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4 FAQs About Hemorrhoids

by Bonnie Gordon

There are some medical conditions that are a little embarrassing to discuss with your doctor. Hemorrhoids are one such condition. If you have hemorrhoids, you know that they are very uncomfortable. What you might not know is that talking to your doctor about hemorrhoids is a good first step to get rid of them.

One of the best things you can do before talking to your doctor is to learn more about hemorrhoids. To help you do so, here are the answers to four frequently asked questions about hemorrhoids.

1. What Are Hemorrhoids?

Hemorrhoids are simply swollen veins in the rectum. The veins become inflamed, which causes itching around the anus. Sometimes, hemorrhoids cause bleeding from the rectum. Severe hemorrhoids also makes it uncomfortable to sit.

2. What Causes Hemorrhoids?

Many people who suffer from constipation will develop hemorrhoids. This is because they strain to have a bowel movement, which causes the veins in the rectum to become enlarged. Other common causes of hemorrhoids include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Anal intercourse
  • Low-fiber diet
  • Stress

People who sit for long periods of time on the toilet or who don't have a bowel movement when they need to are also more prone to getting hemorrhoids.

3. How Can You Get Rid of Hemorrhoids?

Many people choose to treat their hemorrhoids with over-the-counter remedies. There are special creams that can be applied to the anus, which helps decrease itching and burning. One ingredient in particular that helps decrease itching is witch hazel. Zinc oxide can also be effective, as can a cold compress.

If these remedies don't help, there are medical procedures that you can try. These procedures include:

  • Rubber band litigation
  • Cauterization
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Freezing

If you have a severe case or your hemorrhoids keep returning, another way to get rid of them is with a hemorrhoidectomy surgical procedure.

4. What Can You Do to Prevent Them in the Future?

If you succeed in getting rid of hemorrhoids, you will want to do everything you can to ensure they don't come back. One of the best ways to do this is by eating a diet that is rich in fiber. Foods that contain plenty of fiber include:

  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables, such as green peas and broccoli
  • Fruits, such as pears and apples

Eating a high-fiber diet will make bowel movements easier, as your stool will stay soft. This prevents constipation and straining. Other things you can do to prevent future cases of hemorrhoids include drinking plenty of fluids, getting enough exercise, and avoid sitting for long periods of time.