Hemorrhoids - it's a medical condition that can be embarrassing to talk about. The thing is, the majority of adults will suffer from this condition at some point in their lives and it is actually more common than you think.
We understand it's not necessarily a topic that comes up in conversation, understandably so, and because of this it can be difficult to know what to do.
We've put together this comprehensive resource that should leave you feeling relieved (pun intended) with your new found knowledge and set you on the way to a life free from hemorrhoids.
What You'll Learn
- Brief history of hemorrhoids
- Common symptoms
- The different types
- How it's diagnosed
- How to get relief
- Your diet and foods to consider
- How alcohol affects hemorrhoids
- Medical procedures for extreme cases
- Some complications
- Good bathroom habits
- Further information and help
Excuse the forthright question - does your anus hurt? Do you have pain after a bowel movement? These are indications that you may have hemorrhoids. Let's take a look at why it hurts, what the causes are, some of the treatments and what you can do to prevent hemorrhoids from reoccuring.
Hemorrhoids are part of our human anatomy and serve as a cushion to help with bowel movement control. The term is more commonly referred to, however, as a medical condition when the nerve endings around the anal area are uncomfortable and swell up.
The condition is undoubtedly painful and uncomfortable. While it is tolerable most of the time, when it gets more serious, it can be excruciating.
Basic things that you need to know about getting rid of hemorrhoids
Before knowing how to get rid of hemorrhoids, understanding the root causes, symptoms, stages, and types of hemorrhoids is important. This is important for identifying the best treatment and medication.
Although the exact cause of hemorrhoids is still unknown, some factors that cause increased pressure on the abdomen are potentially involved.
Generally, women are more prone to experience hemorrhoids than men because of their structural difference. Men experience this condition as well because of poor diet, drinking too much alcohol and eating foods that cause constipation and hard stools. Although the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids is not life threatening, the pain may sometimes feel excruciating.
There's a video presentation that presents everything you need for fast hemorrhoid relief and effective long term treatment.
History of hemorrhoids
A 1700 BC Egyptian papyrus shows the first mention of hemorrhoids. It states about getting rid of hemorrhoids by cooking acacia leaves, wrapping them in a piece of cloth and putting it on the anal area. In 460 BC, a treatment that is similar to the modern rubber band ligation was suggested. During 25 BC to 14 AD, Celsus defined ligation and excision procedures and explained the possible complications.
In medieval times, people called it Saint Fiacre’s curse. The term “hemorrhoids” was first used in 1398. It was derived from old French “emorroides”, Latin “haemorrhoida”, and Greek “haimorrhois”.
Causes of hemorrhoids
Although everyone may not experience hemorrhoids throughout their lives, hemorrhoids are tolerable and can heal on their own. Why do people experience hemorrhoids? Here are several causes:
- Chronic constipation
- Sitting on the toilet for too long
- Genetic reasons
- Straining bowel movement
- Poor diet or lifestyle
- Lack of exercise
Symptoms of hemorrhoids
The most common symptoms of hemorrhoids
- Blood in stool
- Pain around the anus area
- Burning sensation
- Feeling of fullness even after bowel movement
- Mucus in stool
- Fecal leakage
Types of hemorrhoids
There are four types of hemorrhoids that are characterized by different levels of pain and discomfort.
1. Internal hemorrhoids
Internal hemorrhoids are the start or first stage of hemorrhoids. This condition occurs when the veins are strained with heavy pressure caused by hard stool and constipation.
When you see blood in the stool or on the tissue paper, it is because of internal hemorrhoids. They can worsen once they become prolapsed or slip down through the anal cavity.
2. External hemorrhoids
When hemorrhoids are prolapsed down the anal cavity, they become external type of hemorrhoids. This condition can be very painful and extremely uncomfortable. They can cause bleeding and burning sensation.
3. Prolapsed hemorrhoids
Prolapse hemorrhoids occur when the tissues weaken, causing them to slip down through the anal cavity.
4. Thrombosed hemorrhoids
This is the most painful type of hemorrhoids. It happens when the external hemorrhoids form blood clots. The clots form when the blood supply is cut off and veins are inflamed.
The hemorrhoids split which causes clot under the skin. Treatment of thrombosed hemorrhoids includes surgery.
How are hemorrhoids diagnosed?
Typically, it is fairly easy to diagnose external hemorrhoids. Normally you can feel them on the outside of your anus as a lump or you may notice blood in the toilet bowl after a bowel movement.
Internal hemorrhoids are not as obvious and if you visit a doctor they would do a visual examination of the anus first. If there is something unusual outside the anal area, a digital rectal exam may be suggested.
This is performed by inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum. If the doctor feels anything unusual, they may conduct another test called sigmoidoscopy.
Sigmoidoscopy is done using a small camera to diagnose internal hemorrhoids. It uses a small fiber optic camera that can fit in a small tube which is inserted into the rectum. This gives a clear view of the inside of the rectum and the hemorrhoids can be examined carefully.
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How to relieve hemorrhoids pain and discomfort
Although hemorrhoids usually heal by themselves, the discomfort someone feels may not be tolerable. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve the pain and discomfort that are easy to practice.
1. Over-the-counter ointments
This is the first thing that people do when suffering from hemorrhoids. They use over- the-counter medication. This relieves the pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids. However, over-the-counter medications may have side effects.
2. Cold compress
A home remedy for hemorrhoids is cold compress. Cold compress helps shrink the hemorrhoids and they are reduced in size. It also relieves pain and gives quick relief from itching. It also results in easy passage of stool once the inflammation is lessened.
To apply cold compress, wrap ice in a clean cloth and put it directly on the inflamed area. Do it several times a day to compress blood vessels and avoid hemorrhoids from getting worse.
3. Warm water soak
Soak the anus in warm water to get instant relief from pain and itching and to make blood vessels relaxed. You can do this by preparing warm (not hot) water.
Soak the area for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, gently wipe the area using a wet towel so that it doesn’t dry off. Do it often to reduce hemorrhoids.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe vera contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that assist in providing quick relief from hemorrhoids and treating symptoms fast.
Cut stripes of aloe vera leaf, discarding the thorns.
Freeze them and then apply the stripes to the swollen area with a double action of cold compress to lessen the inflammation.
For external hemorrhoids, simply apply aloe vera gel to hydrate and calm the inflamed veins.
5. Psyllium husk
One of the main causes of hemorrhoids is hard stools. Hard stools cause even more pain and bleeding. One effective way to avoid or soften hard stools is psyllium husk.
It is rich in fiber and makes stools soft and easy to move. Consume it daily to decrease pressure on the veins and give them more time to heal.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is very strong therefore it should be diluted with carrier oils such as castor oil or sweet almond oil. Add one to two drops of tea tree oil to the carrier oil. Apply it to the swollen area with a cotton swab.
Do it regularly to shrink the hemorrhoids until they are completely gone. Tea tree oil is a very effective natural home remedy to treat hemorrhoids because it reduces inflammation.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Pure and natural apple cider vinegar is also effective in soothing inflamed veins and treating hemorrhoids naturally. For internal hemorrhoids, consume one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with water to get relief from pain and bleeding.
For external hemorrhoids, apply the vinegar directly to the hemorrhoids. It would sting at first but it instantly reduces pain and itching.
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Foods to eat in order to treat hemorrhoids
Although the specific root cause of hemorrhoids remains unknown, we can theorize that constipation and hard stools are major causes because they put too much pressure on the hemorrhoidal veins causing them to swell. Therefore, constipation should be avoided.
Here are some foods to include in your diet or add additional portion of them to your diet to prevent and treat hemorrhoids.
Dietary fiber is essential for easy bowel movement as it softens stools. It basically adds bulk to stool and helps in its easy passage through the intestinal tract.
Why do stools need to be bulky? It makes the intestinal tract muscles contract. Foods rich in dietary fiber include oatmeal, whole wheat breads, pumpkin seeds, barley, and more.
Natural, unsaturated fatty acids
These fatty acids lubricate the channel of bowel movements and lessen frictions during bowel movement.
Therefore, they reduce inflammation of the hemorrhoidal veins.
Apart from hemorrhoidal benefits, unsaturated fatty acids also improve cardiovascular health and provide good amounts of antioxidants.
Natural, unsaturated fatty acids are found in flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, avocado, tuna, salmon, and more.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are healthy food choices to replace the unhealthy ones that cause constipation and indigestion.
They also add bulk to stools and supply enough vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
They also prevent hemorrhoids from getting worse by preventing constipation and keeping the intestines clean.
They may also contain fiber that is essential for easy bowel movement.
Herbal infusions help calm down hemorrhoids veins. Fennel seeds, licorice root, dandelion, and senna leaf improve contractions of the intestinal muscles, progress the transit time of bowel, and prevent constipation.
Chamomile and Melissa tea can be added for relaxation of the veins. Consume 1-3 cups of herbal remedies everyday. Pregnant women or anyone suspected to be allergic to herbs should consult their physician first.
Lots of liquid
To prevent constipation that causes hemorrhoids, drink a lot of liquids everyday.
These fluids can be fruit juices, water, and teas.
If you have a large body build, you need to drink larger volumes, depending on your size it could be up to 3 liters a day.
For smaller body frames, 1.5 liters is ideal.
To ensure that you get enough amount of liquid, always keep water in your reach so that you can have it whenever you feel thirsty.
It's not only good for hemorrhoids of course. It's widely accepted that staying hydrated is the key to prevent constipation and other undesirable ailments.
Foods that make hemorrhoids worse
Hemorrhoids get worse with certain food groups. So although it may be obvious, another tip on getting rid of hemorrhoids is simply to avoid the foods that make the condition worse.
Too much meat
Meat is low in dietary fiber. This is why consuming large amounts of meat causes constipation. Healthy meat options include grilled pork neck with olive oil and lean chicken meat. These meats provide you with enough supply of proteins and healthy fats.
Although spicy foods such as ginger, hot peppers, and peppers may be healthy, they can make the swollen veins worse. Spicy foods make hemorrhoids even more inflamed.
Although dairy products provide calcium for healthy bones, they have a tendency to cause constipation.
Dairy products such as sour milk, hard cheeses, and cow milk promote constipation that causes hard stools and difficult bowel movement which in turn strains the hemorrhoids veins.
Dairy products are hard to digest and they slow down the digestion process.
Alcohol relaxes the muscles responsible for bowel movement. Although some people who consume alcohol in large amounts do not experience the pain and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids while being drunk, they do experience it once alcohol is no longer in their system.
Alcohol irritates the existing swollen nerves causing the hemorrhoids and makes the condition worse.
The best way to get rid of hemorrhoids is to keep a healthy and balanced diet. This way the hemorrhoids can be treated.
Furthermore, continue to eat healthy foods to prevent hemorrhoids from coming back. One should stick to healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Staying stationary all the time relaxes muscles including the muscles needed for contraction and good bowel movement.
Active lifestyle involves walking, jogging or engaging in sports activities.
A healthy lifestyle also excludes drinking alcohol and smoking. These habits not only promote hemorrhoids, but also lead to more serious conditions such as hypertension and heart diseases.
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Medical procedures for extreme cases of hemorrhoids
If over-the-counter medications and home remedies no longer work because of the severity of hemorrhoids, the doctor may suggest medical procedures. These procedures include rubber band ligation in which the doctor cuts off the flow of blood to hemorrhoids by wrapping a rubber band around them.
This procedure forces the hemorrhoids to reduce in size. It should be done at the clinic and not at home.
Another medical procedure is injection of a chemical into the blood vessels. The chemical makes hemorrhoids shrink. It is known as sclerotherapy or injection therapy.
Complications associated with hemorrhoids
If hemorrhoids - especially the severe cases - are left untreated, they may cause complications. Complications associated with hemorrhoids are rare but may include the following:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Blood clots in inflamed veins
Bathroom habits for getting rid of hemorrhoids
Although maintaining healthy diet is required, there are a few bathroom habits that can help reduce the inflammation in the anal area and prevent hemorrhoids.
First of all, avoid sitting too long in the toilet. You do not have to read an entire magazine or a whole book while sitting there.
Furthermore, use soft and high-quality toilet paper when you wipe the anal area after bowel movement to avoid over wiping.
These bathroom habits can effectively help prevent hemorrhoids.
Talking about hemorrhoids is not fun because it is embarrassing. Although they usually heal on their own, it is still important to avoid the possible root causes.
Getting rid of hemorrhoids requires consumption of dietary fiber, fruits, vegetables, and herbal infusions as well as exclusion of alcohol, too much meat, too much dairy products, and spicy foods from your diet.
It also entails consumption of enough fluids. Healthy lifestyle prevents constipation and hard stools that cause the nerve endings on the anal cavity to swell and get irritated. Healthy bathroom habits are also helpful in preventing hemorrhoids.
Hopefully you feel better equipped to get rid of hemorrhoids and you understand that treatment options do exist.
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