Hemorrhoids, also known as piles, are swellings in the lower parts of the rectum and anus which can be troublesome and make your life very uncomfortable. The condition is common and it affects about 4.4% of the adults in the US. If you have them and you’re wondering how do you get hemorrhoids and what puts you at most risk of developing them, then read on to find out.
Who is Most Likely to Get Them?
Certain people are more likely to get hemorrhoids than others because of certain factors. They include:
Overweight or Obese People
When the body is carrying more weight than it was intended to, it puts a lot of pressure on many body organs including the blood vessels on the anus and rectum. A person with excess weight in the abdominal region is even more likely to develop hemorrhoids.
Older PeoplePeople in the ages between 45 and 65 are at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids. This is because, with age, the connective tissue between the rectum and anus gets weaker and so any undue pressure leads to swelling of blood vessels.
People with Bowel Movement Issues
Problems with bowel movements such as constipation and diarrhea put a person at risk of developing hemorrhoids. When you strain while passing stool, the blood pressure in the veins of the rectum and anus suddenly rises and this rises and this restricts the smooth flow of blood to the heart. Persistent diarrhea, on the other hand, causes the development of inflammation in the tissues of the rectum and anal region.
Both of these issues make you sit on the toilet seat for a long time, exacerbating the hemorrhoids. This happens because your blood vessels are stretched thinly and they start bulging and dilating.
As a baby grows in the uterus, they exert pressure on a large vessel known as the inferior vena cava that facilitates blood flow from the lower limbs to the heart. This disrupts the smooth flow of blood from areas below the uterus including the rectal and anal region and they end up swelling.
The hormonal changes during pregnancy also cause abnormal swelling of blood vessels so hemorrhoids may occur as a result.
The delivery of a baby can also make the mother develop hemorrhoids postpartum due to the extreme pressure that labor exerts on lower regions of the body.
How Do You Get Hemorrhoids?
At the lower rectum and anus, there’s a mucous membrane that has a cluster of veins where many small blood vessels converge to form veins. Hemorrhoids develop when undue pressure is applied to these blood vessels, for example, through straining during bowel movements or sitting too long on the toilet. The pressure obstructs blood flow in the area so blood pools and the veins distend.
How Do You Know You Have Them?
If you want to know whether you have hemorrhoids, look out for the following symptoms:
- Itchiness around the anus
- Pain or irritation around the anus
- Blood in the stool or tissue after wiping
- Pain during bowel movements
- Swellings around the anus
How Do You Avoid Them?
Increase Fibre Intake
Fiber adds to the bulk of your stool and softens it and this makes passing it much easier. Eating foods that are rich fiber like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits will save you from straining during bowel movements thus preventing hemorrhoids.
Increase Water Intake
Water softens your stool and makes it easier to pass. Drink between 6-8 glasses of water or other liquids apart from alcohol daily to prevent constipation.
Sitting or standing in one position for a long time puts pressure on your blood vessels. Exercising will keep you active and improve your blood flow. It will also help you shed excess weight that adds to the pressure.
Don’t Hold It In
When you feel the urge to pass stool and ignore it, it hardens. When you go, you end up straining to pass hard stool and this irritates the tissue of the anus and rectum causing swelling.
How Do You Treat Them?
Hemorrhoids can be treated using medical procedures or home remedies.
Rubber Band Ligation
A rubber band is placed at the base of a protruding hemorrhoid so that the circulation of blood is cut off. After some time, it shrinks in size.
An incision is made around the hemorrhoid and the swollen blood vessels are removed.
The doctor injects a chemical inside the blood vessels in the hemorrhoid to cause them to shrink.
Sitting in a bath or a small bowl with warm water helps to soothe the irritation of the hemorrhoids. It also improves blood circulation in the area. Do this for about 10-15 minutes daily and you’ll feel better.
It’s a herb that has excellent anti-inflammatory properties so it will really help with reducing itching, swelling, and bleeding. You can apply it directly or use soaps, wipes, and creams with it as an ingredient.
They help in reducing the pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids. You can apply them on hemorrhoids directly or add them to your bath and soak in it.
When Should I Worry About Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids symptoms can be treated effectively using home remedies but some situations may require you to see a doctor. It may be that you’re suffering from a more serious condition that requires urgent attention. Some of these situations include:
- When you notice blood in your stool or tissue paper after passing stool
- When the bleeding from your rectum doesn’t stop and makes you dizzy
- When you have tried home remedies and over-the-counter medications but the symptoms don’t improve
Hemorrhoids are treatable so you don’t have to persevere in discomfort or pain. If you need quick help to hemorrhoid issue read self help article.