Do you have a “pain in your bum”? No, I’m not talking about someone who makes things difficult for you. I’m talking about hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can be very difficult if you do not know how to handle them.
What are hemorrhoids besides itchy and painful?
Hemorrhoids occur when the veins or vascular structures that are in or around the anus become inflamed or swollen. There are generally, two types of hemorrhoids, internal or external. Internal hemorrhoids are the swollen veins found in the anal canal or at the beginning of the rectum, while external hemorrhoids occur near the anus’ opening or outside the anus. Hemorrhoids can be found internally, externally or both. Also, anybody can have hemorrhoids, young or old, and the majority of us will suffer with them at some point during our lifetime. In fact, it is pretty common during pregnancy. People who are inactive, or strain when having a bowel movement, or who suffer with dehydration are more susceptible to getting them.
So what causes hemorrhoids?
Well its primary cause is excessive pressure on the veins in the rectal and pelvic area. The tissues inside the anus help in controlling bowel movements. So, if you’re exerting more effort to move stool, the added pressure will cause the veins in the tissues to swell and to stretch. Other conditions that can add pressure on the veins in the anal canal are diarrhea and constipation. Pregnant women can also get hemorrhoids due to the added pressure on the blood vessels in their pelvic area during the last six months of their pregnancy. Many times during giving birth, the pressure exerted worsens the hemorrhoids. Other causes of hemorrhoids are sitting for long periods of time (sound familiar), being overweight, anal infections and certain other diseases.
The top symptoms of Hemorrhoids are as follows:
- anal ache or pain, especially when seated
- anal itching
- bleeding during bowel movements
- hard tender lump(s) near the anus
- pain during bowel movements
Like a ‘pain in the bum’ which you can get rid of, hemorrhoids can be treated. In fact, most external hemorrhoids can be treated at home. Some people increase their fiber intake by eating fiber-rich foods or taking fiber supplements. Please make sure if you increase your fiber, you drink LOTS of Water (you should drink lots of water anyways). I like Gentle Move, as a natural stool softener taken at bedtime to help things move. Many individuals add some olive oil or flax seed oil to their menu and take a teaspoon before every meal. It is also best to not overeat and keep your meals small so you don’t have to overwork your muscles.
There are also several over the counter creams available to help reduce the itching, swelling and pain. Witch hazel is the most common and can be applied with a cotton ball or square. I have created a Bum Balm that works for the pain, swelling and itch and my customers LOVE it! You can also make sure you wear cotton undergarments, avoid heavily scented toilet tissues and do not scratch! Many people find relief by taking a Sitz Bath. A Sitz Bath is a warm, shallow bath that cleanses the area from the rectum to your vulva or scrotum. Just fill the tub with 3-4 inches of warm water and soak for 15-20 minutes. Many people say it is best to bend your knees or have your legs dangle over the side so you target the area you want relief in. Don’t forget to make sure your tub is super clean and pat yourself dry!
Many individuals will focus on vascular health and use supplements. Ginkgo Biloba, Billbery, and Gotu Kola work well for toning. Vitamin C with bioflavnoids work well for strengthening.
It is often best to spend some time and determine what is causing the increased pressure near the anal area to avoid further straining. Often, individuals will temporarily take stool softeners, helping to eliminate hemorrhoids caused by constipation. Home or over the counter treatments generally work, just make sure to target the area sooner than later to avoid needing to go in for surgery. Surgery should be your last resort. If you have to go the surgical route, two common surgeries are usually done, a rubber band litigation and a surgical hemorrhoidectomy. Many have also tried a heat treatment using infrared coagulation which is one of the most widely used treatments because it can be done in the office and is tolerated by most people. So make sure to keep your bum happy!Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001337/