Constipation and Hemorrhoids
Yes, yes, I know. Nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids. But considering how common they are. Nearly 90 percent of people have them at some time in their lives. So I figure somebody wants to know about this very irritating problem.
What are they?
Hemorrhoidal veins are a cluster of blood vessels located just inside the opening of the anus. A hemorrhoid occurs when one or more of these veins gets swollen and pops out of place and can hurt, itch or bleed.
Who can get them?
Anyone can get hemorrhoids, although some people are more likely to get them than others. Anything that puts excessive pressure on the anal muscles increases the risk of developing hemorrhoids. Chronic constipation, straining during a bowel movement, and sitting on the toilet for a long period of time can all lead to hemorrhoids. Pregnant women often get hemorrhoids during the last 3 or 4 months of pregnancy because the fetus places great pressure on the rectal muscles.
What can you do to avoid them?
Generally, what goes in your mouth will eventually come out at the other end, so making changes to both your eating and bowel habits will help to improve things. Drinking more water and increasing fiber in your diet will both help soften your stool. Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain breads and cereals. Your digestive system will do it's best to break down your food, but you need to do your part by chewing your food well. And finally, the bathroom may be the only place you can have uninterrupted quiet time, but reading a magazine or newspaper while sitting on the toilet is not a good idea.
What can you do to treat them?
Fortunately, hemorrhoids do not pose a serious problem to your health, but they can be uncomfortable and often painful.
If you have been diagnosed with hemorrhoids, there are many at-home remedies to help relieve the symptoms and reduce the swelling. Try soaking in a bathtub filled with a couple inches of warm, but not hot, water. Or you can apply an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream around the external anal area. You can also make your own solution more cheaply by soaking a cloth with equal parts glycerin and witch hazel and apply to the hemorrhoids for about an hour. The glycerin will help reduce swelling and the witch hazel will help soothe the area.
Another remedy is to place an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the area for about 10 or 15 minutes. Finally, see a doctor if you are still experiencing symptoms after a week of home treatment.