The relationship between proctitis and hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are not the result of either the normal or abnormal growth of the tissues of the anal and rectal mucous membrane. They are developed by the combination of pathological and physiological conditions:
(1) chronic inflammation or proctitis ;
(2) stricture of the anal canal and lower portion of the rectum, which may be spasmodic, or more or less permanent, which stricture pinches or constricts the canal, thereby inhibiting the circulation of the blood;
(3) the pressure or straining effort during the act of
defecation, occasioned by the constricted canal, which effort brings on greater local congestion and constriction of the tissues.
Pile formations are a symptom of chronic proctitis of fifteen, twenty or more years duration. Proctitis (inflammation of the anus or rectum) and periproctitis (inflammation of the connective tissue
about the rectum) are by no means uncommon inflammatory processes.
The mucous membrane like the skin is liable to injury or poisons and especially so at the orifices of the body. Let inflammation set in : if it be not cured at once, it will invade the canal, especially a canal like the rectum; in which case it will establish itself throughout from six to ten inches of its length, sometimes taking in the sigmoid flexure and even the colon. just how long chronic inflammation confines itself to the mucous membrane before invading the areolar or lace-like connective tissue and the muscular tissue of the organ, I am unable to state.
The first symptom or indication that all the tissues are involved in the inflammatory process will most naturally be constipation. You have observed that inflammation of a portion of the skin on the arm, trunk or leg does not disturb the muscular movements of the region involved, except when the muscles underneath the skin are affected also, as in the case of deep burns where the movements are very much disturbed by the irritability, soreness and contraction of the diseased muscles. There is also an adhesive product excreted from the inflamed tissue that binds the muscular fibres of an organ
together, and you have contraction of the organ and its usefulness impaired.
Now, as this is precisely the pathological or diseased condition which chronic cases of proctitis and periproctitis present, you will
readily understand how spasmodic and partial stricture or contraction occurs in the sore muscles (circular and longitudinal)
of the anus and rectum. The length and the bore of the canal are diminished, and thus the circulation of the blood arrested
by the pressure or gripping of the contracted muscles. This congestion of the blood brings about an anatomical change in the structure of the mucous membrane, which we call piles : a mere symptom of inflammation.
Inflammation can be defined as follows:
(1) A series of changes constituting the local reaction to injury
(2) A series of changes that constitute the local attempt at repair of actual or referred injury of a part
(3) A series of local phenomena that are developed in consequence of primary lesion of the tissues and that tend to heal these lesions
(4) The method by which an organism attempts to render inert the noxious elements introduced from without or arising
(5) A disturbance of the mechanism of nutrition of an organ or tissue, affecting the structures concerned in its
These effects or changes give rise to the five cardinal symptoms of inflamlnation : pain, heat, redness, swelling and impaired function (dolor, calor, rubor, tumor, functio laesa).
Proctitis may exist many years before the pain and heat become noticeable or are complained of by the victim of this insidious disease, the bodily symptoms of which are well expressed before the local trouble demands attention and treatment.
The sufferer from proctitis is unable to detect the change from a normal color of the mucous membrane (a light, muddy gray) to an extremely abnormal one (a fiery redness). The swelling or puffiness
of the mucous membrane becomes more marked as repeated attacks of subacute and acute inflammation occur, from year to year, over a period of twenty or more years. During all this time impairment
of the function and structure of the anal and rectal canals is incessantly going on. The nervous and muscular spasmodic con-
traction of the diseased anus and rectum, which in time become more or less permanently constricted, steadily increases the stagnation and engorgement of blood in the dilated arteries, veins, arterioles,
venous rootlets and capillaries.
All of the circulatory vessels, especially the smaller ones, become enlarged, varicose; and an aggregation of varicosed vessels forms
a tumor called a pile or hemorrhoid.
Inflammation interferes with nutrition of the anal and rectal tissues, rendering them friable or weak and easily broken; hence
the bleeding and painful fissure or the anal ulcer, which so often are the outcome of proctitis and an accompaniment of piles.
As already stated, piles are one of the symptoms of proctitis, and all cases of piles involve more or less irritability and contraction of the anal canal and the terminal portion of the rectum through
which the fecal matter is forced. All the muscular ability of the rectum, assisted by straining effort of the abdominal muscles,
is concentrated upon the feces to force it through the constricted portion of the lower bowel. The force exerted not only develops pile tumors, but carries out with the feces those tumors that had reached
considerable proportions; thus the frail diseased mucous membrane is torn, and another symptom added to a chronic disease.
Observation for over twenty years has convinced me that chronic proctitis usually exists fifteen, twenty or more years before piles are developed (if developed at all), from daily pressure on the inflamed, congested, dilated, varicose, friable blood-vessels and surrounding tissue.
Piles are easily and quickly cured without any annoyance to the sufferer. Chronic proctitis may be cured, but not quickly, as time is required to undo damage to tissues so long invaded by inflam-
All other forms of disease of the lower bowel will yield to treatment satisfactory to physician and patient. If you value health, if you desire to avoid future suffering and disease, be sure that the lower bowel is free from inflammation, for with such freedom you will escape the many symptoms of proctitis described in my treatise on diseases of the anus and rectum.