Hemorrhoids are a very common medical problem affecting both men and women. It is estimated that over 80% of Americans will have some dealing with hemorrhoids in their lifetime. Over half a million people seek medical help for hemorrhoids annually in the United States, and of that half million at least ten percent undergo surgical procedures for relief of their hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are usually worse with age and seem to have a great impact on people between the ages of 45 and 65. Hemorrhoids are very common during pregnancy due to the extra weight of the fetus. Generally, the hemorrhoids associated with pregnancy are only temporary.
Hemorrhoids are caused when the veins around the anus and lower rectum become swollen and inflamed. This inflammation can occur for a variety of reasons, but most medical professionals believe it is caused by straining when trying to have a bowel movement (constipation) and too much time spent in the restroom.
The majority of hemorrhoid suffers can be treated without any type of surgery. The first thing to do is to relieve the symptoms. Sitz baths are recommended. Sit in the bath, with a few inches of warm water for fifteen minutes two to three times a day. Instead of wiping the area with toilet paper, use pads that are pre-moistened with witch hazel, or cotton balls soaked in witch hazel instead. Make sure the area is dry. If the steps above don’t help relieve the symptoms, you can try the application of an over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream to the area which will also help relieve itching and burning.
Aside from these measures, most medical professionals suggest that you increase the fiber in your diet to help to avoid constipation. Take an over-the-counter fiber supplement. Increasing your fluid intake can help make a softer stool. You may want to talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter stool softener. Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Any bleeding from the rectum should be checked by a physician.