Hemorrhoids are also known as piles or varicose veins of the anus and rectum. They occur as a result of increased pressure on the walls of the rectum, which weakens the muscles supporting the hemorrhoidal vessels. The increased pressure causes the veins to bulge making them extremely painful.
People at Risk of Hemorrhoids
These conditions increase a person’s susceptibility to developing hemorrhoids:
Pregnancy: A lot of pregnant women are prone to hemorrhoids. As their size gets bigger, the rectal area is put under excessive pressure, which gives rise to hemorrhoids. During pregnancy, the increase in hormone production and release results in increased blood flow to the anal and the rectal region. Besides, during childbirth, the necessary pushing increases the pressure in the rectal area, creating the perfect conditions for hemorrhoids to develop.
Overweight: People who are overweight have a high chance of developing hemorrhoids because of their excess weight. The excess weight increases the pressure on their body, mainly in the pelvic and the rectal region, causing hemorrhoids.
Decreased fiber intake: Less fiber intake can result in the stools becoming harder, which may require one to push harder, thus increasing the pressure in the rectal area and causing hemorrhoids.
Lifting heavy weights: People who lift excessive heavy weights or hold their breath for long while lifting weights have a high risk of developing hemorrhoids, as it increases the pressure in the rectal and anal area. Weight lifters should, therefore, take proper training to avoid the development of this condition.
Improper bowel movements: Improper bowel movements are the main cause of hemorrhoids development in most cases. Chronic constipation, resulting from hard stools and chronic diarrhea, and excessive straining increase the pressure in the anal area, resulting in the formation of hemorrhoids. Similarly, holding back bowel movements when one feels the urge to evacuate also causes hemorrhoids.
High alcohol and caffeine intake: Alcohol and caffeine in drinks like coffee, tea and soft drinks act as diuretics, which cause the body to lose water very quickly. Loss of water again leads to the formation of dry and hard stools and causes difficulty in bowel movements.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids can be easily prevented by making a few changes in your lifestyle. Some of these changes include:
Increasing fiber content: Eating food with high fiber content, such as raw vegetables, whole grain breads, beans and dried fruits, tends to soften the stools and hence prevents constipation. Cutting down on low fiber and processed foods, such as cheese, white bread, red meat and ice cream, also helps as they result in the formation of dry and hard stools leading to constipation and straining during bowel movements.
- Increasing fluid intake: Regularly drinking water prevents constipation by softening stools. One should drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided as they tend to dehydrate the body and lead to constipation
- .Using stool softeners: Psyllium and bran can be helpful in softening stools. Avoid laxatives, since they might induce diarrhea, which may irritate the hemorrhoids.
- Practicing healthy bowel habits: Healthy bowel habits go a long way in preventing the occurrence of hemorrhoids. You should avoid straining while passing stools and go to the toilet whenever you feel the urge. Also, one should avoid reading in the toilet or spending more time sitting on the toilet, as it creates a lot of pressure on the anal and rectal region.
- Exercising: Moderate exercises, such as short walks, tend to help in preventing the occurrence of this condition. Also, avoid prolonged standing or sitting in one position.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects: You should avoid lifting heavy objects repeatedly, as this increases the pressure on the lower pelvic and anal regions, resulting in the development of hemorrhoids. You should always exhale while lifting heavy objects.
Being properly informed about the risk factors and the causes of hemorrhoids can help in early prevention
and development of this rather painful condition.