Hemorrhoids are caused by an increase in pressure in the veins of your anus or rectum. A common cause of increased pressure is straining while attempting to have a bowel movement. Straining may occur if you are constipated or if you have diarrhea. An extended duration being seated on the porcelain potty will also cause increased pressure. While you are seated on the toilet your anus relaxes. The veins in your anus fill with blood, causing pressure on those veins. Almost any form of physical strain could result in hemorrhoids even obesity or heavy lifting.
Hemorrhoids can be very painful. Most hemorrhoids will eventually heal and stop hurting on their own in approximately a week or two. Hemorrhoids have a tendency to come back unless you follow some simple hemorrhoid prevention techniques. If yours continue to cause problems, speak with your physician regarding treatment options.
Best Hemorrhoid Prevention
• More fiber in your diet. Fiber helps soften stools. Fresh fruit, leafy vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources of fiber. Avoid low-fiber foods, such as ice cream, cheese, white bread and meat.
• Drink plenty of fluids. Eight glasses of water a day is ideal. Alcohol is not recommended as part of your fluid intake.
• Exercise regularly. Moderate activity at least 3 hours a week. Or try to do vigorous activity at least 2 hours a week.
• Bulk-forming laxatives may be helpful. Take a fiber supplement, such as Citrucel or Metamucil, every day if needed. Begin with a small dose and progressively increase the dose over a month or more. Other types of laxatives can lead to diarrhea, which can make your hemorrhoids worse.
• Avoid laxatives for more than occasional use. If you feel the need to have a bowel movement, don't wait too long to use the bathroom. Your stool will get drier and harder the longer you wait.
• Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge.
• Avoid straining to pass stools. Relax and give yourself time to let things happen naturally.
• Avoid holding your breath while passing stools.
• Avoid reading while sitting on the toilet. Get off the toilet as soon as you have finished.
• Train your digestive system to have regular bowel movements. Try to schedule a daily sit time.
• Avoid prolonged sitting or standing. Take frequent short walks.
• If possible, avoid lifting heavy objects frequently. If you must lift heavy objects, always exhale as you lift the object. Don't hold your breath when you lift.
• Take a high-quality probiotic. Balancing your gut bacteria will not only help your constipation, but your overall health as well.
• Get control of your emotional stress. Emotional stressors which contribute to constipation. It can also help you reduce and eliminate painful symptoms of hemorrhoid flare ups.
• Few people are aware of or even use a squat toilet. When you use a toilet like that, your body will be in the position it was designed to be in when you're having a bowel movement. Optimal elimination is achieved in the natural squat position when the puborectalis muscle relaxes, allowing the anorectal angle to straighten, resulting in easier defecation.
• If you are experiencing a flare-up of your hemorrhoids, discomfort and swelling, some simple at home remedies may provide you with some relief.
• Take a fiber powder to soften the stool.
• Apply a cold compress or icepack to the anal area, or try a cool cotton pad soaked in witch hazel.
• Apply petroleum jelly or aloe vera gel to the anal area, or use an over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparation containing lidocaine or hydrocortisone.
• It is recommended that after every bowel movement you clean the anal area with a witch hazel pad, a soft moist baby wipe or a cotton cloth soaked in warm water. Clean well but be gentle. Aggressive rubbing with soaps or skin cleansers may irritate the skin causing hemorrhoid discomfort.
• Many people find a warm sitz bath to provide much needed relief, especially when the hemorrhoids are uncomfortable. A sitz bath is a bath in which a person sits in water up to their hips. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body due to hemorrhoids, anal fissures or rectal surgery. It works by keeping the affected area clean and increasing the flow of blood to it. A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. Alternatively, a large basin can be used. Sitz baths may either be warm or cool. Some people find alternating between hot and cold water soothing. Sitz baths may be filled with just water, or substances such as salt, baking soda or vinegar can be added.
If your hemorrhoid pain and discomfort are beyond home remedies, all attempts at relief have failed, then it may be time to seek assistance from your family physician.
• Rubber band ligation. A rubber band is slipped around the base of an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its circulation. This shrinks the banded hemorrhoid. This is a common form of treatment a family clinics.
• Sclerotherapy. An irritating chemical solution is injected directly into the internal hemorrhoid or the area around it. This solution causes a local reaction that interferes with blood flow inside the hemorrhoid, making the hemorrhoid shrink.
• Coagulation therapies. These treatments use electricity or infrared light to destroy internal hemorrhoids by burning.
Call your doctor if you have bleeding from your rectum, especially true if you are over age 40, when there is an increase in the risk of rectal bleeding from colorectal cancer or other serious digestive diseases. Surgical treatment procedures are available for serious hemorrhoid cases.
• Hemorrhoidectomy is effective but quite painful. This traditional surgical removal of hemorrhoids is for both internal and external hemorrhoids. Laser hemorrhoidectomy does not offer any advantage over standard operative techniques.
Hemorrhoid stapling. This is a surgical procedure that uses a special device to internally staple and remove hemorrhoid tissue. It is effective only for internal hemorrhoids, but is less painful than traditional hemorrhoidectomy.
Hemorrhoids are not dangerous, and only need to be treated when the symptoms cause discomfort or pain. If hemorrhoids occur during pregnancy, they will usually regress naturally after childbirth. Hemorrhoids related to constipation will usually regress naturally providing you make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle.
For hemorrhoids that cause persistent symptoms, discomfort and pain despite nonsurgical treatment, the prognosis from office treatment or surgery are usually very good.