Who wants to talk about hemorrhoids?

November 12, 2012

Who wants to talk about hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids can cause a lot of pain for people and really affect your quality of life, but it’s such an embarrassing topic for many people that they won’t talk about it!

Hemorrhoids is one of those medical conditions which most people suffer in silence with – we just don’t like to talk about them, not what they are and most certainly not hemorrhoid causes. Just as we don’t like to talk about them, we also don’t like to seek treatment for them, maybe this is because we think nobody else has them – however current estimates are that around 100 million Americans suffer with hemorrhoids and it is one of the most common medical ailments in the US!

Causes of hemorrhoids

The two main hemorrhoid causes are diet and straining on the toilet – and as you would expect these factors are linked. Eating a bad diet can result in constipation which then causes excess straining whilst sitting on the toilet.

The diet of those of us in the West is also thought to be a hemorrhoid cause – due to its’ lack of fiber and abundance of processed foods. Research shows that hemorrhoids are relatively rare in under developed countries where the diet contains more fiber and no processed foods; in areas where diet is gradually changing to include more processed food so there is a corresponding increase in cases of hemorrhoids.

Our western sit-upon toilets also tend to encourage straining, and those who choose to sit awhile and read will cause extra pressure on their anal veins.

Other hemorrhoid causes include aging; prolonged laxative use; dihorrea; heredity; and pregnancy.

Symptoms

Hemorrhoidal veins are located inside and outside of the anus, the development of hemorrhoids means that these veins become irritated and swollen which then cause the symptoms of hemorrhoids including pain; itching; bleeding; burning and general discomfort.

There are two types of hemorrhoids -

  • External hemorrhoids

    – the swollen veins form a soft lump around the opening of the anus, they are usually extremely painful due to the abundance of nerve endings around the anus. If this lump becomes hard it may be due to the development of a blood clot leading to thrombosed hemorrhoids.

  • Internal hemorrhoids are generally not painful, as there no nerve endings in the anal canal – many people are not even aware of internal hemorrhoids unless they become irritated during a bowel movement and begin to bleed. However it is possible for internal hemorrhoids to be pushed from the anal opening in a prolapse and, very rarely, for them to be trapped there resulting in strangulated hemorrhoids.

Prevention

There are steps that you can take to avoid getting hemorrhoids, especially if you know the main hemorrhoid causes. Prevention is always better than the cure and a few simple steps may prevent you getting hemorrhoids or reduce the risk of a flare up -

  • Change your diet – increase your fiber intake, drink more water, avoid processed and refined foods.

  • Change your bowel habits – don’t wait, or hang on to it, when you need to go – go!! That way your stools won’t become dry and hard. Avoid straining, don’t sit and read.

  • Exercise and avoid standing or sitting for too long.

The great news is that generally speaking hemorrhoids are self-healing; if you take the right steps to improvement you may be able to avoid medical intervention.

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