Because hemorrhoids aren’t exactly conversation-worthy, you may not realize that half of adults in the United States will develop hemorrhoids by age 50. In most cases, hemorrhoids aren’t medically serious, but they can make life quite uncomfortable, making any step you take toward prevention a step worth taking.
To help, the highly skilled team of colorectal experts here at Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery pulled together five effective tips that can keep hemorrhoids at bay.
Before we get into our prevention tips, let’s take a quick look at some basics concerning hemorrhoids. At the bottom of your rectum and around your anus, you have a cluster of veins, the blood vessels that carry blood back to your heart.
If these veins become swollen and/or distended, they create hemorrhoids or piles. External hemorrhoids develop in the veins around your anus, while internal hemorrhoids are those found just beneath the mucus membrane in your rectum.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids range from itching and/or pain around your anus to bright red blood in your stool.
In most cases, hemorrhoids aren’t cause for concern, but they can make your life a little less comfortable.
Most hemorrhoids result from too much pressure in your lower rectum and in your anus, which irritates the veins and causes swelling. Keeping this in mind, let’s review some great tips for preventing hemorrhoids.
When you need to have a bowel movement, heed your body’s request and find a bathroom. Holding bowel movements can place too much pressure on the veins in your anus and lower rectum.
We understand that your bathroom time might be the only time when you can get some peace and quiet, but sitting on the toilet bowl for long periods can lead to hemorrhoids. When you’re sitting on the toilet, you’re relaxing the sphincter muscles around your anus and encouraging more pressure in your lower rectum. While this is necessary for the actual bowel movement, resting in this position before or after can strain the veins.
One of the best ways to avoid hemorrhoids is to eat foods that move smoothly through your colon and out your rectum. For some, this may mean adding fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, leafy greens, and whole grains.
For others, this might mean avoiding foods that tend to cause inflammation and constipation in your colon, such as dairy or gluten products.
Your digestive system benefits greatly from movement and tends to speed up in response to movement. So, if you’re prone to hemorrhoids and you lead a sedentary lifestyle, we recommend getting up and moving a little bit throughout the day.
Another way you can place pressure on the veins in your anus and rectum is through heavy lifting. If you routinely develop hemorrhoids, we advise that you leave the heavy lifting to someone else.
The title of our blog promised five simple ways to avoid hemorrhoids, but we also want to mention that, if you’re carrying extra weight the added pressure can more easily lead to hemorrhoids. We understand that losing weight is easier said than done, but we want to add hemorrhoids to the long list of reasons why weight loss can be beneficial.
If hemorrhoids still plague you, despite your best efforts, we offer highly effective treatment options that can quickly eliminate problematic hemorrhoids. To learn more, contact one of our offices in Fairfax, Fair Oaks, Alexandria, Gainesville, Woodbridge, or Lansdowne, Virginia, to schedule an appointment.