Hemorrhoids - An Uncomfortable but Common Health Condition!
Did you know that hemorrhoids are one of the most common of all health ailments? In fact, approximately eight out of ten people will at one point or another develop this itchy and uncomfortable condition. So what exactly are hemorrhoids? Well, my friends, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in or around the anus. As you grow older, your chance of developing hemorrhoids increases, however, pregnant women and people that suffer from chronic constipation are also prime candidates. Hemorrhoids develop because of one simple thing…too much pressure! For example, a woman giving birth pushes in order to deliver her baby. The extreme pushing creates pressure (down below) causing normal blood vessels to expand….and BAM…a baby hemorrhoid is born. The good news is, if you have hemorrhoids there are many things you can do in order to relieve your pain and discomfort.
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- No Scratching! Though scratching may feel good…don't do it!!! By scratching hemorrhoids you can actually do more harm than good! Scratching can, in fact, damage the walls of the swollen, delicate veins and can make an already uncomfortable situation…much worse!
- Soak it Out! Fill the bathtub with warm water and soak, soak, soak! Sit with your knees raised (think sitz bath, folks!) for at least twenty minutes. The warm bathwater will relieve your pain and at the same time, increase the blood flow to…well…for lack of better words…."the affected area." A warm bath can also help to shrink the tender, swollen veins.
- Medicate! There are MANY over-the-counter hemorrhoid creams available (just like skin care products, you will have many choices!). However these creams will NOT cure your problem…but will bring you some much needed relief! Who hasn't heard of Preparation H?!
- Lose a Few Pounds! Sorry folks…I hate to be the bearer of bad news but being over-weight can actually cause hemorrhoids. Over-weight people tend to have more problems with this itchy ailment than those of normal weight. Why? Well, when you are over-weight, you carry around extra pounds and those extra pounds put pressure on your lower body (it all goes back to the "pressure" scenario discussed earlier).
- Buy a Special Pillow! You can find many different types of special doughnut-shaped pillows and cushions at medical supply stores, drug stores and even on-line. If you suffer from hemorrhoids, sitting on a doughnut-shaped pillow can relieve some of the pressure…which in turn will relieve some of the symptoms you may be suffering (such as itchiness!).
- Witch Hazel – Witch Hazel is like a miracle drug when it comes to relieving painful hemorrhoid symptoms! Simply apply a dab of Witch Hazel (using a cotton ball) and BAM…relief is one the way! Witch Hazel actually shrinks the blood vessels…which is a good thing! COLD Witch Hazel is even better…so if you have hemorrhoids, keep a bottle in your refrigerator!
- Would You Like SALT With Those Fries? First of all, weren't you listening…you need to control your weight in order to keep hemorrhoids at bay…so NO you don't want any fries! And NO…you don't want any salt either! Excess sodium can make your hemorrhoids WORSE!
- No Heavy Lifting! Lifting heavy objects and STRENUOUS EXERCISE can cause hemorrhoids! Again…we are going back to that "pressure situation" we discussed earlier! Lifting heavy objects is equivalent to "straining while sitting on the toilet" both of which can cause hemorrhoids! If you need to move a piano…play it safe and call a moving company!
- Increase Your Fiber Intake! Straining on the toilet is probably one of the most common reasons people develop hemorrhoids in the first place! Be kind to your rear-end and eat a diet that is rich in fiber (this will make going to the bathroom a bit easier!). Also…drink a lot of water!!! Hydration is key in order to produce healthy bowel movements! Also, after you are done going to the bathroom…clean yourself TENDERLY! I know that sounds weird, however, rough toilet paper can cause more damage (not to mention pain!). Buy soft, unscented toilet tissue and if possible, wet the paper down before you wipe!
Don't Be Ashamed! You Are NOT Alone!
Hemorrhoids are VERY common and nothing to be ashamed of! If you have never had trouble with hemorrhoids in the past and all of a sudden develop them…it may be a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor (just to make sure everything is OK and hemorrhoids are, in fact, the cause of your discomfort!). If you are experiencing rectal bleeding it is VERY important that you visit the doctor as rectal bleeding can be a sign that something is seriously wrong! Don't play games when it comes to your health! There are several medical procedures that your doctor may decide are right for you (in order to deal with your hemorrhoids) including laser and sclerotherapy. Good luck and here's to a happy and healthy bottom!
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