office procedure is needed to treat the strangulated hemorrhoid and prevent further complications.