Getting older has its benefits—and its drawbacks. Included in the latter are hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels on the outer rectum and anus can turn bowel movements into intensely painful experiences. Classic symptoms include rectal pain, itching, bleeding, and possibly prolapse (protrusion of hemorrhoids into the anal canal). Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can be a painful recurrent bother.
Hemorrhoids come in two varieties. The internal type sprout from within the rectum. External hemorrhoids develop on the anus itself. Either way, stools passing by them can cause pain and bleeding.
Tips on Living with Hemorrhoids
These tips will offer great assistance in reducing the pain and itching experienced by a person who has hemorrhoids. However, in the case of an intense pain, a qualified medical practitioner should be consulted and instructed precautions should be taken.
1. Increase Your Intake of Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber is an essential part of everyone’s diet because it improves digestion and helps to prevent constipation. Constipation is a major cause of hemorrhoids since it puts significant pressure on the anal and rectal veins. Constipation often makes patients spend extended periods of time seated on the toilet, causing a greater increase in the pressure in the anus and rectum. Constipation also results in hard stools, which require a greater force to expel from the body, adding to the already augmented pressure.
If you already have hemorrhoids, a change in your diet may still have a positive impact on your situation. Increasing the amount of fiber you ingest can improve your hemorrhoids within two weeks. Without sufficient fiber, you are at risk of becoming constipated, which can be disastrous if you already have hemorrhoids because the increased pressure in the anal region causes the development of thrombosed hemorrhoids. These hemorrhoids are clotted and are considerably more painful than regular hemorrhoids. Therefore, it is important to increase your intake of fiber, even if you have pre-existing hemorrhoids.
An increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains (e.g., wheat, rice, oats, barley, gram, and corn), summed with other high fiber-rich foods, like beans may provide influential help in the digestion process and can regulate normal bowel movements. The main advantage of the intake of such foods is that it makes the stools softer and bulkier. Eating a high fiber diet also improves your digestion, which makes the food pass easily through the stomach, and avoid stress in the anal region. Thus, it is recommended that an individual should observe a consumption of 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day. It is further advised to slowly include fibers in the diet since the body may not support the sudden increase of fiber intake and problems like gas may be experienced.
The Importance of Fiber Supplements
If a person is not able to meet the required amount of fiber in his or her diet or if he or she faces trouble in taking enough fiber in the regular diet, then a fiber supplement will turn out as a beneficial option. Initially, a psyllium husk, such as Metamucil or Citrucel can be taken to get rid of the rectal pain and itching. However, if it leads to the occurrence of stomach gas or bloating, then fiber supplements containing wheat dextrin or methylcellulose may turn effective.
2. Drink Sufficient Amounts of Water
Water is very important for people with hemorrhoids. Just like fiber, water helps in the prevention of constipation. It acts as a stool softener, thereby reducing the stress on the anus and rectum when passing stool.
An individual should target to drink at least 2 liters or 8 to 10 glasses of water every day. One must adopt this habit and drink water slowly. In cases where a person gulps down the water in haste then a major amount of it passes through urination.
The exact cause of hemorrhoids may not be clear but all medical practitioners recommend an increased intake of water since it is an economical and a non-invasive treatment, which can be accomplished by any individual and does not lead to any side effects. Drinking safe and purified water will definitely eliminate constipation and get the bowels moving.
3. Take Care of the Affected Area
Because it is the area of concern in a person with hemorrhoids, it is important to maintain cleanliness in your bottom area. You should avoid using soap and alcohol-based wipes if possible, as they can make the problem grow even worse. Simply wash the area with cold water and wipe it gently. Cleaning thoroughly is important to avoid infection in your anal area. After washing, you should also use moisturizers for hemorrhoids that can be purchased over-the-counter.
To get relief from your hemorrhoids, also use the ancient practice of sitting in warm water. This helps to improve blood flow in the anal area, which is the key to getting rid of hemorrhoids for good. Sitting in a sitz bath offers an immense relief. They are easily available at the pharmacy or medical stores. Soaking the inflamed area in the warm water while sitting in the sitz bath for a period of 10 to 15 minutes will lower down the pain. This method can be repeated for 2 to 3 times every day.
You can choose to apply ice on your anal area. To do this, simply wrap some ice cubes in a towel and apply over your bottom area. Application of ice can help with any inflammation that the hemorrhoids have caused.
4. Take Oral Pain Relievers
Hemorrhoids can often be extremely painful. Taking over-the-counter pain medications can help relieve the pain that you are experiencing. Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil or Motrin IB (ibuprofen), or aspirin may temporarily help in relieving the pain or discomfort. Taking oral pain relievers allows people with hemorrhoids to proceed with their everyday life and fulfill their responsibilities. In cases of severe pain or bleeding, it is advisable to contact an experienced doctor for a further evaluation of your condition.
5. Use a Moist Tissue or Baby Wipes
Baby wipes and wet tissues are the recommended wiping materials for people with hemorrhoids, especially in the advanced stages. The reason is that hemorrhoids can easily break when normal tissues are used, bleeding happens. Breaking the hemorrhoids can also lead to an infection in the body since they become open wounds. Therefore, it is best to be gentle and avoid the use of dry tissues.
Wipes or tissues that contain alcohol or any fragrances should completely be avoided, since both of these may cause an increased irritation. For more relief, one can chill the wipes or use moistened wipes since both can help reduce anal swelling.