Hemorrhoids or commonly known as piles is a stressful situation for many people and causes great discomfort especially when we poop. That said, this condition can be easily prevented and treated. Read on to find out how.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids is a condition where our veins near the anal region gets dilated and in some circumstances gets protruded causing pain especially during defecation.
What causes Hemorrhoids?
The causes of hemorrhoids remain undetermined. Risk factors include frequent constipation or diarrhea and are more common as you get older and if you are overweight.
What are the symptoms?
People who have hemorrhoids may often experience:
- Fresh bleeding streaks in the stool
- Mucous discharge from the anal region
- A sensation of a lump protruding during defecation
- Itch or hurting sensation underneath your skin in the anal region
There are four grades of hemorrhoids. In Grade I, there is no protrusion of a lump but bleeding may be present. In Grade II, a lump may be felt while defecating but goes back in spontaneously. In Grade III, the lump needs to be pushed back in manually. In Grade IV, the lump may not go back in and can result in severe pain and infection.
Note: There may be many reasons for bleeding. Please consult your doctor immediately to rule out other possible causes.
How can you treat hemorrhoids?
For a home treatment, try non-prescriptive creams and wipes or even a small, clean ice pack to ease the pain and swelling. If your piles are protruded, a sitz bath will help to ease the pain and inflammation.
Medical treatments include ligation, where special rubber bands or rings will be put around hemorrhoids to cut blood supply so that they shrink. Another option is coagulation, where heat is used to get rid of the hemorrhoids. The doctor may also decide to inject a chemical into the swollen tissue to break it down, a procedure known as sclerotherapy.
How can you prevent hemorrhoids?
Here are three ways you can prevent hemorrhoids:
1. Bulk up on your fibers!
Eat a diet rich in fiber. This includes increasing your intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, nuts and seeds. Fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, adding bulk to your stool, allowing an easier and smoother transit out and prevents constipation.
Chia seeds are a superfood for many reasons. They pack a high amount of protein keeping you feeling full for longer, are rich in antioxidants and are high in fiber – these tiny but mighty seeds provide you with almost 40 percent of the recommended fiber intake in only one serving. Beat that! Add chia seeds to your smoothies, breakfast bowls, make a chia seed pudding or put them into your bottle of water.
2. Keep well hydrated
Our body is made up of an estimated 60% to 70% water which is important for our daily bodily functions. Aim to drink at least two liters of water every day to keep you well hydrated especially in our humid environment. Drinking adequate amount of fluids helps soften stools, prevents constipation and reduces the need to strain when you’re doing a number two.
If you find it difficult to drink plain water, you can infuse various fruits into your water to make it more appealing, nourishing and delicious!
3. Get into a good bowel habit
- Listen to your own body! If you feel the urge to go to the loo, it’s best not to delay. Holding in can cause the poop to harden.
- Regular exercise helps to increase blood circulation and regulate bowel movement. However, take note that if you are having piles, it’s best not to do heavy weight lifting as this can increase the abdominal pressure putting more stress to the veins in the rectum. Opt instead for moderate intensity exercise such as yoga, Pilates or swimming.
- Avoid using scented or perfumed tissue as this can cause irritation to sensitive skin.
- Use a bath stool to support your feet when you are seated on the throne. The elevated position of your feet changes your posture on the toilet seat and consequently of the rectum, often facilitating easier passage of stools.
- Avoid sitting in the toilet for a prolong period of time.
- Aloe vera and vitamin E works wonder for wound healing. If you have piles, a cold aloe vera gel application can sooth the pain and inflammation you may be experiencing.