Hemorrhoid Problems: Cures, Fixes, Solutions, Experiences
Ever used this conversation starter in a bar: "Hey, I've got hemorrhoids, how about you?" or "Every time I defecate, my hemorrhoids burst and there's blood all over the place. What can I do about that?" Or somebody asks you how you're feeling and your standard answer is, "My butt hurts."
No, of course you haven't. Hemorrhoids are generally something we don't talk about, casually or otherwise. Yet, something like three in four people will suffer from the affliction during their lifetime.
Consequently, hemorrhoid sufferers are relegated to the Internet for information about what to do. Most of us are even embarrassed to talk to our doctors because it means that the doctor has to examine you, which means he's got to put his finger and his face in an unpleasant spot. Yes, he's a doctor, but even us regular folk have to feel for somebody who has to put his finger where the sun don't shine. That just doesn't seem like a great day at work.
What's a Hemorrhoid?
There are some really horrible pictures on the internet of hemorrhoids. I've selected one that's more tasteful (and legal to reuse), just so that I don't gross anyone out and make them leave this article in favor of one that uses less gross pictures. However, if you want some really nasty pictures of people who have taken pictures of their hemorrhoids, just type the word into Google.
Anyway, a hemorrhoid can be internal or external. It's basically a little bag of blood that's formed in or near your anus. Sometimes, you don't even notice them. Sometimes, they burst and you'll see blood in your poop. Sometimes they're really painful because when you go #2, they get pushed on and pulled and pushed out of the anal canal. I've had every type.
I doubt I need to explain more. If you're reading, you have them. Below are the various things I've found that help to alleviate the symptoms associated with hemorrhoids.
If you're suffering from hemorrhoids, it's likely you're all dry down there and it's likely that's the result of not drinking enough water. Basically, water - being hydrated - makes everything better. So, ask yourself: "Am I really drinking enough water?"
Want to know some of the benefits of being hydrated? How about this one: reduces high blood pressure. When the body is fully hydrated, the blood is about 92% water, so being hydrated helps keep the blood flowing freely. What causes hemorrhoids? Well, lack of good blood flow is one of those things, which is why sitting all the time can lead to hemorrhoids because sitting restricts blood flow.
When my hemorrhoids were at their worst, I realized I wasn't drinking any water. And I'm not exaggerating. I'd go through my day and drink absolutely no water. This is a recipe for more ailments than just hemorrhoids.
So, drink a lot of water.
Creams and Things
I've put all kinds of things in my rear end.
Um, I mean, as it relates to hemorrhoids. Like creams and different kinds of goo to make my anus feel better.
In general, I think creams of various kinds do fine if your hemorroids aren't too painful. But if you're suffering a lot, they don't really work that well. Your standard over-the counter creams include most creams like Preparation-H, which contains aloe and other ingredients that are supposed to shrink hemorrhoids. Honestly, I haven't had much success with those.
There's also ointment that contains 1% hydrocortisone, which is a steroid that can help healing. However, if you have hemorrhoids, it probably won't make them go away. A doctor can prescribe a mixture of 2% hydrocortisone and Vaseline, which is a good cure for an anal fissure, but probably won't solve your hemmorrhoid problem.
There are also creams with Lidocaine in them, which will help the pain for a time, but won't solve the underlying issue.
Sometime during one of my bouts with hemorrhoids, I realized that I was wiping my rear end with what amounted to low-grade sandpaper.
Imagine, for a moment, that you're an exposed, tender, sack of blood, and somebody is vigorously wiping you with sandpaper. What would you think of that? Well, you'd probably scream out in pain, right? Yes, right.
So perhaps this is not the best idea, which is why I recommend flushable wipes. They're soft. They're moist. They don't aggravate your hemorrhoids.
Among the best temporary solutions is Ibuprofen. Whether you are sitting for a long time or have just unloaded last night's dinner, your hemorrhoids may be seriously inflamed. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation, which will alleviate pain and discomfort. Sometimes the simplest cures are the best ones.
Just so you know, my description of the effectiveness of Gotu Kola is entirely anecdotal (but what on the Internet isn't?)
Gotu Kola is a plant native to a number of south asian countries. If you want more information, you can go look it up. Suffice it to say, it's been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of symptoms. It's safe. It's supposed to be helpful for longevity, among other things.
One of the things it's used to treat is varicose veins. This is interesting relative to hemorrhoids. My experience with it is that it strengthens the walls of veins. When I don't use it, my hemorrhoids bleed more often. When I use it, my hemorrhoids do not bleed, thus allowing them a better chance to heal.
If you have bleeding hemorrhoids, I recommend trying Gotu Kola.
When my hemorrhoids have been at their worst, I have found sitz baths - or just baths in general - to be a good, healing solution. The name of a sitz bath really just refers to sitting in the bath. It's also meant for the water level to just be high enough to cover your tush. However, as long as you're getting in the tub, might as well have a full bath.
A good sitz bath has the benefit of hydrating the tissue down there and generally softening things up. I think it also aids in healing. I find that when I take baths multiple nights in a row, my symptoms improve.
One of the keys to avoiding hemorrhoids is to have consistent, soft bowel movements. One of the ways to insure this happens is to eat foods with lots of fiber: fruits, vegetables; etc. If you are having difficult bowel movements or not going every day, then you probably need to add fiber to your diet. One of the easiest and, honestly, tastiest ways to do that is gummy fiber. The gummy fiber link to the right of this capsule will take you to some of the best tasting gummies out there. They taste good and they help you. Here's a reminder though, if you're taking fiber supplements, you should also be drinking extra water. If you're taking fiber and not drinking enough water, the extra fiber may backfire on you.
That said, if you're not getting enough fiber in your diet, you should really be changing your diet.
When my hemorrhoids are really bad, I'm usually taking some fiber supplements along with a stool softener because there's nothing that aggravates hemorrhoids more than a hard bowel movement.
I will point out that the stool softener I use does warn that if you use if for more than seven days straight, you should see a doctor. That said, I have used stool softeners for multiple weeks in a row. If you're finding that fiber alone doesn't help you that much, you may want to resort to a stool softener.
I really like spicy foods. I eat a lot.
This is maybe not the best thing when you have hemorrhoids, particularly if your hemorrhoids bleed. After all, if you have a bleeding hemorrhoids, it's like having an open wound. Introducing spicy peppers into an open wound is certainly going to exacerbate symptoms.
Perhaps a story will illustrate my point:
In addition to having hemorrhoids, I developed an anal fissure. After weeks and weeks of horribly painful bowel movements, I started investigating possible solutions and causes (like reading an article like this one!). After trying virtually everything, I finally realized that the jalapeno artichoke dip I was eating every day was likely increasing my pain to an unmanageable level. Sure enough, when I quit eating that spicy stuff, my symptoms improved dramatically.
Lesson learned: never ignore the obvious.
Caffeinated vs. Decaffeinated Coffee
I used to think that caffeinated coffee played a role in hemorrhoids, but I'm not so sure anymore. However, I think that if you have bleeding hemorrhoids, it might be smart to stop drinking caffeinated coffee. When I switched from caffeinated to decaffeinated coffee, my hemorrhoids stopped bleeding so much. That said, when my hemorrhoids got painful and I stopped drinking coffee altogether, I didn't notice any difference. In fact, I think the return to drinking caffeinated coffee reduced pain symptoms.
Caffeine is a vaso-dilator, meaning that it expands your veins and increases blood flow, which makes sense if you understand anything about caffeine. It's a pick-me-up, right? That means more blood is flowing when you ingest caffeine. Thus, if you drink enough of it, more flood flows to your butt too. That means that if you have hemorrhoids, the caffeine is causing potential inflammation down there and potential bleeding if they pop.
That's all I know. If I'm relaying that information right, it's accurate because I got it from a doctor friend.
If you strain while you poop, you're ultimately hurting yourself. When you're young, you probably don't think much about this, but it'll get you as you age.
The act of straining pushes blood into areas of your butt where it might not be able to get out. Thus, doing so can cause hemorrhoids. I so wish, like many other things, I hadn't spent so much of my youth rushing to get out of the bathroom by straining and pushing out bowel movements in record fashion.
Now, I have hemorrhoids and regret straining.
Consult Your Doctor
I am not a doctor. This information is anecdotal. Since I believe strongly in expertise, I suggest you use this information judiciously in consultation with your doctor. If you have been experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms for a long time and cannot deal with the pain, please make an appointment with your physician. Many people suffer from hemorrhoids. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. Your doctor has seen it already.
- Hemorrhoids - Internal vs External Hemorrhoids and Causes of Hemorrhoids
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