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Millions of people struggle with hemorrhoids on a regular basis, though it’s hard to know this, given that this experience is somewhat embarrassing and most people are reluctant to talk about it. While there is no surefire cure to make your hemorrhoids go away forever, there are some strategies that can reduce the prevalence of hemorrhoids and make your life with them more comfortable.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the anus. A person can suffer from internal hemorrhoids, which can form into the lower rectum, or external hemorrhoids, which are much more noticeable in the skin around the anus.
Either way, hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable, itchy, irritating, and difficult to manage. They can make bowel movements both harder and more uncomfortable, even downright painful, even though they probably won’t immediately jeopardize your health.
Certain people are more prone to hemorrhoids than others due to genetic factors or existing medical conditions. If you’re especially prone to hemorrhoids, even the best prevention measures may not totally eliminate them from your life – but they can still make an impact.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids
For most people in most situations, hemorrhoids are preventable. These are some of the best strategies for preventing hemorrhoids or reducing their appearance rate and severity.
Start using a bidet
A bidet is a bathroom device that uses a gentle spray of water to clean your bottom after using the bathroom, typically substituting for toilet paper. One of the most common root causes of hemorrhoids is direct irritation. Wiping with toilet paper is an inherently irritating activity, even if it’s one you’ve grown accustomed to. Purchasing the softest toilet paper you can find can help relieve some of this irritation, but it’s even better to simply wash yourself with a jet of water. Fortunately, bidet attachments have made it much easier for the average person to install a bidet in their home bathroom – so there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Eat more fiber
The looser and easier your bowel movements are, the better. One way to get more consistent, comfortable bowel movements is to eat more fiber in your regular diet. Vegetables are extremely high in fiber, as are whole grains and many types of fruit.
Always read the nutritional labels of what you’re eating and aim to eat even more fiber than the standard recommendation for your demographic cohort.
Take fiber supplements
If you’re struggling to get enough fiber in the day, as many people do, consider taking some over-the-counter (OTC) fiber supplements. These supplements are a quick and easy way to up your fiber intake for the day.
Drink lots of water
Additionally, it’s a good idea to drink lots of water and other fluids to make your stool softer and easier to pass. Keep a water bottle by your side and sip it whenever you think about it. It’s very hard to drink too much water, so be generous with your intake.
Avoid straining during a bowel movement
Hemorrhoids are often introduced or made worse by straining during a bowel movement. Even if the bowel movement itself is hard or uncomfortable, you should try to relax when passing it.
Stay moving throughout the day
Hemorrhoids can become more common or more painful if you sit in the same position all day, every day. Instead, it’s better to take breaks from sitting and move throughout the day. It’s even better to get regular exercise and stay in good physical shape.
How to Deal With Hemorrhoids
If the prevention measures aren’t successful in completely preventing hemorrhoids, there are some strategies that can help you deal with these pesky intruders.
Continue following prevention measures. Keep following prevention measures even after you discover a hemorrhoid flare-up. Not only does this prevent additional hemorrhoids from forming, but it can also reduce pain associated with your existing hemorrhoids.
Apply over-the-counter (OTC) cream. There are many OTC products designed to help reduce hemorrhoids (as well as the pain associated with them). Consider purchasing one and applying it on a daily basis to see relief.
Take warm baths. A warm water bath for the buttocks and hips, sometimes known as a sitz bath, can help relieve some of the itching and irritation associated with hemorrhoids. Even one such bath a day can make a big impact.
Visit your doctor. If your hemorrhoids are severe or if your initial management strategies aren’t working, talk to your doctor. They may be able to recommend more effective treatment options.
Hemorrhoids aren’t completely preventable and may be inevitable for certain portions of the population. However, with the right preventative strategies, you can at least reduce the frequency and severity of hemorrhoids. And with the right management strategies, you can make them less painful.