Hemorrhoids can be a really painful and debilitating condition that can affect your daily life in a very negative way. Hemorrhoids are medically defined as being 'blood vessels located in the rectal area that have become swollen'. This will lead to discomfort during bowel movements and may even result in anal bleeding. This is a condition that should not be taken lightly as it can lead to other serious ailments if left unchecked.
Types of Hemorrhoids
There are two types of hemorrhoids that can develop: internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids.
- Internal Hemorrhoids - these are hemorrhoids that develop within the rectal area. They are not visible and are usually painless due to the fact that there are only a few nerves located inside the rectum. Anal bleeding is usually the biggest red flag that you have internal hemorrhoids. There are cases when an internal hemorrhoid will become prolapsed. This makes them appear outside the sphincter, usually with a pinkish/red appearance. Prolapsed hemorrhoids are painful but will normally go back with the rectum on their own once swelling decreases.
- External Hemorrhoids - these are the ones that cause the most pain as they are located outside of the anus. Blood clots will usually develop inside a prolapsed external hemorrhoid which is extremely painful, this is called thrombosis. Thrombosis will cause severe pain and anal bleeding and has a purple or bluish appearance. While it is painful, this is not as serious as you would expect and can often disappear within a couple of weeks, of their own accord. There is also the option to have them surgically removed but this is incredibly painful and unpleasant. But if the pain is unbearable, you may have no choice. Anal bleeding is often caused by hemorrhoids but it is best that you consult with a doctor to run some tests to fully determine the cause and apply the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. It is important to note that anal bleeding can be the sign of a more serious condition. Always get it checked out with your doctor.
What Causes Hemorrhoids?
The exact cause of hemorrhoids is still unclear even in this day and age. Medical researchers are still unsure what exactly triggers the development as there are several factors being looked at. There are some studies that point to people with naturally weak veins has a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids. Currently, hemorrhoids appear to be something of a hereditary condition. Other known factors that increase the risk of hemorrhoids include:
- Difficulty during bowel movement
There are lesser known factors too such as intense pressure on the abdominal area that would lead to inflammation of veins.
Unfortunately, some stomach conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can cause difficult bowel movements which can lead to hemorrhoids. Many people turn to natural treatments in order to provide relief from IBS as well as avoid hemorrhoids.
Prevention and Treatment of Hemorrhoids
Fortunately, hemorrhoids can be prevented by taking the necessary precautions. First and foremost is to plan a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables and exercising daily. Other important steps that you can take include eating the proper amount of fiber per day. 25 grams of fiber is the optimum amount the body needs daily. You can include whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits and nuts which are known for being rich in fiber. Another important factor is to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can cause your stools to become hard, making it difficult to expel waste from the body which will lead you to strain more and might cause the veins within the rectum to swell. Drink plenty of water each day and remember that you can also get hydrated by eating certain types of fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, nutritional supplements may give real relief to hemorrhoid sufferers.