Hemorrhoids: What They Are and What to Do about Them

Not a lot of people like to talk about hemorrhoids, which might make it seem like only certain people get them. The reality is that hemorrhoids are actually quite common, and the majority of people experience them at some time in their lives.

Understanding what hemorrhoids are and how to treat them can help to reduce some of the stigma around these common health complaint.


What are Hemorrhoids?

You have veins running through your whole body — even your bottom. The veins in your anus and your rectum can become swollen as a result of too much pressure being placed on them. When the veins bulge, they can protrude from your anus, becoming hemorrhoids. Stretched veins can also cause hemorrhoids inside your anus that you cannot see.

The veins become permanently stretched, and they do not return to their previous size or shape on their own. You can buy hemorrhoids products to shrink them and treat the symptoms, but sometimes the only way to get rid of them permanently is surgery.

What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are causing by pressure in the pelvis or rectum, which puts pressure on the veins. The most common reason for this pressure is straining during bowel movements, particularly during constipation or diarrhea.

Pregnancy a common cause of hemorrhoids in women. The weight of the baby causes pressure on the pelvis, as does the expanding uterus. Straining during labor can also cause hemorrhoids or make them worse.

Carrying a lot of extra body weight can also cause strain that can lead to hemorrhoids.

Symptoms of Hemorrhoids

If you have external hemorrhoids on the anus, you will be able to see and feel them. If you have internal hemorrhoids, you may only know that they are there because you see blood in your stool or on the toilet paper. This blood will be bright red, not dark red or brown.

Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include itching and rectal pain. When hemorrhoids become especially bad, you might even have a hard time sitting down.

Preventing Hemorrhoids

The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to prevent straining during bowel movements. You can do this by drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in fruits in vegetables, which will help to keep your stool soft. Constipation is often caused by dehydration and a lack of fiber in the diet.

Exercise also helps to make your bowel muscles stronger so that movements are more efficient. You don’t have to do special exercises for your bowels. The same exercises that you do for your health will make all your muscles stronger.

Go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge, avoid sitting or standing for long periods,and avoid lifting heavy objects. If you are pregnant, sleep on your side to relieve the pressure on your pelvis. If you are overweight, take steps to lose weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising more.

Treating Hemorrhoids

In addition to making changes to your diet and lifestyle habits to prevent hemorrhoids, you can also treat them with at-home products. Typically, these products focus on relieving the pain and itching associated with the hemorrhoids, as well as shrinking the tissue.

Permanent solutions involve tying off the vein or cutting it to get rid of the hemorrhoid and kill the tissue.

Hemorrhoids do not have to be a source of embarrassment. Learn more about what causes them and how to prevent and treat them, and you will have relief from this common health complaint.