Hemorrhoids By The Numbers
- Around 20 million people in the United States suffer from hemorrhoids .
- In 2004, the National Institutes of Health noted that the diagnosis of hemorrhoids was associated with 3.2 million ambulatory care visits, 306,000 hospitalizations and 2 million prescriptions in the United States.
- The peak incidence of hemorrhoids is between the ages of 4565. Development of hemorrhoids before the age of 20 is unusual.
- The risk of developing hemorrhoids is higher in white adults than in black adults, higher in women than in men and higher for women who are pregnant.
What Creams Can Be Used
Anti-inflammatory creams and pastes containing ingredients like zinc and panthenol, or herbal substances like witch hazel and aloe vera, are often recommended for the treatment of hemorrhoids. These aim to relieve skin irritations and itching.
Some doctors also prescribe ointments to numb the skin locally, for example with the drug lidocaine. Steroid creams are sometimes used to reduce the inflammation too. These should only be used for a limited amount of time.
Hemorrhoid Remedies You Can Try On Your Own At Home
There are several steps you can take at home to ease the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids:
- Take a sitz bath two to three times daily for 15 to 20 minutes. Sit in warm water, covering just your hips and buttocks. This can help reduce itching and irritation. You can take a sitz bath in a few inches of water in a regular tub, but small tubs that fit over toilet seats are also available for this purpose at pharmacies. Following a sitz bath, gently pat the area dry to avoid further irritation.
- Use ice packs on the area to relieve swelling and pain.
- Dont push too hard or strain while passing a bowel movement.
- Keep the area clean by bathing or showering daily with warm water. After bathing, gently pat the area dry. You can even use a hair dryer to dry the area.
- Sit on cushions rather than hard surfaces to help lessen the swelling of hemorrhoids and keep new ones from forming.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin as needed.
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What Not To Eat
Foods with little fiber can cause or make constipation worse, so it’s best to limit how much you eat of them.
- White bread and bagels
- Milk, cheese, and other dairy
- Processed foods such as frozen meals and fast food
Watch the amount of salt you eat. It can lead to your body hanging on to water, which puts more pressure on your blood vessels. That includes the veins in your bottom that cause hemorrhoids.
Iron supplements can cause constipation and other digestive problems, so talk to your doctor before you take them.
Lets Talk About Those Hemorrhoid Symptoms
You might never experience a sign of hemorrhoids in your life. In a 2012 International Journal of Colorectal Disease study, 55 percent of the 380 participants with hemorrhoids had never experienced symptoms.
These piles of veins tend to only make themselves known when theyre irritated or swollen, says Dr. Grucela. This often happens if theres too much pressure on the area, like if you regularly strain a lot when you poop. Another example is if youre pregnant, because the added weight puts more pressure on your lower body. Symptoms can also happen due to a thrombosed hemorrhoid, which is basically when a blood clot forms in one of these external piles of veins.
If you have these symptoms, Dr. Grucela recommends you consult someone like your primary care doctor, gastroenterologist, or gynecologist. These issues dont always happen due to hemorrhoids conditions like and genital warts are other possible culprits. Its smart to get a formal diagnosis so you can best treat whatevers making your butt misbehave.
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Sitz Bath Can Completely Heal Hemorrhoids
A very simple solution to soothe enlarged hemorrhoids is to use a sitz bath. The journal Women and Birth in 2018 reported that regularly using a sitz bath can heal hemorrhoids. Researchers used 2 groups of women who both took lubrication suppositories before pooping and also a daily fiber supplement. One group used an anorectal cream for hemorrhoids and the other, a sitz bath 3 times a day.16
The result was that the sitz bath group was almost as effective in curing hemorrhoids as the group using anorectal cream.
To make your own sitz bath, fill a bath with water until it reaches your genitals when sitting down. Mix in 20g of salt and sit in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes 3 times a day to treat your hemorrhoids without surgery.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Another simple way to prevent hemorrhoids is by drinking plenty of water on a daily basis. Healthy bowel movements are achieved with adequate hydration. Drinking plenty of water will keep your body hydrated and will help to prevent constipation and straining during movements. Most healthy adults require at least six to eight cups of water every day to keep the digestive system running efficiently. In addition, the water is good for your overall health and well-being.
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My Hemorrhoids Keep Coming Back What Should I Do
Having hemorrhoids once in a lifetime is probably more than enough, but what if your hemorrhoids return? What if they return more than once?
For some individuals, having hemorrhoids is unfortunately not a onetime experience. Hemorrhoids can reoccur on and off for various reasonssometimes related to lifestyle habits, and sometimes due to a medical condition.
In terms of lifestyle, hemorrhoids can be caused by a diet low in fiber, obesity, or bathroom habits . Medical conditions that have been connected to hemorrhoid growth include pregnancy, chronic diarrhea, and chronic constipation.
Do I need to see a doctor for reoccurring hemorrhoids?
At-home hemorrhoid relief remedies can help, but sometimes these treatments are not enough, particularly in cases where your hemorrhoids return. Doctors will always recommend improving lifestyle habits in order to aid in the prevention of hemorrhoids, but for relief of reoccurring hemorrhoids, the GI specialists of San Francisco Gastroenterology recommend hemorrhoid banding.
What is hemorrhoid banding?
The hemorrhoid banding procedure gently places a small rubber band around the base of each hemorrhoid, which causes the hemorrhoid to gradually shrink until all symptoms are removed. The procedure is quick, only taking a few minutes, and painless. Sedation is not required during hemorrhoid banding, so those who undergo the procedure are able to resume normal activities immediately after their visit to SFGI.
Fill Up On Plenty Of Fiber
A hemorrhoids high fiber diet helps to regulate your bowel movements. It increases the amount of water in your stools and also makes your stools more normal and easier to pass. Fiber can reduce symptoms of hemorrhoids and make it less likely that bleeding will occur.
Fiber is also important for keeping you feeling fuller for longer. This means you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy foods that can cause digestive issues.
Along with protein, it’s a key nutrient for those who follow a regular workout routine. Physical activity is another helpful way to avoid hemorrhoids.
Be sure to include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber makes it easier to dissolve food in water. Insoluble fiber helps bowels to move along through the intestines.
Some of the best food for hemorrhoids includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Broccoli, apples, black beans, pears, peas, lentils, and bananas are high in fiber. Brussel sprouts, raspberries, brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and prunes are other good choices.
Fruit skins are a great source of insoluble fiber so be sure to leave them on. Taking a fiber supplement can also be helpful for hemorrhoids.
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How Can I Tell If I Have Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are hard to miss, so if you think that you might have one, there’s a good chance that you’re right. Some of the common signs and symptoms include:
- A feeling of skin protruding during bowel movements.
- Bleeding during bowel movements, which you might notice as blood in your stool, in the toilet bowl, or on toilet paper after wiping.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Hemorrhoids
You may be more likely to get hemorrhoids if other family members, like your parents, had them.
Pressure building up in your lower rectum can affect blood flow and make the veins there swell. That may happen from:
- Pushing during bowel movements
People who stand or sit for long stretches of time are at greater risk, too.
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Limit Foods That Can Cause Constipation
Foods that cause hemorrhoids are often low in fiber. This leads to constipation which worsens the condition.
Avoid processed foods and refined carbs, like white bread and pasta. Having a gluten or wheat sensitivity should also call for a special diet like this.
Dairy products, like cheese, yogurt, and milk can also increase constipation. Avoiding red or processed meat can be helpful as well.
Do I Need To See The Doctor For A Hemorrhoid
Hemorrhoids can be treated at home, but you should let your doctor know if your symptoms haven’t improved after a week. In some cases, a hemorrhoid could be infected. Serious conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and colon cancer can also cause rectal bleeding, so it’s important to have the condition examined if it isn’t getting better.
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Hemorrhoid Causes Recurring Hemorrhoids And Why You Keep Getting Hemorrhoids
Half the U.S. population is affected by hemorrhoids by the time they turn 50, and anyone who has experienced the discomfort caused by hemorrhoids once is not eager for the return of the symptoms. Understanding some of the common causes of hemorrhoids is the first step in preventing them from happening to you again.
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What Is Causing Your Hemorrhoids
The two things that typically cause hemorrhoids are dehydration or a lack of water and constipation.
When you are facing either one of these states your stool can stiffen up and cause more straining when you have a bowel movement.
Lack of fiber can also have a similar effect because the stool becomes hard, malformed, and is not easy to pass, which leads to straining and pressure.
Over straining and pushing hard to pass a bowel movement are common causes of hemorrhoids.
Many pregnant women, especially if obesity is thrown into the mix, are afflicted with hemorrhoids.
This is due to the extra amount of pressure that is applied to the lower body.
Aging tends to be another factor, because as we get older the tissues that support the veins in the rectal area will stretch and become weaker.
Consider Having A Clot Removed
External hemorrhoids can result in extremely painful blood clots, and while theyre not dangerous, they can take a couple of weeks to resolve on their own. If yours scores high on your personal pain scale, a doctor can remove a thrombosed hemorrhoid with a relatively simple in-office procedure under local anesthetic in about 10 minutes. Keep in mind: The first 24 to 48 hours are typically the most painfuland the best time to have a clot removed, says Dr. Ky.
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How To Make Hemorrhoids Go Away
Hemorrhoids are inflamed veins in the rectum that cause bleeding. In many cases, hemorrhoids will never cause pain, but they can leave you feeling uncomfortable or in pain if they start to bleed. While hemorrhoids can be embarrassing, they are often easily treated with simple home remedies.
How To Reduce Hemorrhoid Pain In The Future
So maybe hemorrhoid pain isnt an issue for you right this minute. But if youre reading this, youve probably had hemorrhoid problems in the past and want to know what you can do to prevent painful flare-ups in the future. Thankfully, there are a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make to your daily routine that will significantly reduce the frequency and severity of your hemorrhoid symptoms:
- Eat more fiber between 25-35 grams per day is ideal
- Drink more water if you arent drinking the recommended 64 oz of water per day, now is a good time to start
- Get more exercise strenuous exercise can make hemorrhoids worse, but not exercising at all can lead to weight gain, which also makes symptoms more severe
- Lose weight especially if you have a lot of visceral fat stored around your abdomen
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge putting it off can lead to constipation and straining
- Reposition your body on the toilet a squatted position, which can be achieved by elevating your feet with a stool or leaning far forward, will make it easier to expel your waste
- Talk to your doctor especially if your symptoms are chronic or especially severe. You may need prescription strength medicine or even minor surgery to correct the problem
And if hemorrhoids arent the only thing keeping you awake at night, we have solutions for that, too.
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Avoid Straining And Go When You Need To
Straining during a bowel movement is never a good thing, and it can be painful and even worsen hemorrhoids. When you need to go number two, dont delay it. Waiting can back up your stool, make it harder, and lead to increased pressure on the weakened veins.
It is always best to go to the bathroom in a relaxed state. In general, it is recommended to set a time for daily bowel movements to help establish a regular routine. For instance, going first thing in the morning or after breakfast are good times to start a regular bowel habit.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Why do I have hemorrhoids?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can do that can relieve or prevent hemorrhoids?
- I saw blood on toilet paper. Is this serious?
- Are having hemorrhoids a sign of another health condition?
- Will I always have hemorrhoids?
- Is there medicine I can take for hemorrhoids? Are there side effects?
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How To Handle Bleeding Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy
There are many different ways you can handle bleeding hemorrhoids while pregnant. Tucks Pads are a very popular medical pad with Witch Hazel that can bring lots of relief.
Of course, you can use products like hemorrhoid pillow, suppositories, creams, and supplements if your doctor approves it.
Tucks Pads are great because they are a bit thicker and can go in-between your underwear and the bleeding hemorrhoid.
Many women swear by putting their tucks pads in the freezer and then applying them when they are cold.
You can also use natural remedies like warm baths or ice packs.
A combination of products and natural remedies will be your best bet for postpartum hemorrhoids bleeding.
Procedures For Hemorrhoids Treatment
Some hemorrhoids can’t be managed with conservative treatments alone, either because symptoms persist or because an internal hemorrhoid has prolapsed. Fortunately, a number of minimally invasive hemorrhoid treatments are available that are less painful than traditional hemorrhoid removal and allow a quicker recovery. These procedures are generally performed in a surgeon’s office or as outpatient surgery in a hospital.
Band it. The most commonly used hemorrhoid treatment in the United States is rubber band ligation, in which a small elastic band is placed around the base of a hemorrhoid . The band causes the hemorrhoid to shrink and the surrounding tissue to scar as it heals, holding the hemorrhoid in place. It takes two to four procedures, done six to eight weeks apart, to completely eliminate the hemorrhoid. Complications, which are rare, include mild pain or tightness , bleeding, and infection. Other office procedures include laser or infrared coagulation, sclerotherapy, and cryosurgery. They all work on the same principle as rubber band ligation but are not quite as effective in preventing recurrence. Side effects and recurrence vary with the procedure, so consult your physician about what’s best for your situation.
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