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About Hemorrhoids: the Most Essential Info

Many diseases are so widely spread that can sometimes target up to half of the human kind. One of such diseases is hemorrhoids. Statistics confirms that almost 50% of people, aged 45-65, suffer from this unpleasant condition. Men and women are equally prone to hemorrhoids.

What are hemorrhoids? The lower part of the rectum and anal canal contain multiple arteries, which supply blood to these parts of the body. These blood vessels and the tissues around them (smooth muscles and elastic fibers) are called hemorrhoidal cushions, since they support or cushion the anal canal during defecation. There are three areas, which are referred to as the anal cushions. They are located at the right posterior, right anterior, and left lateral anal wall. The vessels in these cushions may become enlarged and dilated, simultaneously causing damage to the surrounding tissues. This happens due to strain and increased pressure in the rectal vessels. Hemorrhoids are, actually, similar to varicose veins on the legs.

Types of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids can be internal, occurring at the top of the anal canal; external, developing around the anus; and internal-external, formed of the swollen skin and vessels both at the top and at the bottom of the anal canal.

Causes of hemorrhoids. The most frequent reasons for the enlargement of the rectal vessels are: - low dietary fiber intake, which makes stools harder to defecate (this causes constipation), because of the lack of moisture in them; - sedentary lifestyle; - heavy lifting or prolonged standing, which strain muscles and blood vessels in the anorectal area; - pregnancy (uterus causes additional pressure in the anorectal area); - overuse of laxatives; - overweight; - anal intercourse; - infection in the anorectal area.

Symptoms of hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids most often cause painless bleeding due to the absence of pain receptors in that area. The bright-red arterial blood can be noticed before, during, and after defecation, but the bleeding usually does not last long. External type of hemorrhoids may cause painful swelling of the vessels and skin, irritation with bleeding, itching, inflammation, seepage of fecal matter or mucus (the anal sphincter may not close properly). Abdominal discomfort may also accompany hemorrhoids.

Special conditions. The following conditions are perceived as the severe symptoms of the disease. Protrusion is a swelling and extending of the vessels and tissues of either internal or external hemorrhoids, when they can be seen outside the anus. If the internal hemorrhoids are pushed out of the anal opening, it is a case of the prolapsed hemorrhoids. External hemorrhoids can be aggravated by the forming of the blood clots inside the hemorrhoid. This is called the external hemorrhoid thrombosis.

Tips to relieve pain. Hemorrhoids in many cases can be relieved by self-care at home. The best ways are: - taking warm sitz baths 3-4 times a day for 15 minutes after each defecation; - drinking about 8 glasses of liquid (juice, water), eat more leafy green vegetables and food, high in fiber (fruits, whole grains);

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- restricting sitting time; - taking stool softeners for the restricted period of time (it is better to discuss the type of the laxatives and the duration of taking them with a doctor); - using over-the-counter medications for treating hemorrhoids and relieving pain (the possibility of taking them must also be evaluated by the doctor); - applying ice packs to reduce swelling.

Prevention. To avoid the development or recurrence of hemorrhoids it is necessary to increase the intake of the high in fiber products, which will make the stools softer and prevent from constipation. Persons, leading a sedentary lifestyle, should start exercising in order to teach the “lazy” parts of the body work better. However, excessive strain is forbidden. Overweight belongs to the targets causing hemorrhoids; therefore, it is better to lose some weight – the pressure in the anorectal area will be lower then.


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