Hemorrhoids (or piles) are very common and almost 75% of people suffer from hemorrhoids. One in twenty people suffers from hemorrhoids in America. It is expected that approximately half of the population will suffer from hemorrhoids by the age of 50. As age progresses, the supporting tissues in the rectum and anus become weaker and more vulnerable to pressure. So let us understand what hemorrhoids are. How can you take care of hemorrhoids? They are swollen and inflamed clusters of veins lying beneath the mucous membranes lining the lowest part of the rectum. They affect both men and women. But men have an increased risk of developing them. Hemorrhoids are painful and irritating and can affect your day-to-day life, making you uncomfortable and tense.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids can be caused by the following conditions: However, age and pregnancy can also be the causes of hemorrhoids. A fetus can put pressure on a pregnant woman’s abdomen, and the weakening of muscles in old age may lead to hemorrhoids.
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Putting too much pressure on defecating
- Anal intercourse
- Sitting for long periods on the toilet
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
The symptoms of hemorrhoids may vary and depend upon whether the inflamed veins are external or internal. External hemorrhoids may cause pain and itching, generally during sitting. It may also lead to the appearance of one or more tender lumps around the anal area. Rubbing, scratching, or repeated cleaning of the area may further aggravate the symptoms.
If your hemorrhoids are internal, you may notice bright red blood during defecation. They are generally not painful unless they pass out of the anus (prolapse).
The following may be the symptoms:
- A lump near the anus (may cause pain).
- Bleeding is generally painless and is noticed on toilet paper or in the bowl.
- Itching, irritation, or swelling in and around the anal area.
- Discomfort and pain in the back area.
- unexpected fecal leakage.
Although hemorrhoids are not dangerous, it is always better to take care of them as early as possible. A delay in treatment may make the condition worse. External hemorrhoids may get infected or develop blood clots. Internal hemorrhoids may cause anemic conditions due to excessive bleeding.
How can you take care of hemorrhoids?
Proper diagnosis is very important to ascertain whether the symptoms appearing are due to hemorrhoids or other health conditions. Therefore, it is suggested that you confirm with your healthcare provider. The following tips can help you take care of hemorrhoids in a natural way at home:
Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar can help you take care of your hemorrhoids. Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and place it on the affected area a few times a day. You may also sit in a sitz bath by adding half a cup of apple cider vinegar to it. Overuse of apple cider vinegar may sometimes further exacerbate the problem. Therefore, use it with caution and avoid overuse.
Consume more fiber.
Difficulty in passing out poop may lead to hemorrhoids as more pressure is exerted due to constipation. Concentrating on eating a fiber-enriched diet can help to lower pressure during defecation as it facilitates easier bowel movements. Fiber is mostly found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consumption of a fiber-enriched diet may help you take care of hemorrhoids. Also, ensure optimum water intake.
Psyllium husk as a fiber supplement may also help with easy and regular bowel movements.
Rutin is a citrus flavonoid found in a variety of plants like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, cranberries, asparagus, and buckwheat. It is also available as a supplement. Consuming rutin-enriched fruits or taking it as a supplement (500 mg twice per day) can help you take care of hemorrhoids.
Coconut oil can also be used directly on hemorrhoids to get relief from itching and irritation. You can gently rub coconut oil with your hand or cotton ball a few times per day.
Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic medicine that has been used since ancient times to regularize bowel movements and help them pass smoothly. Thus, facilitating the reduction of pressure on the rectum and anus. which may help to take care of hemorrhoids. It is a combination of three herbs: Amla, Bahera, and Harar. native plants of India.
The anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera can help in relieving inflammation due to hemorrhoids. Although research is not yet available, consuming aloe vera juice after meals can help to take care of hemorrhoids by improving digestion. To get relief from irritation and promote healing, aloe vera can also be applied directly to affected areas. Use pure aloe vera, as creams may contain other ingredients.
An ice pack
Placing an ice pack on the affected area of external hemorrhoids can help in relieving pain, irritation, and swelling. It can help in reducing blood clots. Use an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Keep a clean cloth in between the ice pack and the skin to prevent any damage to the skin.
Warm Sitz bath:
It is recommended by experts to sit in warm water for 12 to 15 minutes, especially after a bowel movement. This helps in promoting healing and relieving pain. It can be done 2 to 3 times a day. A warm Sitz bath helps in increasing blood flow to the affected area, which helps in shrinking the size of hemorrhoids. Sitz baths for hemorrhoids are usually available from local pharmacies, or alternatively, bathtubs can be used.
As a natural remedy, witch hazel plant extract can be used by directly applying it to the affected area to relieve discomfort, irritation, and itching. A cotton ball or toilet paper dipped in hazel water can also be applied to the affected parts.
Seated toilets put more pressure on the rectum and anus and can be a major cause of hemorrhoids, leading to swollen and inflamed veins. Using a squat position reduces pressure and helps in preventing and relieving symptoms of hemorrhoids and constipation, one of the major causes of hemorrhoids.
How can you take care of and prevent hemorrhoids?
In many cases, hemorrhoids (including prolapsed hemorrhoids) subside on their own. A few people experience repeated instances of hemorrhoids. Weakened supporting tissues of the anus and rectum are one of the risk factors. Adopting healthy lifestyle changes can help in preventing them.
Improving your diet is one of the best preventive measures to take care of hemorrhoids. Around 60% to 70% of your diet should contain seasonal fruits and vegetables. Add apples, pears, berries, flaxseed, legumes, beans, and whole grains to your diet. These are all rich sources of fiber. That can improve your digestive health to an optimal level.
Drinking enough water ( at least 8 glasses per day) per day helps in softening your stool. which facilitates easy movement of stool and fewer pressure requirements to get relieved. This may help you take care of hemorrhoids.
Always listen to your body’s needs. Whenever you feel like going to the toilet, avoid holding it. The exerted pressure to hold back stools may increase the risk of hemorrhoids. Furthermore, it will harden your stool and more pressure will be needed to pass it out.
Avoid sitting too long on the toilet. Some people are in the habit of reading newspapers or magazines while on the toilet. Avoid such habits.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Remaining active will help with easy bowel movements. Try to add 20 to 30 minutes of activity per day.
If you experience severe pain, abdominal pain, fever, or bleeding, consult your healthcare provider for treatment. External hemorrhoids can be diagnosed by physical examination. whereas internal hemorrhoids are diagnosed by digital rectal exam or anoscopy.
For awareness purposes only.
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