Preventing and Treating Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoid Surgery, Prevention, and Pain Relief

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Internal Hemorrhoids. Image: ADAM

Hemorrhoids, also known as anal piles, are distended blood vessels that can form in the rectum and around the anus. Hemorrhoids can be internal or external, meaning they have formed either inside the rectum or outside. An external hemorrhoid might be felt on the outside of the body, such as when using toilet paper.

In addition, internal hemorrhoids can be prolapsed and begin to push through the anus and be felt on the outside of the body.

 

Hemorrhoids often occur with greater frequency with age, but may show up for the first time after weight gain or during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, hemorrhoids are extremely common and most adult Americans them.  Fortunately, many individuals who have hemorrhoids do not experience symptoms, but many do and often require treatment to reduce the pain they feel when sitting, using the bathroom, and even when doing physical activity such as lifting weights.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

There are multiple causes of hemorrhoids, including:

Preventing Hemorrhoids

Some hemorrhoids cannot be prevented. You may be genetically predisposed to having them; however, lifestyle changes can be very successful in preventing hemorrhoids and reducing the frequency with which they occur.  

Those lifestyle changes include drinking water and maintaining adequate hydration, eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables that are high in fiber, and frequent exercise.

  For some, adding a mild stool softener to their daily routine can also soften stool and reduce the pain associated with hemorrhoids. In general, dietary habits that soften stool will decrease the pain associated with bowel movements. 

Hemorrhoid Treatments

Treatments for hemorrhoids vary, based on the severity of the hemorrhoid, any complications that may be present (such as thrombosis), and pain.

A hemorrhoid that may not require treatment due to severity may certainly need treatment due to the level of pain that is present.

Some treatments and home remedies are strictly to prevent or minimize pain. Hemorrhoid surgery, or hemorrhoidectomy, is a procedure that removes the blood vessel and should prevent another from forming at the same site.

Hemorrhoid Surgery

If you elect to have hemorrhoid surgery, you will need to go through a process to cleanse your digestive tract prior to surgery, known as a "bowel prep." Bowel prep typically starts with taking medication, often as a drink, that causes diarrhea and cleans the digestive tract of all food and stool. This helps prevent infection after surgery by keeping the surgical area clean.

After Hemorrhoid Surgery

Recovering after hemorrhoid surgery can be very painful for as long as a week after the procedure. Your surgeon will likely prescribe pain medication in addition to treatments such as sitz baths.

Source

Hemorrhoids. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hemorrhoids/

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