ALL ABOUT HEMORRHOIDS
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus.
1. Internal hemorrhoids
involve veins inside the rectum that can cause discomfort or fullness in the rectum.
2. External hemorrhoids
involve veins outside the anus that may cause a pinching sensation, itchiness, pain, cracking and even bleeding.
Hemorrhoids range in size from very small, like the tip of a pencil, to very large, like half the size of a quarter.
Risk factors for hemorrhoids include
- Chronic constipation or diarrhea
- Straining during bowel movements
- Sitting on the toilet for long periods of time
- A lack of fibre in the diet
- Being overweight
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
WHO GETS THEM?
About 75% of people will have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives
Both men and women are likely to experience the discomfort of hemorrhoids
Adults of any age can get hemorrhoids but by age 50, nearly half of adults have had to deal with the itching and pain that can signal the presence of hemorrhoids.
How often do they strike?
In market research, 3 out of 4 hemorrhoid sufferers reported suffering fairly often, around 3–6 times per year. But frequency varies from one person to the next. Some people may only suffer once in their life, while others will get them more often. And of course, some flare-ups may be worse than others.
PREVENTION, EXERCISE & CARE
- Try to avoid heavy lifting and straining.
- Don’t strain or push too hard while going to the bathroom.
- Don’t hold it when you need to go. If you feel the need to have a bowel movement, don’t wait too long. Your stool will get drier and harder the longer you wait.
- Gently clean your bum after each bowel movement with moist toilet paper or wipes.
- Take 10–minute baths in warm water a couple of times a day. The water doesn’t need to be very deep — just enough to cover your bum.
- If your hemorrhoids are very swollen, put an ice pack on them.
- If you have a very painful flare-up, try to stay off your feet as much as possible.
EXERCISE IS A MUST
Exercise helps to move stools through your body and helps prevent constipation. It can also help reduce the pressure on the veins in your bum. Pressure can increase when you’re sitting or standing for long periods of time. And, of course, exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which is important because being overweight is one of the risk factors that can cause hemorrhoids.
HYGIENE IS KEY
To avoid irritating your hemorrhoids, it’s important to clean your bum after each bowel movement. You can use moistened toilet paper or wipes (either baby wipes or special wipes for hemorrhoids). Try not to wipe too much. Sometimes washing your bum in the bath or shower after bowel movements can help if your hemorrhoids are especially painful. To protect your bum from further irritation, try and keep the area clean and dry.
Hemorrhoids can be caused or made worse by constipation
Eat a fibre-rich diet
Fibre is important because it helps keep your stools soft. To get more fibre in your diet, eat lots of fresh fruit, leafy vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals. You should avoid eating low-fibre foods like ice cream, cheese, white bread and meat.
Constipation can also be caused by not drinking enough fluids. Try and stay hydrated during the day. Remember alcohol and caffeine can cause dehydration. Eight glasses of water is the recommended rule of thumb.
WHAT ARE HEMORRHOIDS?
Straining too much during a bowel movement can cause hemorrhoids. If you’re suffering from occasional constipation, find the treatment that’s right for your specific needs—before it triggers another problem.