One of the most common medical conditions experienced by adults in the United States, but least discussed, is hemorrhoids. The area in which they are located has a definite effect on the lack of conversations on this topic. But, looking at the numbers of people searching for answers to questions that they have about hemorrhoids, it is easy to gather that many people are suffering from this problem. Everyone basically has hemorrhoids but just what causes some to enlarge and become painful is not fully understood. The following is a general discussion of this topic.
What are the symptoms?
Probably the most common thing that alerts one that they may have hemorrhoids is a discomfort when having a bowel movement. With external hemorrhoids, a lump may be felt. Often a drop of blood is evident on the toilet paper after wiping oneself. When external hemorrhoids swell, severe pain may be present. Also, anal discomfort and itching may occur, but other conditions along hemorrhoids may be the cause of these symptoms. These can include anal fissures, skin diseases present around the anus or infections. If the conditions are severe an examination by a doctor is advised. Cancer can also be present, although rare, and should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible or ruled out. Internal hemorrhoids may be first noticed if they begin to protrude out of the anus. An examination by a doctor using a gloved finger or sometimes an instrument called an anoscope, which is a three inch long, slender tube with a viewing end is inserted into the anus and the doctor does a visual examination which helps give a good idea of what is occurring in the area. In the course of examination for internal hemorrhoids, if bleeding is occurring other conditions can be ruled out including colon cancer, polyps and inflammation of the rectum and / or colon called colitis. These conditions if suspected, can be examined more thoroughly with the use of a colonoscopy. Treatment for these problems can then be initiated. But, in most cases, hemorrhoids are the cause of the discomfort and bleeding that is occurring in the area.
What causes hemorrhoids?
It is generally agreed that the major reason most people suffer from hemorrhoids is a constant training to have a bowel movement. Pain may be present. Weak veins, which may be inherited and contribute to hemorrhoids and other varicose veins are thought to be a major factor. Pressure on veins caused by weight gain, pregnancy, constant sitting or standing and poor diet are thought to be other major contributing causes.
Prevention of Hemorrhoids
The simple act of changing one's diet to include more fiber rich foods may be a major way to prevent the formation of hemorrhoids in the first place. Diet can also help to alleviate some of the major discomfort which occurs because of hemorrhoids. An increase in fluid intake can also go a long way to preventing constipation and hard stools thus reducing the need to strain when emptying the bowel. This allows a softer stool which decrees the shear strength of the stool passing through the anal canal.
Treatment available for common hemorrhoids
Thankfully most hemorrhoids are only another heterosexual and often painful aspect of life. There are solutions that are available to treat this condition at home, in privacy. These include, keeping the area clean. Taking warm baths called sitz baths, which target the area and if pain is present, over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen. The last two can also reduce swelling. Weaving cotton underwear can be helpful. Reduction of periods of prolonged sitting or standing is also beneficial. An increase in mild to moderate activity is certainly helpful. There are over-the-counter remedies that are also available to help speed relief and reduction of the symptoms. These include creams and ointments specifically formulated to treat pain and itching.
So, with a combination of a better diet, an increase in fluid intake, greater cleanliness, pain relief and topical treatments, hemorrhoids can be maintained at a level that is more tolerable.