Four out of five Americans will develop hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. So if you’re an unlucky victim you are not alone.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins around the anus and inside the rectum. They are similar to varicose veins; they enlarged and lose their elasticity resulting in sac-like protrusions into the anus. These veins have become stretched and weakened over time. Many people find the problem is exacerbated by long hours of sitting or standing, heavy lifting, obesity, pregnancy, and childbirth.
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching, burning, pain, swelling, and irritation. Most people first notice bright blood in their stool. While this can be frightening, this symptom is just an indication (usually) that the pressure of defecation has scratched the hemorrhoid and caused it to bleed. Internal hemorrhoids are usually painless, but those tend to bleed more than external.
Of course rectal bleeding can be a symptom of something more serious like colon cancer or colitis. If you have any doubts about this bleeding call your physician so this can be checked out.
Most people connect hemorrhoids with constipation and rightly so. Straining can cause this problem and you remember laxatives are not a remedy for this at all because you should not use them for long periods of time.
Most causes of hemorrhoids can be eliminated by natural remedies and a proper diet. It is interesting to note that hemorrhoids are virtually unknown in other countries where the diet is high in fiber. Humans are the only creatures to develop hemorrhoids. This can be taken as an indication of our diet, most likely inadequate fiber intake.
Many people don’t know that wiping themselves with harsh inexpensive toilet paper can aggravate the problem. Use baby wipes or pre-moistened towelettes, make sure they have no alcohol in them since that will not be soothing.
The most important step you can take is to increase the fiber in your diet. A high fiber diet has so many health benefits. A diet high in fruits and vegetables will and bulk to your stool and this is much easier to eliminate! Make the change gradually over about a week. I eat a yam every day and wow does that work as a high fiber food. Don’t rely on bran supplements, as you need to drink a lot of water for bran really increases your bulk. Also it’s very important to increase your water consumption to at least a liter of water a day.
Alcohol, nuts and coffee can actually aggravate hemorrhoids for some people; don’t rely on coffee as a stimulant as it will stop to work very quickly. Stool softeners are only a temporary agent if you are hospitalized and taking constipating pain medications.
* For immediate relief, apply a topical over-the-counter ointment for this condition, or use witch hazel and a non-petroleum product. Witch hazel applied to a baby wipe can be very soothing as it’s a mild astringent.
* Vitamin E can help promote healing and normal blood clotting; 400 I. U. daily. * If you are pregnant, consult with your health care provider before taking any additional supplement besides your prenatal vitamins.
* Take two to three sitz baths a day. Sit in a warm bath with your knees raised for five to fifteen minutes.
* If you must sit for long periods of time, buy a “doughnut” to relieve the pressure of sitting.
*If you are pregnant, it can help to lie down on your left side and rest for about a half hour two or three times a day. It also helps to lie on your left side at night, if you’re comfortable in that position. This can relieve the pressure of the fetus on the veins serving the lower half of the body. Talk to your midwife or obstetrician about this common problem.
If after a while you find that your improved diet, the use of a stool softener and better bowel habits don’t solve your problem, it is possible that you might need surgery. Surgical techniques for hemorrhoids are relatively simple today, consult with your physician of course.