Hemorrhoids, or piles as it is commonly referred to, is a problem with the veins in the lowest portion of the gut. Overall it is a common problem and some cases are so mild that a person gives it little thought. However, hemorrhoids can also be an excruciatingly painful condition that causes a great deal distress and even affects a person’s quality of life. It is not life threatening but it can lead to very serious complications that requires emergency medical attention. Most people suffer with hemorrhoids for years or even decades before seeking medical attention. Eventually simpler measures that could have helped may no longer be useful and surgery is then the only option.
You do not always need to take medication to treat hemorrhoids. While there are many very effective hemorrhoid treatments that can be purchased over-the-counter, some of the best ways to remedy your hemorrhoids is to change your lifestyle. And if you are a person who is at risk of developing hemorrhoids, such as suffering with long term constipation or diarrhea, you can prevent hemorrhoids even before it starts by adopting these simple measures. However, many people do not appreciate just how uncomfortable, painful and distressing hemorrhoids can be until they have it themselves.
Is hemorrhoid surgery necessary?
If your doctor says that surgery is necessary then it may be so and you should consider undergoing the procedure. Most commonly utilized surgical procedures for hemorrhoids are minimally invasive. You may not have to go under general anesthesia and you could go home the same day after the procedure. However, it is always advisable to get a second opinion specifically from a medical specialist in this field known as a proctologist. Here are some tips to remedy your hemorrhoids at home before you surgery becomes necessary.
Keep Your Stools Soft
Soft stools are passed out more easily. It is less likely to make you strain, helps with regulating a frequent bowel habit and does not place excessive pressure on the veins of the rectum and anus. Keeping your stool soft is a matter of drinking plenty of water (at least eight 8oz glasses daily), eating foods high in fiber (fruits and uncooked vegetables) and taking fiber supplements if necessary. Just as important is going to the toilet when you have the urge to pass stool. By holding it in for long periods you cause the stool to become dry and hard. These steps will not only help ease your hemorrhoids, but it can also help prevent it from starting up in the future.
Wet Toilet Paper For Wiping
Dry toilet paper can be a problem if you have hemorrhoids. Depending on the quality, dry toilet paper can be abrasive and cause pain and bleeding. Wet toilet paper is therefore a better option. In addition, wet toilet paper will cleanse the anal area thoroughly which is important in managing hemorrhoids. Moist towelettes may seem like a good idea to wipe yourself after a bowel movement but not so. Many of these towelettes are perfumed and contain alcohol which can irritate the anal area and cause greater discomfort if you already have hemorrhoids. Instead opt for soft toilet paper that is unscented.
Proper Rear End Hygiene
Cleaning the anal area is an important part of managing your hemorrhoids. While wet toilet paper works well, you also have to practice good personal hygiene overall. This means bathing at least daily if not more frequently. Wash your anal area thoroughly but be careful about being overzealous when bathing. Sometimes you can do more harm than good by over washing the anal area and in fact injure and inflame your hemorrhoids. For this and other reasons, soaking in a bath is a better option. Do not use strongly scented soaps to wash the anal area. These fragrances can irritate the protruding veins even further.
Do Not Strain To Pass Stool
While a little effort may be needed on your part to pass out stool, you should not be straining to do so. When your bowels are ready to evacuate the stool, most of the force needed to push it out comes from the involuntary contractions of your colon and rectum. Some people strain when the stools are hard and dry and need to be forced out. Others do so to force out stool when it was not yet time for a bowel movement. But sometimes straining is just a force of habit. Whatever the case, try to avoid straining especially if you already have hemorrhoids. By keeping your stool soft, staying physically active and with good bowel training, there should be no need to strain.
Avoid Long Periods On The Toilet
Whether you read while on the potty or play with your mobile device, you should not sit on the toilet for long periods. Only sit when you are ready to pass stool – when the urge tells you that it is time for a bowel movement. And do not get distracted with reading material and devices in your hand. Have a bowel movement, make sure that you are finished, wipe properly and wake up. If you think that your bowels take longer than for most people then it may be a case of you having “programmed” your slow bowels while on the toilet. Stop all the extra curricular activities on the toilet – completion of a bowel movement should not be judged by when you finish reading.
Soak In Warm Water
Rather than having a shower, it may be a better idea to soak in a tub of warm water. Not only will it cleanse your anal area well but it can help to relieve the burning, pain and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. Ideally you should try to do it 2 to 3 times a day but it may not be practical to fill a bath tub with warm water each time. You can opt for a sitz bath which is a plastic bowl-like device that will fit over your toilet seat. It can then be filled with warm water and you can sit in it, preferably for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Ensure that you dry the anal area thoroughly after bathing or using a sitz bath. Air drying is often better otherwise use a soft towel.
Use Cold Packs On Your Bottom
Cold packs on your bottom, and specifically applied on the anus for a short period, can be very helpful when you hemorrhoids are inflamed. Any cold application can be used. Cold helps to reduce inflammation by limiting blood flow and easing swelling at the area. Ultimately this helps ease the burning, pain and discomfort as well. Never apply ice directly to any part of the body as it can damage tissue, even skin. For hygiene purposes you would want to keep separate cold packs for your hemorrhoids and for other parts of your body. Remember that cold is helpful when your hemorrhoids are inflamed but for daily purposes a soak in warm water is a better option.
Apply Creams And Ointments
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) creams and ointments for treating hemorrhoids are very effective. You should use it exactly as prescribed and if it is not offering any relief then medical attention is necessary. There are also suppositories and pads that can be helpful. It is important to remember that these formulations have been specifically developed for hemorrhoids. Do not try to apply other creams or ointments to the area if it is not indicated for hemorrhoids. You could inflame the area even further. Also ensure that you are gentle when applying these substances as forceful application can injure and irritate the area even further.
Change Your Lifestyle
There are many lifestyle changes that you could undertake which may help to remedy your hemorrhoids. It is not only about your rear end but involves your overall state of health. Obesity, sitting for too long and partaking in certain sexual practices can all cause or worsen hemorrhoids. Exercise is also important. Not only does it help with weight control but it can also assist in regulating bowel movements if you suffer with constipation. It is important to speak to your doctor about the correct lifestyle measures that can minimize these risk factors. Hemorrhoids is also more likely to occur in pregnancy and you should ensure that your stools are soft and bowel movements regular when pregnant.