Have you ever experienced a hemorrhoid? If you answered yes, then you are all too familiar with the discomfort that often comes with one. Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins at the lowest part of the rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, itching, and rectal bleeding. Hemorrhoids can also protrude outside of the anus.
A hemorrhoid can occur internally or externally. An internal hemorrhoid occurs at the end of your rectum. They are typically not painful because they occur in an area with less nerves. The only way you might know you have one is if you notice bright red blood in your stool. External hemorrhoids occur under the skin around the anus. This type of hemorrhoid is more painful. Also, if you get a pooling of blood in a hemorrhoid it can turn into a clot and cause a lump around the anus, swelling, and pain.
Hemorrhoids can occur when there is poor blood flow in the rectal/anal region caused by increases in pressure such as with straining for bowel movements, during pregnancy because of the increase weight of the baby on the pelvic structures, heavy lifting with poor breathing, and obesity.
Most of the time hemorrhoids can be managed on your own at home. Prevention is key. Eating a high fiber diet and drinking enough water can keep stool soft to prevent constipation. In addition, when your body tells you it’s time to head to the bathroom for a bowel movement, try not to delay too long. This signal is letting you know that it’s the optimal time to go, thus your body will not have to work as hard (straining) to evacuate stool. If you miss that signal, try to wait until it returns again to prevent the temptation to strain. Avoiding straining and constipation and reduce your chances of developing a hemorrhoid.
Exercise can help get your digestive tract moving because of an increase in blood flow. This can help stimulate an urge to have a bowel movement. If an urge occurs, try to take advantage of it and head to the restroom pretty soon.
Safe bending and lifting techniques which incorporate good breathing are also key in preventing too much pressure in your pelvis. When lifting something heavy, try to get help if possible. If help is not available, take your time, use your legs to help with the lift, and exhale during the hardest part of the lift. That means you will need to inhale (breathe in) right before you start.
You can also treat inflamed hemorrhoids with over-the-counter topical treatments (e.g. Tucks), sitz baths, or sitting on a cushion.
If hemorrhoids are causing moderate to severe levels of discomfort it can be treated by a physician with minimally invasive procedures such as a rubber band ligation, laser or infrared coagulation, sclerotherapy, and cryotherapy. If you have a large hemorrhoid, surgery may be recommended to remove it.
If you have questions on how to manage a hemorrhoid, prevent straining during bowel movements, or how to improve constipation schedule a free Discovery Call with Katy.