Hemorrhoids are clusters of veins in the lowest part of the rectum & anus that become swollen and distended.
You can have hemorrhoids without any symptoms. But hemorrhoids can also have very unpleasant symptoms such as rectal pain, soiling, bleeding & itching.
There are many treatment options for hemorrhoids & they are rarely dangerous. Hemorrhoid symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, including anal warts & fissures, Crohn’s disease & (rarely) anal cancer. So if you have persistent symptoms that you think are caused by hemorrhoids,and they bother you, it is wise to see your doctor.
There are several helpful home treatments.
1.The first thing you should do is boost the fiber in your diet. Eat high-fiber foods (such as prunes, pears, bran cereals, oatmeal & beans), or take a fiber supplement. Fiber softens stools & makes them easier to pass. This reduces pressure on hemorrhoids, which in turn reduces the risk of bleeding, swelling & inflammation. Make sure to take fiber with plenty of fluids.
2.Exercise is another important home remedy for hemorrhoids. Take a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day, at least five days a week. Not only does this have a powerfully positive effect on your health, it also is a great way to stimulate your bowels. When you feel the urge, go to the bathroom immediately; do not wait for a more convenient time. Waiting can cause your bowels to back up, leading to increased pressure & straining.
3.Sitz baths (warm water bath for the buttocks) can relieve itching, irritation & muscle spasm. Sit in a regular bathtub with a few inches of warm water, or buy a small plastic tub that fits over a toilet seat. Try a 20-minute sitz bath after each bowel movement and an additional two or three times a day. Afterward, gently pat the area dry.
4.Over-the-counter pain-relief creams can temporarily soothe pain, irritation & itching. Witch hazel wipes (Tucks) are soothing & have no harmful effects. A small ice pack placed against the anal area for a few minutes may also help.
5.Finally, sitting on cushions rather than hard surfaces can help reduce swelling. If the treatments mentioned above do not help, talk to your doctor. You may benefit from a simple outpatient procedure to treat hemorrhoids. One procedure involves rubber rings tightened around the hemorrhoid. Other procedures, using lasers or infrared light, heat the hemorrhoids, causing them to shrink. Injecting a chemical into the hemorrhoids (called sclerotherapy) also can shrink them. If your symptoms continue despite these measures, you may need minor surgery to remove your hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are among the most common “minor maladies of man.” The good news is that, most of the time, simple home remedies can give you great relief.
6 January 2012