What are hemorrhoids and how to deal with them?

Many people have hemorrhoids at some point in their lives and many women are confronted with hemorrhoids during pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal canal. This common problem can be painful, but it's usually not serious. Veins can swell inside the anal canal to form internal hemorrhoids. Or they can swell near the opening of the anus to form external hemorrhoids. One can have both types at the same time. Too much pressure on the veins in the pelvic and rectal area causes hemorrhoids. Harvard Medical School notes that experts are divided on the exact causes of hemorrhoids, but probably several mechanisms are at work. Traditionally, hemorrhoids are associated with chronic constipation, straining during bowel movements, and prolonged sitting on the toilet — all of which interfere with blood flow to and from the area, causing it to pool and enlarge the vessels. This also explains why hemorrhoids are common during pregnancy, when the enlarging uterus presses on the veins. Pregnant women can actually get hemorrhoids during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This is because of increased pressure on the blood vessels in the pelvic area. Straining to push the baby out during labor can make hemorrhoids worse. Being overweight can also lead to hemorrhoids. The most common symptoms of both internal and external hemorrhoids include: (1) Bleeding during bowel movements. You might see streaks of bright red blood on toilet paper after you strain to have a bowel movement. (2) Itching. (3) Rectal pain. It may be painful to clean the anal area. ...

Here are some home remedies and natural tips to fight hemorrhoids:

(1) The use of ointments and creams may protect the skin in the area, reduce itching, and prevent further injury. Zinc oxide cream or ointment, petroleum jelly, coconut oil are commonly recommended. Vitamin E oil can be applied to the affected area.

(2) A small ice pack placed against the area for several minutes at a time may help to reduce pain and swelling.

(3) A 20 minute sitz bath (a warm water bath that immerses the buttocks and hips), may help to relieve irritation. Epsom salts can be added to the sitz bath.

(4) Aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes per day can help to stimulate bowel function.

(5) Try to go to the bathroom when you feel the urge, rather than waiting, in order to prevent straining and added pressure.

(6) To help reduce swelling, try sitting on a cushion rather than a hard surface.

(7) Triphala is a compound of three fruits that is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a bowel tonic to gently relieve constipation.

(8) Chamomile or calendula are herbs that may be applied topically as a compress or ointment.

(9) Stress may be a factor for some people with constipation and hemorrhoids. Consider mind-body interventions such as yoga, qi gong, and meditation. ...

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