Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, are enlarged veins situated in or around the back passage (anus). They occur when these blood vessels become swollen in a similar way to varicose veins in the legs.
How are they caused?
Under pressure the blood vessels in and around the anus stretch. Straining whilst on the toilet, chronic coughing and lots of heavy lifting are common ways that pressure in the abdomen is increased and that in turn results in increased pressure in the veins located around the anus. Pregnancy, being overweight and childbirth can also cause haemorrhoids.
Will diet improve symptoms?
Since straining on the toilet is one of the commonest reasons why haemorrhoids develop, avoiding constipation and having to strain is vital to improve symptoms. Eating a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and other fibre, drinking plenty of water, keeping active and keeping stress levels under control all help the bowel to function properly.
What can I use to ease the pain?
Ice packs help reduce swelling and sitting in a warm bath filled with plain water for 10 minutes several times a day will relieve symptoms too. Don’t be over-hygienic when washing since this may cause more irritation. Try not to sit for long periods of time since this may cause more irritation.
What if they persist despite these measures?
Sometimes haemorrhoids will need to be treated surgically. If your doctor advises this then surgical treatment may involve laser heat treatment, chemical solution injections (sclerotherapy), rubber band ligation, or surgical removal of the haemorrhoids. The operation recommended depends upon whether the haemorrhoids are internal or external.
What can I do to avoid getting haemorrhoids again?
Make sure your diet contains plenty of fibre, drink lots of fluids and increase the amount of exercise you get. These measures will help prevent constipation, one of the main causes of haemorrhoids. Check out with our specialist for advice on how to avoid the problem.
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