A Pain in the Rear-end - Hemorrhoids
A Pain in the Rear
Hemorrhoids, the proverbial pain in the you-know-where, are really a type of varicose vein. They occur when a vein or veins in or around the rectum and anus become swollen and stressed and do not return to their normal state. They were given the rather uncomplimentary name of piles at some point and even though they are a very common occurrence, nobody likes to talk about them. They happen to most people at some point in their lives, regardless what sex the person is or what age the person happens to be.
Hemorrhoids (or hemrroids or hemroids) are not considered a serious health risk, more of a nuisance than anything, but they can at times create some pain. Treatment usually is done at home with topical medications. However, if they are left untreated, they can escalate to something more serious, so start treatment as soon as you discover you have hemorrhoids.
Inside and Outside Varicose Veins
There are basically two types of hemorrhoids: internal and external. Internal hemorrhoids occur when veins in the anal canal become swollen and stressed causing pain, discomfort and bleeding. If there is blood in the stool or on the toilet tissue when you wipe after a bowel movement, you likely have hemorrhoids. Another sign of these veins is itching around the anus that is caused by leakage from the hemorrhoid. There also may be the feeling of an incomplete bowel movement even after you have gone. There is usually no serious pain with internal hemorrhoids, but they are uncomfortable, especially when you have to pass stools.
External hemorrhoids present with pain in the rectal area, along with itchiness and inflammation. This type of hemorrhoid may also have a thrombosis, a hard lump near the base of the anus. Topical treatments of creams, primarily steroidal, and ointments that are sold over-the-counter seem to keep this type of hemorrhoid at bay. Thrombosed hemorrhoids that have developed blood clots as a result of continued straining to pass stools may need to be surgically removed. A discussion with the doctor will determine if it is necessary to cut the thrombosis off. General anesthetic is not usually administered. A local is used and the thrombosed hemorrhoid is removed, then the incision is sutured, pain meds given and it's over. The success rate for removal of thrombosed hemorrhoids is very good.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
There are several factors that can cause hemorrhoids:
· Consistent straining at bowel movements
· Pregnancy and childbirth
· Lifting heavy objects incorrectly
· Sitting for long periods of time
All of the above factors can put pressure on the veins in the rectum and end up causing hemorrhoids.
Treat Hemorrhoids with Diet Changes
Treating hemorrhoids is relatively easy. Begin with a healthy lifestyle, which goes a long way to preventing them in the first place. A few dietary and lifestyle changes can make the difference for people who do suffer with hemorrhoids but reducing the frequency of them as well as the severity of a flare-up.
Beginning with your dietary habits, try making some of the following changes:
· Increase your intake of fiber, either through food or supplementation. Fiber helps to move stool during a bowel movement.
· Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is a great way to increase fiber. Flax seeds and whole grains are also excellent. If you can't manage this kind of dietary change, then try using a dietary fiber that is in supplement form. You mix it with water and drink it down.
· Make sure you're drinking enough water. Water makes passing stool much easier and, when you increase fiber intake you need to up water intake as well.
Natural Remedies that Really Work
There are other natural ways to treat hemorrhoids that have been effective and successful for centuries without the side effects of some of the conventional medical treatments available. Since natural remedies are made from herbs and herbal extracts, they tend to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. They can also be used for longer periods of time than OTC medications and, bonus, they're less expensive.
Horse Chestnut is an ingredient in many hemorrhoid remedies and treats swelling and inflammation. It has properties that strengthen veins in the anal and rectal areas so that additional hemorrhoids are prevented from forming. It can either be taken orally or used topically.
Butcher's Broom is a popular anti-inflammatory that shrinks swollen veins that cause hemorrhoids and, when used long-term, it can provide permanent relief. Butcher's Broom is taken orally, as a tea (with sweetener if you like) or it can be applied topically. It is an effective alternative for people who are unable to use Horse Chestnut.
Witch Hazel, also an anti-inflammatory, is another very popular method of dealing with hemorrhoids. It has astringent properties that reduce the swelling of hemorrhoid tissue. It is well known as a hemorrhoid treatment and is readily available in most pharmacies in pad form.
Garlic is good for so many things, and treating hemorrhoids is yet another area in which it can be used. You can make a liquid by steeping the garlic and use it for cold compresses to the affected area in order to kill bacteria and encourage healing. A clove of garlic can be inserted into the anus to treat internal hemorrhoids and will be excreted when you have a bowel movement. Eating garlic has profound healing effects.
Hemorrhoids are unpleasant, but they are common. Learn more about medical treatments for them in the article Taking Care of Hemorrhoids in this section.