Hemorrhoids are a prevalent problem that most people are too embarrassed to discuss publically. They usually afflict older people and are typically associated with bathroom dysfunction, hence the taboo. The truth is, they are effortless to treat and prevent right from the comfort of your own home.
What Is A Hemorrhoid?
At their core, hemorrhoids are nothing more than inflamed veins in your anus and rectum, and they manifest themselves in swollen lumps that become more prominent when you have to defecate.
Also known as “piles,” these unpleasant occurrences are also responsible for a lot of rectal bleeding. Although not dangerous, they can be unsightly and cause significant embarrassment for the person suffering from them. The bleeding associated with them can be alarming, so if your swollen veins are painful or get worse over time, consult your doctor for a hemorrhoid treatment.
As the name suggests, these develop within your body and are often not distinguishable from the human eye. You might not even know that you have them. These types rarely require hemorrhoid treatment, and usually, they only make themselves known if they bleed slightly while you’re straining to go to the bathroom. They are also generally painless and do not require any severe type of intervention or surgery.
These are the types you can see and feel when you are wiping yourself after using the toilet. They tend to flare up a little bit more and can often hurt if they get enlarged enough. These types also will bleed, sometimes copiously, when you wipe. Most hemorrhoid treatments are for those that form outside of the body, as they are most likely to prolapse and cause discomfort. Although this type of hemorrhoid is generally not dangerous, they are unattractive and usually disposed of with surgery or home remedies.
What Causes This Condition?
There are plenty of things that cause inflammation of your anus and rectum, including your genes and diet. Those that are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from flareups and occurrences of this condition.
The chronically ill are also at greater risk for developing this condition. Bathroom troubles, like diarrhea and constipation, can cause this medical ailment, as can constant sneezing or coughing. Those who use the bathroom as a second reading room are also at greater risk of developing hemorrhoids. The continuous pushing creates plenty of irritation in the bowels and can lead to inflammation and problems down the road.
Essentially, these enlarged veins are caused by straining or pushing. They are a delicate region of the body that is easily irritated by everyday activities, like going to the bathroom, so so many people develop them throughout their lives.
Lifting Objects That Are Too Heavy For You
Do you work at a job requiring you to lift heavy objects? The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases cites this as another cause of piles. Their report explains that the tissues that support your rectum weaken with age. One wrong lift and you could create this outcome.
How Do Doctors Treat Hemorrhoids?
A hemorrhoid is diagnosed and treated by a doctor through a series of exams. Essentially, the doctor will insert a finger in the rectum and feel around for any abnormalities. If the hemorrhoid in question is on the surface, your doctor might be able to see it. Still, internal ones will always need to be diagnosed with a thorough, and unfortunately, invasive exam.
Depending on what they feel, your doctor might schedule additional exams to ensure that you’re completely healthy. Colonoscopies are a standard follow-up procedure if you have severe hemorrhoids, especially if you are over fifty. Keep in mind that mainly these procedures are prescribed to make one-hundred percent sure that there’s nothing wrong, not because the doctor is diagnosing you with cancer or any other serious illness.
Treating A Hemorrhoid At Home
Most people opt for a home-based hemorrhoid treatment, and since there are plenty of over-the-counter medications to help ease your discomfort, this is an excellent way to go!
OTC creams can stop hemorrhoids in their tracks and shrink down the larger, external ones, so they are less noticeable. They work by tightening up your veins and compressing hemorrhoids. Witch hazel is also a common way to alleviate pain and shrink the size of the bulging vein.
You can also soothe the area by taking warm baths and taking pain medication if the discomfort persists or hurts to sit down. Eating a kinder diet of fiber-rich foods is also an excellent way to rid your life of these unpleasant swollen veins.
Alternating how you use the toilet is a great way to keep pressure off your anus and relieve yourself without further irritating your hemorrhoid. This is easy enough to accomplish by getting a small step stool and putting your feet up on it when you go to the bathroom. You might find that when you sit this way and use the toilet that your hemorrhoid goes away all on its own.
Seeking Medical Treatment
If you feel like your condition requires medical intervention, there are many different types of minimally invasive procedures that can rid you of your hemorrhoids.
The most common type is called “rubber band ligation,” and you don’t even need to go under anesthesia to have it done. The doctor secures your hemorrhoid with a rubber band and cuts off the blood flow to it. With no source of sustenance, hemorrhoid dies and falls off in a matter of seven to ten days.
Your doctor could also inject your hemorrhoid with a solution designed to shrink it. This is the more medically advanced version of those topical creams that you can apply on your own at home and is not painful, although somewhat less successful than rubber band ligation.
Another hemorrhoid treatment employed by doctors is freezing or lasering the offending lump off. This is a fairly new procedure and has had decent results so far. Most people don’t even need anesthesia for lasering or freezing, and they find themselves back to normal right away.
If you require more serious care, your doctor could opt for a hemorrhoidectomy, an invasive surgery where your doctor removes the skin around your hemorrhoid to ensure that you are completely rid of it. You can also opt for hemorrhoid stapling, similar to rubber band ligation but exclusively for internal hemorrhoids.
Most people will not need to go under the knife. There are only a few rare occurrences where hemorrhoids are anything other than a nuisance and occasionally painful when they go to the bathroom.
The best way to avoid having to deal with a hemorrhoid is to avoid getting one in the first place. How do you do this? Know what irritates the veins of the anus and rectum and take steps to avoid compromising the area.
Go To The Toilet When You Need To
Do not try to hold it, especially when it comes to “number two.” Our bodies know when it’s time to go to the bathroom, and delaying that inevitable release will only cause feces to back up in our intestines and bowels and become dry and tough. These stools can tear the tissue on their way out, causing bleeding and irritation and setting the stage for you to get some terrible hemorrhoids.
Don’t Go To The Toilet When You Don’t Need To
The inverse is also true! Many people treat the bathroom as a refuge or a secondary reading room. They sit on the toilet and strain, causing damage to the sensitive veins around their rectum and anus. Only use the bathroom when you have to go and avoid sitting there for any longer than you need to. You won’t be putting any undue strain on your bowels, rectum, or anus this way.
Drink A Lot Of Water
Staying hydrated can prevent hemorrhoids. How? When your body is full of water, your stools are softer and easier to pass through your body. Water can do so many good things for your body anyway, so it’s a good idea to get your eight ounces of water every single day. Your overall health and anus and rectum will thank you in the long run.
Get Enough Exercise
Like water, exercise helps just about every area of our bodies function better. One of the primary places that cardio exercise targets are digestive issues. If you have fewer digestive issues, you will strain less when you have to go to the bathroom, and your stools will pass more easily through your body.
Some fantastic exercises that you might want to try are yoga and light cardio, like walking, biking, or swimming. These exercises increase your flexibility and overall health. Avoid hefty activities like weightlifting, which can cause hemorrhoids to become worse. When you do a lot of weightlifting, you’re straining yourself and putting a lot of pressure on sensitive nerve endings in your anus and rectum. Even if you don’t already suffer from the condition, you could develop it through a weightlifting routine.
Keep your cardio consistent but kind to your body. The other great thing about incorporating exercise into your routine is that it can inspire you to eat better, another way that you can avoid getting or worsening your hemorrhoids.
Foods High In Fiber
Fiber helps us clean out our insides and can do wonders for our overall health. These days, plenty of foods are fortified with fiber, but you can also find plenty of fiber in naturally occurring ways.
Let’s talk about some foods that are fantastically full of fiber and can help you fight constipation like a total champ!
Fiber-filled dietary options:
- Leafy green vegetables are superstars in the fiber department. These antioxidant powerhouses are also potently high in fiber and can definitely ease your bowel movements. Add some leafy green vegetables to salads or stews, or combine them with citrus fruits and bananas for a superfood smoothie.
- Most fruits are really high in sugar, so if you want to keep a hemorrhoid attack at bay, slice up some mangos, apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries for a tasty fruit salad. Alternately, you could sprinkle some of these fruits on a green salad or make them into a delicious smoothie.
- Beans and lentils are full of fiber and can pop right into any meal. Lentil soup with carrots and kale is one of the best ways to get your daily dose of fiber, as well as other nutrients.
- Whole grains are high in fiber. If you eat a lot of white rice or bread, make the smart swap to whole grains, and you’ll definitely experience a whole new sense of health and vitality.
Stay away from processed foods that can lead to dehydration, constipation, or diarrhea, all of which could irritate the anus and rectum. A healthy diet is one of the best ways to prevent inflammation in this region of your body.