This is one condition you probably won’t hear your friends discussing at a holiday party – but it’s a good bet many of them have occasionally suffered from this problem. Hemorrhoids are very common. Doctors have estimated that about twenty five percent of all adults will get these pesky irritants at one time or another.
Hemorrhoids are veins in the anus, which, instead of moving blood smoothly, get distended and filled with blood. When the blood doesn’t flow, the veins gradually swell, like a water balloon. Eventually they get large enough to make you very uncomfortable.
Hemorrhoids usually occur when you strain to have a bowel movement. The increase pressure caused by straining causes the veins to weaken, get flabby, and, then, to swell. Because hemorrhoids are filled with blood, you may notice blood in the toilet bowl. When you don’t know what’s causing it, blood from that area can be very frightening indeed.
The truth is, hemorrhoids are rarely serious, and will usually go away on their own. When they’re painful or itchy, however, you’re going to want fast relief. Here are a few things that can help.
Call on the witch . To relieve the itching and burning of hemorrhoids, doctors often recommend applying a little witch hazel. This will quickly cool the area so you feel more comfortable. For extra relief, some people cool the witch hazel first by storing it in the refrigerator.
Put water to work. Perhaps the easiest home remedy for hemorrhoids is simply to sit in a warm bath several times a day. The warm water will help relax the anal muscle and improve circulation, which will help hemorrhoids heal. Don’t add bath oils or salts to the water, however, because this may increase the irritation.
Add some lubrication . Spreading a little petroleum jelly on hemorrhoids will help protect the tender skin. Many doctors believe it works as well as special hemorrhoids creams and ointments, and it’s much less expensive.
Take advantage of fiber . Foods that are high in dietary fiber make the stools softer and easier to pass. This is important because the less you strain to have a bowel movement, the less likely hemorrhoids are to form. A quick way to get more fiber is to pick up some psyllium at the drugstore. This natural ingredient is found in products such as Metamucil, and it’s an excellent way to soften stools.
Drink a lot of water. Your intestines need a lot of fluid to work smoothly and with a minimum of irritation. Drinking eight to twelve glasses of water a day will provide plenty of lubrication as well as make the stools softer and, therefore, easier to pass.
Cheek your weight . People who are overweight have a higher risk for hemorrhoids because the extra kilos exert more pressure on the anal area, making hemorrhoids more likely to form. In some cases, losing weight will cause your hemorrhoids to disappear, as well.
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