||Hemorrhoid - Understanding Its
Causes and Symptoms
No one likes to talk about hemorrhoids or piles - and even fewer
seek help to treat this painful condition. Indeed, from the sparse
information on hemorrhoids in magazines and newspapers, one might
think that hemorrhoids are rare. Actually, hemorrhoids may be one
of the most prevalent ailments in the United States.
If you are suffering silently from hemorrhoids, you are not alone.
It's estimated that about 100 million Americans are suffering with
you. In fact, more than half of the US population develops hemorrhoids
by the age of 50!
What are the symptoms of hemorrhoids?
All of us have hemorrhoidal veins in the anal area, both inside
and outside of the anus. In hemorrhoids, these veins are irritated
and swollen, causing hemorrhoids symptoms such as pain, itching,
bleeding, burning sensation and general discomfort.
There are two types of hemorrhoids:
In external hemorrhoids (or hemorrhoids outside of the anus),
swollen veins form a soft lump around the anal opening. If
blood clot develops, this lump would turn hard or become painful
thrombosed hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids are usually very
painful, since the skin tissue around the anus is densely
covered with nerve endings.
Internal hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are usually not
painful because of the lack of nerve endings inside the anal
canal. Indeed, most people are not aware of their internal
hemorrhoids until they become irritated and bleed during bowel
movement. Here, hard stool rubbing against internal hemorrhoids
cause them to rupture, resulting in blood on the stool, toilet
paper, or even droplets of bright red blood in the toilet
Internal hemorrhoids can "prolapse" or become pushed
outside of the anal opening. In rare instances, the sphincter
muscle can go into spasm and trap the prolapsed hemorrhoids
outside of the anus. This cuts the blood circulation into
the strangulated hemorrhoids. Prolapsed and strangulated hemorrhoids
are serious conditions that require immediate medical attention.
Likewise, bleeding of any amount from the anus should be
checked by a doctor since it may be due to cancer or other
serious medical conditions.
What are the causes of
Hemorrhoids are most likely caused by diet and straining on the
toilet. Actually, these two factors are linked: eating bad food
leads to constipation, which leads to straining on the toilet.
It has been suggested that the Western diet, which is rich in processed
food and lacking in fiber, also contributes to hemorrhoids. Indeed,
hemorrhoids are rare in less-developed African countries where the
diet is rich in roughage and fiber. As the population in these countries
change their diet to include more processed food, the incidence
of hemorrhoids increase.
The style of modern toilet, unfortunately, encourage straining.
Some people also read while sitting on the toilet, adding undue
pressure to the anal veins.
Other factors that contribute to hemorrhoids include aging, heredity,
bouts of diarrhea, using laxatives. For women, pregnancy is often
a factor as the fetus puts pressure on the hemorrhoidal veins.
Fortunately, in most instances, hemorrhoids self-heal. This means
that unless you do something to cause flare ups (i.e. continue to
strain when defecating or have chronic constipation or diarrea)
most hemorrhoids resolve themselves without any intervention.
However, the weakened walls of the distended veins in hemorrhoids
will cause it to be prone to future flare ups. This is why people
say once you have hemorrhoids, you'll always hemorrhoids.
Prevention of Hemorrhoids
If you are lucky enough not to have hemorrhoids, there are some
things you can do to prevent them. Even if you already have hemorrhoids,
it is possible to prevent flare ups. These include:
Change your diet to include more bran or fiber and drinking
Refined or processed foods typically have little fiber content
and lots of animal fats. These type of food do not have enough
roughage for the intestine to pass the stool easily, thus
leading to straining on the toilet. Instead, eat more bran,
fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Avoid foods that may cause indigestion, cause gas and flatulence,
Drinking more water also makes stool softer. In addition to
reducing straining, passing softer stool is also less likely
to irritate existing hemorrhoids.
Change your bowel habit
Don't wait when "nature calls", otherwise your
stool can dry or harden, thus more difficult to pass.
Also, avoid straining, as well as sitting and reading on the
toilet. Most of the time, it takes only 2 to 5 minutes to
pass stool. Wash the anus well after the urge is gone and
leave the toilet.
Exercise and don't sit around for too long
Keeping an active lifestyle can help reduce the pressure
on the veins and keep you from getting constipated.
Sitting or standing for too long can add undue pressure to
hemorrhoidal veins. Take frequent breaks from your desk job
and move around to prevent hemorrhoids.
Treatment with Hemaron