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What you need to know about hemorrhoids

There's nothing comfortable about hemorrhoids – either having them or talking about them. Many people find them highly embarrassing. Although they can make you miserable, hemorrhoids are treatable. If you think you may have hemorrhoids, don't let embarrassment keep you from seeking treatment. Discussing the condition with your doctor is the first step to getting relief.

Hemorrhoids Symptoms

One of the first signs that you may have hemorrhoids is finding blood in the toilet bowl or on the toilet paper after wiping. You may also have itching and soreness around your anus, but you can have piles and not have pain. It all depends what type of hemorrhoids you have.

Types of Hemorrhoids

When people think about hemorrhoids, they tend to think of external hemorrhoids. These are swollen and irritated veins under the skin around the anus. There are also internal hemorrhoids. Thrombosed hemorrhoids occur when the blood in the irritated veins clots and hardens. These can be extremely painful.

Causes of Hemorrhoids

Both internal and external hemorrhoids have the same basic cause: pressure on the anal veins, usually as a result of straining on the toilet. This, in turn, can be linked to a poor diet. For example, eating a lot of processed foods can cause constipation, which leads to strain. Taking laxatives has also been linked to developing hemorrhoids. Obesity, another result of poor diet, can also place undue pressure and contribute to hemorrhoids. Pregnancy can lead to temporary hemorrhoids. Also, prolonged sitting (like at a desk job) can contribute to the development of hemorrhoids.

Hemorrhoids Treatment

There are no hemorrhoids cures, but there are many effective hemorrhoid treatments that can help ease your misery. Over-the-counter creams and wipes are very soothing. Combine these with warm sitz baths for more relief. Generally, hemorrhoids will go away on their own.

A better approach is to prevent hemorrhoids in the first place or to keep them from recurring once they're gone. Eating a healthy diet high in fiber and drinking plenty of water will aid digestion and prevent strain during defecation. Regular exercise is also important.

If the above hemorrhoid treatments don't work, or if your hemorrhoids frequently recur, you need to see your doctor for more precise and more aggressive treatment.

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