What are hemorrhoids?
A hemorrhoid is a bundle of tissue, that includes blood vessels, inside of your anus. We all have hemorrhoid tissue but some hemorrhoids become irritated or swollen. When they become swollen or irritated, they can become a real pain.
What causes hemorrhoids?
There are many things that contribute to hemorrhoids becoming irritated. Usually, people may suffer from constipation. Either hard stools make it difficult to pass or they sit on the toilet for too long. However, diarrhea can contribute to hemorrhoids. This is related to frequently passing a bowel movement and the need to wipe and clean the anal area. Other conditions that contribute include pregnancy and certain medications.
The symptoms of hemorrhoids vary, based on the types of hemorrhoids, location and other factors. These symptoms can include:
- Itching or burning around your anus
- Tissue or mass at your anus
- Bleeding, noticed while wiping
- Pain around your anus
Initially, treatment can include nonsurgical measures. They include:
- High fiber diet. Lots of fruits and vegetables, around 5 servings a day
- Increase your water intake. The goal is 64 ounces of water per day but you will get some of that from food. We recommend you not drink more than that, as excessive water intake can hurt you
- Reduce the amount of times you wipe your anus. Try sitz baths (soaking in warm water) to relieve the itching, burning that worsens after bowel movements
- Avoid creams, medicated products. They may provide temporary relief but they contribute towards excessive wiping of the anus. Instead, use warm water soaks 2-3 times a day to help with relief of the symptoms.
These are tried for a few months if this is your first time with hemorrhoids. If that does not help with resolving your hemorrhoids, other options are available, including surgery or banding. Talk with your surgeon about the best treatment for your hemorrhoids.