Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swollen veins around the anus or lower part of the rectum. This is a similar condition to varicose veins and can be a consequence of excessive straining during bowel movement or higher pressure on the anus veins during pregnancy or because of sexual intercourse.
They can be of two types, i.e. internal, that is, inside the rectum or anus or external, that is, outside of the anus. The most common ones are the latter and can be painful, itchy, bleeding, and make sitting uncomfortable.
This is the most common disease which can negatively affect one’s quality of life. Believe it or not, approximately 10 million people report haemorrhoids in the US on a yearly basis. They can appear in both men and women at the same rate.
50 percent of the adults have symptoms by the time they reach 50. Though painful and uncomfortable, they’re not usually life-threatening. With the right treatment and care and lifestyle improvements, they can go away on their own.
Major Signs of Haemorrhoids
- Itch and discomfort around the anus
- Bleeding during bowel movement
- A lump or swelling around the anus
- Lump near the anus which is touch sensitive
- Mucus discharge during bowel movement
- Anal region pain during coughing or sneezing
The internal haemorrhoids can’t be seen or felt but if their surface is damaged because of strain, there may be bleeding. Sometimes, they can be pushed out through the anus as a result of straining and thus, trigger the formation of prolapsed haemorrhoids.
A blood pool may be created inside of an external haemorrhoid and cause strong ache, inflammation, and pain. This lump may need to be surgically removed.
What Are the Causes for Haemorrhoids?
They may be a consequence of higher pressure in the lower rectum or anus and usually form when the tissue which is supporting the anal vein and lower rectum weakens and stretches.
Even though there is no exact reason of haemorrhoids, these are the known contributing factors:
- A diet low in fiber
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Excessive bowel movement straining
- Sitting or squatting for prolonged period of time
- Anal intercourse
- Lifting heavy weights
- Diarrhea or constipation complications
Even though haemorrhoids rarely lead to complications, there are some that are possible such as anemia and strangulated haemorrhoid.
The former is caused by excessive loss of blood from the haemorrhoids whereas the latter is a painful condition caused by the ceasing of blood supply to an internal haemorrhoid.
Tips for Prevention of Haemorrhoids
- Stay hydrated by consuming a lot of water and non-alcoholic, healthy drinks on the daily
- Follow a diet rich in fiber from fruits, veggies, brown rice, whole grains, oatmeal, and bran for a softer stool and easier passing
- Increase physical activity which helps reduce surplus weight and avoid heavy weight lifting. Opt for jogging, swimming, yoga, stretching, and cycling
- Breathe during a bowel movement-don’t strain during movements and don’t postpone them
- Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, especially while you’re pooping
- Maintain the anal area clean at all times and if possible, shower the region after bowel movements gently with warm water. Avoid rough toilet paper, wipes or strong soaps
Are there any Natural Ways to Relieve Haemorrhoids?
In a lot of cases, you can relieve the swelling, itching, pain, and inflammation with home remedies. In case of serious ache and bleeding, consult your doctor.
Here are some effective ways to alleviate haemorrhoids naturally:
- Topical analgesics
- Warm bath or sitz bath- soak the anal region in warm water for 10 minutes after bowel movements
- Don’t use rough toilet paper and use wet towels that are free of alcohol and perfumes or even better, rinse the area gently after a bowel movement
- Apply cold ice packs or cold compresses on the anal region
- Use stool softeners or laxatives
- Use ring cushions or seats that helps lower the pressure from the painful area
- During a bowel movement, squat instead of sitting to ease the passing