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What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are a common condition, affecting more than 3 million people each year. Everyone has some hemorrhoids, the cloud-like clusters of veins that lie just beneath the mucous membranes lining the lowest part of the rectum and the anus. The abnormal condition commonly known as hemorrhoids (or piles) develops when those veins become swollen and inflamed. Hemorrhoids may result from straining during bowel movements or from the severe pressure during pregnancy, among other things. Hemorrhoids may be located inside the rectum, known as internal hemorrhoids, or they may develop under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids).

Abnormal hemorrhoids is a common ailment. By the age of 50, more than half of the adult population has had to deal with the discomfort and bleeding related to hemorrhoids. Fortunately, there are many effective treatment options available for hemorrhoids. Most people can get relief from symptoms using at home remedies and making a few simple lifestyle changes.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

  • Straining during a bowel movement – causing excess tension and pressure on the rectal veins.
  • Chronic diarrhea – The overuse of the anal muscles and increased pressure from sitting for an extended period of time.
  • Constipation – This is the most common cause of hemorrhoids happens when the pressure used to pass stool fills the anal veins to the point of creating a hemorrhoid.
  • Obesity – The added pressure to the rectum and pelvic area from excess weight can form hemorrhoids.
  • Pregnancy – Pressure and weight on the pelvic area from the enlarged uterus can cause swelling of the anal canal.
  • Labor – The extreme pressure and force can also cause hemorrhoids.
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How to Avoid Getting Hemorrhoids

The prevention of any unpleasant medical condition is key to living a long and healthy life. When it comes to preventing the occurrence of hemorrhoids here is what you should do:

  • Eat fiber – Add more fiber to your diet, either through food, a fiber supplement (such as Metamucil, Citrucel, or Fiber Con), or both. Fiber softens stools and makes them easier to pass, reducing the pressure that causes hemorrhoids. Add high-fiber foods like broccoli, beans, wheat, whole-grain foods, and fresh fruit to your diet. Start slowly, and gradually increase your intake to 25–30 grams per day.
  • Drink a lot of fluids – Drinking enough water is key to preventing the most common cause of hemorrhoids, constipation. Make sure you are staying adequately hydrated each day to promote healthy bowel movements and overall health. Fiber and water work go hand in hand to help move stool out of the body in an efficient manner.
  • Exercise – Regular moderate exercise contributes to keeping your bowel movements regular. For example, a brisk 20– 30-minute walk each day can help stimulate bowel function. Additionally, the more time you spend on your feet, the less time you spend seated, putting pressure on your pelvic area.
  • Avoid straining – Straining the pelvic area is the most basic cause of hemorrhoids. If you push too hard while trying to use the restroom, you can easily cause hemorrhoids. Heavy lifting activities can also contribute to pelvic pressure and cause hemorrhoids as well.
  • Treat the clot – When an external hemorrhoid forms a blood clot, the pain can be unbearable. If the clot has been present for longer than two days, apply over the counter treatments to try and relieve some of the symptoms. If the clot is more recent, the hemorrhoid can be surgically removed or the clot can be withdrawn from the vein in a minor in-office procedure performed by a surgeon.