Hemorrhoids occur when veins in the rectum and anus become swollen. There are two types of hemorrhoids- internal and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids are normally painless and can bleed during a bowel movement. This type of hemorrhoid is often found during a rectal exam. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, often causes, swelling, itching, pain and bleeding during a bowel movement.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
There are many causes for hemorrhoids, including constipation, liver diseases and pregnancy. Additionally, as you age, your risk of developing hemorrhoids increases. In fact, almost half of people aged 50 or older will suffer with hemorrhoids during their lifetime.
When you suffer with constipation, you must strain to have a bowel movement. This straining puts pressure on the veins in the rectum and anus, which can lead to hemorrhoids. Another common issue that causes constipation is pregnancy. The extra weight of the fetus places pressure on the hemorroidal veins, causing them to swell.
Finally, liver disease, obesity, colon cancer and sitting for long periods can cause hemorrhoids. Liver disease can increase the pressure in your veins, which can lead to hemorrhoids. Obesity and sitting for long periods put pressure on the hemorroidal veins. Colon cancer and previous rectal surgery can increase your risk of developing this painful condition.
Home Remedies to Ease Hemorrhoids
There are many wonderful over the counter medications and home remedies to help ease your hemorrhoids. In addition to this, making smart dietary choices and getting plenty of exercise can help alleviate the pain, swelling, itching and discomfort caused by hemorrhoids.
- Stool Softeners Stool softeners increase the amount of water and fat included in the stool, which allow stools to pass easily. It is important to note that stool softeners are quite different from laxatives. Laxatives should be avoided because diarrhea can worsen the symptoms.
- Topical Anesthetics Topical anesthetics help relieve the pain and shrink swollen tissues. However, because some of these over the counter medications contain steroids and vasoconstrictors, those suffering with diabetes should speak with their physician before using.
- Dietary Changes One of the best ways to prevent hemorrhoids and relieve them is by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. Dietary fiber relieves constipation, one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids. Eat plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, along with drinking at least 64 ounces of water daily. Avoid spicy foods and acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes when your hemorrhoids are bothering you because these can irritate the delicate tissues.
- Sitz Baths Sitz baths can help decrease inflammation and relieve pain and itching. After using a sitz bath, it is imperative that you gently dry the anal area to minimize skin irritation. Gently blot the area with a soft cloth or allow to air dry completely before dressing.
- Cold Compresses Applying an ice pack to the area for about 10 minutes three times daily can provide pain relief and help with swelling.
- Moderate Exercise Moderate exercise can help relieve hemorrhoids by getting the blood flowing to the anal area. The increased blood flow provides the area with healing nutrients and oxygen to speed up the healing time.
- Pain Relievers Nonprescription pain relievers, such as acetaminophen can help alleviate the pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen provide pain relief and can help relieve the swelling.
There are many causes for hemorrhoids; however, many of these causes can be prevented by lifestyle and dietary changes. Prevention is the best way to ensure you do not get hemorrhoids. If you have hemorrhoids, there are many home remedies and naturopathic ways to help alleviate the pain, swelling and itching..