Hemorrhoids can be very frustrating and painful. They are like little pockets of blood vessels and tissues found around the skin of the anal canal. We all have hemorrhoids to prevent leakage in our anuses. Yet, when they are subjected to extreme pressure, they get inflamed, irritated, bleed, and get very painful, or even prolapse. This condition is most common amongst pregnant women and is even more present among older people. Yet, they are not solely reserved for certain people. An estimated 75% of people will suffer from hemorrhoids at least once in their lifetime.
The number one culprit of hemorrhoids is constipation which causes you to strain when you pass stool. With constipation, lack of adequate fiber and water means releasing harder stool that retains fewer fluids. This leads you to push and strain more to get it out which may cause inflammation of the blood vessels in and around the anus which is basically how hemorrhoids form. Other causes include obesity, strenuous exercises, aging, and pregnancy.
Ideally, to naturally get rid of hemorrhoids long term, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, making lifestyle changes and incorporating certain foods into your diet is the natural remedy here. If you suffer from early-stage hemorrhoids, here are several ways you can naturally shrink and heal from them and relieve yourself from the pain.
Except for pregnancy, hemorrhoids are thought of as a lifestyle disease. It is so important to examine and commit to lifestyle changes to avoid and get rid of hemorrhoids. With this in mind, identify and change any trigger behaviors associated with hemorrhoids. For example, prolonged sitting and a generally sedentary lifestyle put undue pressure on the blood vessels in the anal region and cause hemorrhoids. Make an effort to move around for short periods during the day.
Exercises, in particular yoga exercises, are very instrumental in preventing and reducing the symptoms of hemorrhoids. Yoga helps in stretching and contracting the muscles around the anus allowing it to be flexible and relaxed. This prevents you from straining during bowel movements. Yoga equally eliminates the real cause of hemorrhoids which usually results from a malfunctioning digestive tract. Some yoga poses help in improving blood circulation, bowel movements and release anal muscle tension. However, you should avoid strenuous exercises like heavy lifting which make hemorrhoid symptoms worse.
Having a bowel movement routine is very important in getting rid of hemorrhoids. It might sound inconsequential but an under-appreciated change here is going when you have to go. Avoid waiting and straining when you are passing stool. When you do go, avoid sitting on the toilet for long. These prolonged periods stress, irritate and might worsen hemorrhoids. You should also avoid using toilet paper and instead try medicated wipes or baby wipes.
Fiber and water duo is the ultimate dietary modification needed to reduce the symptoms and complications of hemorrhoids. Usually, hemorrhoids are caused by chronic constipation and straining during bowel movements, a byproduct of low fiber intake. Increased fiber consumption will reduce symptoms and complications associated with hemorrhoids. Rich fiber foods ensure better digestion and less straining which reduces the pressure on the veins. They also add bulk to stool so its movement down the gut is quickened. This way, the hemorrhoids get a chance to heal.
Some fiber-rich foods include nuts like almonds, whole-grain foods, lentils, peas, beans, fruits, and green vegetables(spinach and broccoli). Increased water consumption acts alongside fiber intake helping in gastric movements and preventing constipation. Experts recommend at least 25-30 grams of fiber for an easily digestible diet and 4 liters of water per day.
Now, there are foods and beverages you want to limit or avoid if you want to save yourself the pain. The more alcohol, caffeinated drinks, and low fiber foods you consume, the more likely you are to develop or worsen your hemorrhoids. For example, caffeine may act as a digestive stimulant that increases the frequency of your bowel movements. This irritates and reduces the adequate time needed in between for the healing of hemorrhoids. Avoid low fiber foods such as white bread and pastries, dairy products, and meat (chicken and red meat).
Hemorrhoids tend to hurt, burn or itch, calling for quick relief. Some great home treatments to try out include sitting in a warm bath, sitz bath, or using a small ice pack or cold compress to provide temporary relief. You could also try out using witch hazel pads to relieve the inflammation and discomfort. It is also recommended that you should wear loose-fitting, breathable underwear and clothes.
There are different creams, ointments, and oils available at most local pharmacies without a prescription. Most of these creams and ointments contain local anesthetic and steroids to help in reducing inflammation and discomfort. They form a protective barrier which is great for external hemorrhoids. Suppositories, on the other hand, work by shrinking internal hemorrhoids, stopping the bleeding, and providing relief. Nevertheless, do consult with your pharmacist to determine which treatment would be best for you and get bonus tips. For example, always apply your treatments after you empty your bowel to lengthen duration and effect.
Ultimately, hemorrhoids may get worse or start to bulge their way out of the anus. At this point, it is advisable to visit your doctor and let them check you out. Generally, seek medical attention to get a formal diagnosis and a treatment plan. They may prescribe stool softeners that would reduce the degree to which your stool irritates and presses against your veins. With proper medical care, you will feel less pain as you pass stool.
Though extremely painful and uncomfortable, hemorrhoids are manageable and can heal. Be patient, note the trigger causal factors, and increase your fiber intake and water consumption. You'll be feeling better before you know it!