Hemorrhoids are a relatively common condition. They are also a problem that most people don’t want to talk about. This can make it difficult to explore the beneficial, proven treatments that exist to help relieve hemorrhoid discomfort. Every person has the makings of hemorrhoids. It is our basic anatomy to have clusters of veins situated beneath the mucous membranes in the lower rectum and anus. What isn’t normal is the propensity for these veins to swell. In this aspect, hemorrhoids could be likened to the varicose veins that develop on the legs. Swelling may occur when a person tends to strain and push during bowel movements or the pelvic and rectal areas are under an excessive amount of pressure. Some habits can help avoid the onset of hemorrhoids, but there are some factors that are beyond our control. This is why it is important to know what to do if this condition develops, including knowing when to seek professional medical advice. Here, we discuss some of the lifestyle remedies that may reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids so you can get on with your life.
We all need a healthy dose of fiber in our diets, but many people are lacking in this nutrient. High-fiber foods like broccoli and beans aren’t popular with many people. Whole grains can be, though, as can oat bran and fresh fruit. The easiest way to get the necessary amount of fiber in your diet may be to take a supplement. If you choose to do so, begin with a lower dose and increase gradually. When taking a fiber supplement, it is also necessary to stay hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. Together, the water and the fiber help soften stool so it is easier to pass without pushing.
When we move, we stimulate proper bowel function. In this regard, exercise is a vital necessity for the person with hemorrhoids. There is no need to perform specific or strenuous exercises to help reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids. A brisk 30-minute walk can be beneficial for healthy, regular bowel movements. When the urge to use the bathroom occurs, it is also imperative not to wait. Postponing bowel movements can create a backup and slow down which then leads to the need to strain and push later. Healthy bowel movements are as much a matter of habit as they are of biology, so practice regularity by sitting on the toilet a few times a day, at least, and trying to relax the sphincter muscle to allow a natural bowel movement to happen.
Hemorrhoid creams can work against itching and discomfort. These products contain an anesthetic that can cool or slightly numb the external skin around the anus. Witch hazel pads (Tucks) are also a solution that may be applied topically. For more significant symptoms, some people apply an ice pack to the external skin. This can provide temporary relief by tricking the brain, which cannot feel cold and pain simultaneously (and cold usually wins).
We understand that hemorrhoids are a challenging condition both because they are uncomfortable and also uncomfortable to talk about. Our experience as vascular specialists provides us with the skills to provide empathetic care that gets results. To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us at 703-763-5224. We have offices in Fredericksburg, Fairfax, and Woodbridge, VA.