Hemorrhoid Relief: Everything You Need To Know
If you’ve ever suffered from hemorrhoids: swollen and inflamed pillow-like clusters of veins in the rectum and anus that cause discomfort and bleeding, you know it’s not the business. According to Harvard Health, by age 50, nearly half the population has experienced one or more of the agonizing symptoms, which include: rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (large hemorrhoids that bulge outside the anal sphincter).
For some, hemorrhoids can be a recurrent and painful intrusion, yet rarely dangerous. So what are hemorrhoids and how does one prevent the anal annoyance?
There are two kinds of hemorrhoids:
- Internal: which occur in the lower rectum. Typically, less severe, internal hemorrhoids can cause bleeding and prolapse (extending from the rectum) but are somewhat painless.
- External: which develops under the skin around the anus. Because these spread over the surface of the skin — inside a small blood clot forms — they are often more painful and at times leave a skin tag or excess skin when/if they dissolve.
While experts are divided on what causes hemorrhoids, here’s what they know:
- Usually, hemorrhoids are related to chronic constipation, hard bowel movements (due to a lack of fiber), pregnancy, and among men, straining while lifting heavy objects — all which hinder blood flow to and from the area, causing it to enlarge the vessels and sometimes clot.
The good news is that treatments are becoming more effective and less invasive. Popular home treatments include:
Adding more fiber to your diet: Supplements like Metamucil and Citrucel, along with adequate fluid, will soften stool, making it easier to pass in addition to reduce your chances of developing hemorrhoids. Not a fan on supplements? No problems. Foods like broccoli, beans, wheat and oat bran, whole-grain foods, and fresh fruit are all high in fiber.