Before understanding what causes hemorrhoids, it is first important to discuss what hemorrhoids are. Hemorrhoids are a painful, itching and sometimes bleeding mass of swollen tissues and veins located in the area of the anus and rectum.
Approximately 89 percent of all adult Americans will experience hemorrhoids at least one time in their life. Hemorrhoids is why Napoleon Bonaparte sat side saddle on his horse, why former president Jimmy Carter needed surgery, and hemorrhoids are what benched George Brett, a baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, during the World Series game in 1980.
Two Main Types Of Hemorrhoids:
There are two main types of hemorrhoids that people may suffer from – internal hemorrhoids and external hemorrhoids. Internal hemorrhoids can be found inside an individual’s rectum. In actuality, numerous people remain unaware of internal hemorrhoids as they are often painless and do not cause any obvious symptoms. Usually the only time individuals will notice internal hemorrhoids is if they find blood in the stool and on toilet paper. External hemorrhoids, on the other hand, are easier to diagnose as they are found on the outside of the rectum, often located around the anus. They are small lumps that cause itching and irritation.
What Causes Hemorrhoids To Form:
There are quite a few factors that can cause the onset of hemorrhoids.
- Constipation is one of the primary causes of hemorrhoids in many individuals. When an individual becomes constipated, they tend to strain their body to produce a bowel movement. This strain puts a lot of unwanted and unnecessary pressure on the rectal area, causing the veins in the area to swell up. As the veins continue to swell and restrict normal blood flow, hemorrhoids begin to develop.
- Age is another factor for what causes hemorrhoids. Numerous medical research studies have shown that men and women between the ages of 45 and 65 are extremely likely to develop hemorrhoids. This is because the muscles become less tight and not able to easily push out a bowel movement. As well, the older people get, the more sedentary they become, increasing the likelihood of hemorrhoids.
- Prolonged sitting is another causal factor when it comes to the creation of hemorrhoids. Sitting down for long periods of time is not good for the body. It exerts additional unnecessary pressure as well as restricts the flow of blood. Those with desk jobs who sit for most of the day should get up and walk around and stretch for at least five minutes every hour or so to maintain proper blood flow throughout the body. Putting a cushion on the seat can also lesson pressure placed on the rectum.
- Unhealthy lifestyles are a primary culprit. Individuals who eat a lot of processed, synthetic foods and drink carbonated beverages are more apt to get hemorrhoids. This is because these food and beverage options make the stool much harder and stiff, causing individuals to have to strain during the bowel movement, causing the formation of hemorrhoids over time.
The best thing to do is eat a diet that is full of fiber, such as legumes, dried fruit, strawberries, raspberries, whole-wheat and whole-grain cereals, broccoli, plums, apples, pears, spinach, kale, nuts – especially brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts (but consume sparingly as they have a high fat content), bananas, carrots and cherries. As well, drink a lot of water, at least the recommended eight glasses a day.
- Women experiencing pregnancy are much more likely to develop hemorrhoids. This is due to the increase of the flow of blood along with progesterone (hormone) levels. As well, the additional weight of a growing baby increases pressure on the veins below the uterus, causing them to swell up and form hemorrhoids.
- Heavy Lifting: those individuals that work jobs that require a lot of heavy lifting may experience the occurrence of hemorrhoids. This is due to the increased strain these individuals put on their bodies. If someone’s job is to lift heavy items, do not forget to stretch at least once an hour and rest when the body is tired.
Hemorrhoid Treatment Options:
No matter what may cause hemorrhoids, there are a number of available treatment options:
- Witch hazel is one of the best natural treatments for external hemorrhoids as it relieves all itching and burning sensations and reduced the swelling of the area at the same time. Individuals can either purchase a container of liquid witch hazel to be applied with a soft cloth or cotton ball, or many pharmacies carry pads that have been soaked in witch hazel.
- Do not turn down the opportunity for a warm bath. The warm bath will actually reduce swelling and relieve many of the other symptoms of discomfort, including itching and irritation. A warm bath will also keep the anus and rectum clean. If the area is clean, it is likely that the irritation will quickly clear up.
- Aloe vera is known for soothing the area where the hemorrhoid exists and getting rid of the burning, itching sensations. Aloe vera gel is available in just about all grocery stores and pharmacies in any neighborhood. Some people choose to buy aloe vera plants and get the gel right from the leaves of the plant. Before a person applies aloe vera, they need to make sure the entire area has been cleaned.
- There are many over the counter medications currently available to those looking to treat their hemorrhoids. This includes creams, ointments, foams and even suppositories. Over the counter hemorrhoid medications are aimed at bringing quick relief to those suffering from hemorrhoids. Because there are many over the counter options available, it is best to do some research and discuss with a medical professional what the best option is.
- Surgery is one last option when it comes to treating hemorrhoids no matter what caused it. It is only used in cases where none of the above options prove to be effective. Surgery completely removes the hemorrhoid. However, it is important to note that even if the hemorrhoid is removed, it does not stop the possibility of hemorrhoids from reoccurring.
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