What are they?
Haemorrhoids also called piles, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum.
Veins are a normal part of our anatomy. We have both internal and external veins, located inside the anal canal and around the anal opening respectively.
Swelling/Inflammation of these veins forms haemorrhoids.
How are they caused?
- Straining during bowel movements
- Heavy lifting or vigorous activity.
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
- Pregnancy and vaginal deliveries.
- Anal intercourse
- Low-fibre diet
- Sitting on the toilet for a long time
Symptoms indicating possibility of piles-
Haemorrhoids don’t always cause symptoms, so you may not realize you have them.
Here is a list of most common symptoms that they may cause-
– Itching or irritation in your anal region
– Swelling around your anus
– Pain or discomfort
– A lump near the anus which may be sensitive to touch or even painful.
– Painless bleeding during defecation or on toilet paper.
– Moist, pink/bluish bumps around the edge of or bulging out from your anus
– Anal area gets hard to clean.
- Eat high-fibre foods – Softening and bulking up stool for easier passage is helpful. As it will soften the stool by increasing its bulk and help in avoiding the straining that can cause haemorrhoids
- Drink plenty of fluids. Drink six to eight glasses of water and other liquids
- Go as soon as you feel the urge as delaying urge could make the stool dry and be harder to pass.
- Develop good toilet habits, like setting a routine around the same time of the day so that body gets accustomed to emptying bowels thus avoiding constipation.
- long periods of sitting particularly on the toilet must be avoided it can increase the pressure on the veins in the anus.
- Staying active helps to prevent constipation and also with weight loss that may be causative factors for haemorrhoids.
Best and worst foods for haemorrhoids.
Best foods– High fibre foods like – fruits, vegetables, whole grains , Beans, Lentils, and Nuts
Worst Foods– foods with less fibre can cause constipation or worsen haemorrhoids.
Some examples include-White bread , Milk, cheese, and other dairy, meat, processed foods such as frozen meals and fast food, Alcohol, Caffeine, Spicy foods, Citrus fruits.
Watch the amount of salt you eat as salt causes water retention in the body and may cause worsening of haemorrhoids.
Iron supplements can cause constipation and other digestive problems so it is best to discuss it with your doctor before taking any supplements.
What can you do for relief of symptoms
Hygiene of anal area: Taking a warm sitz bath 2-3 times a day can be helpful.
Swelling relief: Ice packs or cold compresses on the anus can relieve swelling.
Fibre supplements: If you are constipated, a fibre supplement- stool softener or laxative may be added after talking with your doctor.