What are hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are enlarged and displaced blood vessels of the lower rectum and anus. With increased pressure due to straining during bowel movements, pregnancy, heavy lifting, or repeated posture (sitting or standing for a prolonged period of time), hemorrhoidal veins become enlarged and can begin to cause symptoms. The symptoms of hemorrhoids vary depending on the type of hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids can be painful, and can also have itching, burning, and irritation around the affected area. Internal hemorrhoids are not as painful; however, they can cause bright red rectal bleeding (though usually not too much) with a bowel movement.

What are some treatment options?

Hemorrhoids can be treated symptomatically. Although over-the-counter products may help with pain and discomfort, they don’t fix the underlying causes. If a hemorrhoid is caused by constipation, stool softener or laxative can be used to aid bowel movement. If there is irritation or straining, a warm sitz bath can be used after each bowel movement to relax the area.

What can you do to prevent hemorrhoids?

Lifestyle change can help prevent hemorrhoids. Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Stay hydrated. Drinking more fluid helps to prevent straining and constipation.
  • Stay on a healthy diet that is high in fibre to prevent constipation.
  • Do not strain or sit on the toilet for a long time for a bowel movement. Which means don't sit reading the paper or magazine when you're really done.