Hemorrhoids are inflamed, swollen veins around the anus or in the lower rectum. There are two kinds of hemorrhoids, internal and external. Internals hemorrhoids form deep inside the rectum in areas that have few pain sensing nerves. For this reason, they do not hurt and are only noticeable if the bleed into the stool.
However, it is possible for internal hemorrhoids to prolapse, meaning that they enlarge and poke out of the anus. A prolapsed internal hemorrhoid is sometimes visible as a moist, pink puff of skin. As opposed to internal hemorrhoids that remain internal, prolapsed hemorrhoids can hurt if they irritate the anus, which is full of nerves that sense pain. Prolapsed hemorrhoids usually recede back into the rectum on their own. If this does not happen, it is normally possible to gently push the hemorrhoid back into place.
Even though internal hemorrhoids are very uncomfortably, they usually are not a serious problem unless left untreated for a long time.
External hemorrhoids form within the anus and are usually painful. They too can prolapse and bulge outside of the anus. In some cases, blood clots form within the prolapsed external hemorrhoid. This is a very painful condition called a thrombosis. When this occurs, the hemorrhoid can turn purple or blue, and can bleed. Despite its ugly appearance, thrombosis is normally not a serious problem and will go away on its own in a few of weeks. If the pain is not bearable, your doctor can remove it.
If you experience any anal bleeding or pain checked you should see a doctor to make sure you do not have a more serious condition. While hemorrhoids are the most common cause and are rarely dangerous, you should find out for sure.
Contact us immediately at 818-696-0091. Our mission at Avalon Surgery Center is to treat each patient with the utmost respect and provide you excellent care. If you require a consultation with a medical specialist, we can help. Our physicians have offices all across the Greater Los Angeles Area, and are within your insurance network! Contact us for more information. 818-696-0091
Even though hemorrhoids are very common and usually not serious, they can still be painful and are avoidable. Here are some easy steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting them.
The most common cause of hemorrhoids is straining during bowel movements, especially when constipated. The best strategy to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids is to add more fiber to your diet, drink plenty of water, and exercise.
- Add Fiber to your Diet
Fiber in your diet softens your stool and makes it less dense and bulkier. This will help you pass stool more easily and without straining.
When you first start adding fiber to your diet, it is important to know that fiber alone does not alleviate constipation. Merely adding fiber to your diet when you are constipated will still leave you constipated. You first need to soften your stool with natural laxatives like those found in prunes, or with a stool softener from your local pharmacy like Colace. Not all laxatives are the same. Some laxatives work by stimulating your intestines to contract in order to move your stool along. This can increase pressure and can actually increase your chances of getting hemorrhoids. Instead, use an osmotic laxative that increases water in your large intestine. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist to help you pick the right one for you.
Once your stool is soft, you can gradually add fiber to your diet. Try to get 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Foods that are high in fiber include:
- Fresh fruits
- Whole grains
- Legumes (peas and beans)
It is always best to get fiber naturally through the foods you eat, but if necessary, ask your doctor about fiber supplements like Metamucil, Citrucel or Benefiber. If you take fiber supplements, make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. If you do not drink sufficient water, the supplements can cause constipation or make constipation worse.
Though it is rare, some people have ‘slow transit constipation’. This means that their bowels move slower than average. For people with slow transit constipation, excess fiber tends to sit in the intestines, which makes constipation worse. If you think you have slow transit constipation, you should consult your doctor.
In addition to adding fiber to your diet, pay attention to your body and avoid foods that cause bowel irritation. For example, in some people, lactose in dairy products or gluten can cause gas and irritation.
- Drink More Water
If you do not increase your fluid intake along with fiber, you will experience gassiness and bloating.
You should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to keep your stool soft. This may take some time to get used to, but drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day is a wise habit to develop because it benefits your entire body, from your skin to your heart.
- Exercise Regularly
Staying active helps to prevent constipation and reduce pressure on rectal veins. Exercise can also help you lose excess weight that may be contributing to pressure on your hemorrhoids.
Regular exercise helps to keep your digestive system in shape. Physical activities that maintain toned abdominal and pelvic floor muscles are the best to prevent hemorrhoids. Yoga, swimming, jogging or walking are all great for strengthening those muscles.
However, not all exercise is the same. Exercise or physical activities that increase abdominal pressure (like weightlifting) can actually lead to hemorrhoids. You should also avoid activities that put prolonged pressure on your backside.
- Don’t Strain When You Go
Holding your breath and straining while passing stool creates increased pressure in the veins in the lower rectum. Other things that can cause strain include lifting heavy objects, chronic coughing, and pregnancy.
Do what you can to relieve strain on your lower abdomen whenever possible.
You may even consider changing your posture when going to the bathroom. When sitting on the toilet, try resting your feet on a footrest or book. This raises your knees above your hips, which can make it easier to pass stool, helping you to avoid straining.
- At The Proper Time, For The Proper Time
Though seemingly common sense, it is important to go to the bathroom when you feel the urge. Do not wait. If you wait, your stool can become hard and dry, leading to constipation, which in turn increases your chances of hemorrhoids.
At the same time, do not force a bowel movement when you do not really need to go. This creates unnecessary strain on the anus and lower rectum.
Keep in mind that sitting for too long anywhere creates excessive pressure on the lower abdomen. This is particularly true for sitting on toilets, which can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus. Many people spend too much time on the toilet because they use it as a time to read or escape. While it is healthy to find time to unwind, the toilet is not a good place for it. The longer you sit, the more you increase your chances of getting hemorrhoids.
Award Winning Doctors to Treat Hemorrhoids
If you have hemorrhoids, anal bleeding or pain, contact us at 888-8-AVALON for a consultation. Our award winning doctors and state-of-the-art facilities at Avalon Surgery Center in Glendale, CA are available to provide you with the utmost respect and highest level of personalized care. Our physicians have offices all across the Greater Los Angeles Area, within your insurance network. Contact us for more info at 888-8-AVALON.