It’s easy enough to see bulging varicose vein in your leg. But when a vein bulges where the sun doesn’t shine, you’re more likely to feel in than see it. A hemorrhoid is exactly that: a varicose vein in the anus or rectum that can cause considerable discomfort – itching, burning, and occasionally throbbing pain.
Hemorrhoids can bleed when they are scraped by a hard bowel movement. Your first symptom may be an alarming streak of bright red blood on the feces or drop of blood on the toilet paper. (The bleeding usually stops by itself in a few minutes)
If the doctor says you have hemorrhoids, you probably know what causes them, too. Hemorrhoids are often caused by constipation, or “straining a stool.” Just as the veins in your temples pop out when you’re trying to lift something heavy, the veins in your anus can pop out when your try too hard, for too long, to have a bowel movement.
It’s true that hemorrhoids to tend to shrink when the pressure’s off but daily training can make them continually protrude (or prolapsed), bleed and hurt. But there are some ways to ease the discomfort and help heal the hidden annoyance.
Clean with care
While it’s important to keep your bottom clean, vigorous wiping will only aggravate your hemorrhoids. Wipe first with moistened toilet paper, or use pre-moistened wipe. Then pat with dry toilet paper. Or try using plastic squeeze bottle of water to gently “shower” your bottom, then pat dry with toilet paper. Avoid using scented or colored toilet paper containing chemicals that irritate tender tushies. If you must use soap to clean, use unscented, hard-milled bar such as Ivory.
Dab on petroleum jelly or zinc oxide paste
In Studies, both of these low-priced drugstores works just as well as more expensive creams. You can try either, or both, to reduce the pain and swelling of hemorrhoids. After wiping, dab a small amount of the cream or paste on a cotton ball and apply to the anal area.
Sit on a sitz
Of all the things you can do when your hemorrhoids are sore, sitz baths are the best according doctors. “Warm water relaxes the anal sphincter muscle. A relaxed anal sphincter muscle takes the squeeze off tender protrusions.
Fill your bath with three to four inches of warm (not hot) water. Don’t add anything to the water--- not Epson salts, bubble bath or bath oil. Sit in the tub for 15 minutes or so.
Pay heed when nature calls
Try to tune in to the stomach/bowel reflex that should occur twice a day, within 20 minutes after breakfast and dinner. The reflex is a signal that feces have moved into your colon and are ready to come out. Schedule your day to give yourself time to go when the urge strikes. You’ll have less training if you work with nature on this one.
Get up and moving. It really works!
Exercises such as walking, running, biking and swimming make food move through your bowel faster. That helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. Good overall muscle tone and a firm tummy also let you respond decisively to nature’s call.
Go or get off the pot
If you want to go, should you sit and wait? Some people believe that having a good reading material handy makes for a leisurely, relaxing (even enjoyable) excretory experience. Doctors personally believe that if you sit on the toilet long enough to read an entire magazine article, you’re there too long, and you are probably constipated. Several minutes should be enough to evacuate you bowels.
Eat foods that fight hemorrhoids
Include in your diet high-fiber foods that naturally produce softer stools that move easily past tender spots. Try oats, oat bran or barley. Aim for several servings a day of fruits and vegetables. In addition, if you can eat a cup or so of beans, chances are you hemorrhoids will shrink to a mere memory.
If chewing is a problem for you, get your fiber by eating applesauce mixed with oat bran, hot oat or rice cereals, mashed carrots or sweet potatoes and creamy vegetables or bean soups.
It’s equally important to get plenty of fluids. Try to get a minimum of six to eight glasses of water or other fluids a day. Since some kinds of fiber absorb fluids, the more you drink, the more you’ll help keep stools soft.