How Do You Get Hemorrhoids?
Whether you’re aware of it or not, nearly 3 in every 4 Americans will experience hemorrhoids at some point in their lives. This common medical condition is characterized by swollen veins in the lower rectum or anal area, which can cause pain, itching, and discomfort.
If you’re looking for more information on how you can develop hemorrhoids, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll be discussing the main causes, types, symptoms, and potential complications of hemorrhoids. We’ll also be providing some tips on how you can reduce your risk of getting hemorrhoids and manage your symptoms if they occur.
Causes of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are primarily caused by increased pressure on the veins in the rectal and anal areas. This pressure can be caused by any number of factors, including:
Straining During Bowel Movements
If you frequently strain during bowel movements, you’re at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids. This is because straining puts pressure on the veins in the rectal area and can cause them to become swollen and inflamed.
Chronic Constipation or Diarrhea
Both chronic constipation and diarrhea can lead to hemorrhoids. If you’re constipated, you may strain during bowel movements and put pressure on your rectal veins. On the other hand, diarrhea can cause inflammation and irritation of the rectal area.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Pregnant women are more likely to develop hemorrhoids due to increased pressure on the rectal veins from the growing uterus. Additionally, the pushing during childbirth can also lead to hemorrhoids.
Sitting for Extended Periods
If you have a sedentary lifestyle and spend a lot of time sitting, you’re at a higher risk of developing hemorrhoids. Sitting for extended periods puts pressure on the rectal veins, which can cause them to become swollen and inflamed.
Overweight or obese individuals are more likely to develop hemorrhoids due to increased pressure on the rectal veins.
Types and Symptoms of Hemorrhoids
There are two main types of hemorrhoids: internal and external.
Internal hemorrhoids develop inside the rectum and are usually painless, but they can still cause discomfort and bleeding during bowel movements.
External hemorrhoids develop outside the anus and can be more painful. They can cause itching, swelling, and sometimes bleeding.
Some common symptoms associated with hemorrhoids include:
- Pain or discomfort
- Itching or burning sensation
- Swelling or inflammation
- Bleeding during bowel movements
Hemorrhoids can develop over time due to increased pressure on the rectal veins, and they generally start as small lumps. If left untreated, they can grow larger and become more painful.
Risks and Complications of Untreated Hemorrhoids
If left untreated, hemorrhoids can potentially develop into more severe conditions. Some of the risks and complications associated with untreated hemorrhoids include:
Hemorrhoids can cause bleeding, especially during bowel movements. If left untreated, the bleeding can become excessive and lead to anemia.
Hemorrhoids can sometimes develop blood clots, which can be very painful and require medical attention to be removed.
In more severe cases, hemorrhoids can prolapse, or protrude outside of the anus. This can cause discomfort and pain and may require surgery to treat.
It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of hemorrhoids to prevent them from progressing into more serious conditions.
Prevention and Management of Hemorrhoids
Fortunately, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids. These include:
- Eating a high-fiber diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding straining during bowel movements
- Exercising regularly
- Taking breaks from sitting for extended periods
- Practicing good hygiene in the anal area
There are also some over-the-counter treatments you can use to manage your hemorrhoid symptoms, such as creams and ointments. These treatments can help reduce swelling and inflammation and provide relief from discomfort and itching.
Genetics and Hemorrhoids
Although lifestyle factors are a significant contributor to hemorrhoids, genetics also play a role. If your parents or other family members have a history of hemorrhoids, you may be more likely to develop them yourself.
It’s important to keep track of your family history and inform your doctor if you have any family members with a history of hemorrhoids.
Treatments for Hemorrhoids
If your hemorrhoids require medical treatment, there are several options available. These include:
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation is a common outpatient procedure used to treat hemorrhoids. It involves placing a small elastic band around the hemorrhoid, which cuts off its blood supply and causes it to shrink and eventually fall off.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove hemorrhoids. This is usually only necessary if other treatments have been ineffective.
It’s important to discuss the risks, benefits, and effectiveness of each treatment option with your doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
Hemorrhoids are a common medical condition that can cause discomfort and pain. If you experience any symptoms of hemorrhoids, it’s important to seek medical attention to prevent complications from developing. There are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and over-the-counter treatments are available to manage your symptoms.
Remember to discuss any family history of hemorrhoids with your doctor and to inform them of any symptoms you experience. With proper treatment and management, hemorrhoids can be effectively treated.