How to Prevent Hemorrhoids

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If you have ever experienced the pain and itching of a hemorrhoid, you will certainly be interested in finding out how to prevent future episodes. As you may know, hemorrhoids occur when the veins within the tissue of the anus or rectum become swollen and inflamed. We can use information regarding the causes of hemorrhoids to come up with steps for preventing hemorrhoids:

1. Keep Your Stools Soft

Although the research isn't totally conclusive, it is generally thought that constipation is a primary contributing factor for hemorrhoids.

Thus, it is extremely important to do what you can to try to keep your stools soft. Soft stools pass more easily and thus reduce pressure and straining on the rectum and anus. The following can help:

  • Stay well-hydrated. When we don't drink enough fluids, water is drawn out from the fecal matter in your large intestine, drying out the stool.
  • Eat enough dietary fiber, particulary soluble fiber which adds softness to the stool.
  • If necessary, use fiber supplements. These supplements will add heft to the stool, helping to trigger urges for a bowel movement.

2. Work Toward Regularity

It is important to try to have bowel movements on a regular basis. Passing stools on a regular basis helps to reduces pressure and straining in the rectal area. Here are some tips:

  • Empty your bowels when you get the urge. Avoid excessive holding in of stool. So yes, this may mean you have to have a BM in a public restroom or someone else's home.
  • If constipation is a regular problem, learn about and use bowel retraining skills. Basically, it is a method in which you "retrain" your body to evacuate at a certain time each day.
  • Diarrhea can also cause hemorrhoids. Tips for reducing frequent bathroom runs include increasing soluble fiber, identifying food sensitivities and using mind/body techniques to reduce urgency.

    3. Avoid Straining

    Do not strain when sitting on the toilet. Try to stay relaxed and work with your body's rhythm when having a bowel movement. Avoiding straining will help reduce the risk that internal hemorrhoids will protrude.

    4. Don't Linger

    Sitting on the toilet for extended periods of time has been associated with causing hemorrhoids. If you are relaxed and nothing is happening in response to your urges, take a break and try again later. You could try drinking a hot drink, getting some exercise or eating a large meal with some healthy fat in order to try to trigger the impulse to have a bowel movement.

    5. Watch Your Diet

    There are two dietary factors that have been identified as possibly increasing your risk for hemorrhoids - excessive alcohol use and eating excessive amounts of spicy foods. So if chronic hemorrhoids are a problem for you, moderation in these two areas may be of help in terms of preventing recurrences.

    6. Exercise Regularly

    The development of hemorrhoids has been associated with both carrying excessive weight and standing and sitting for long periods of time.

    These factors are thought to increase pressure on the veins in your anal/rectal area, thus increasing the chances that a hemorrhoid will develop. Moving your body on a regular basis can help to eliminate these possible triggers.

    7. Cleanse Gently

    After a bowel movement, wash your anus and the area around it gently. Whenever possible use moistened toilet tissue and avoid rubbing the area. Thoroughly and gently clean the area whenever bathing. When drying, pat gently rather than rub harshly.

    Sources:

    "Hemorrhoids" Mayo Clinic Accessed February 14, 2016.

    Lohsiriwat, V. "Hemorrhoids: From basic pathophysiology to clinical management" World Journal of Gastroenterology 2012 18:2009–2017.

    Lohsiriwat, V. "Treatment of hemorrhoids: A coloproctologist’s view" World Journal of Gastroenterology 2015 21:9245–9252.

    "Hemorrhoids" National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Accessed February 14, 2015.

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