Hemorrhoids (piles) can be triggered by pregnancy and constipation, but can be relieved with home remedies and exercise. Hemorrhoids – which are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and lower rectum – are quite common occurrences, and by the age of 50, nearly half of adults have experienced them at least once. The good news is, hemorrhoids can be easily treated and although they can cause discomfort they are not life-threatening.
Hemorrhoids causes and symptoms
Hemorrhoids can be caused by many reasons, including straining to release a bowel movement, constipation, pregnancy, aging, chronic diarrhea, sitting for long periods of time – especially on the toilet, anal intercourse, obesity, and genetics.
Hemorrhoids can occur within the anus or above, but they can also be external and under the skin of the anus.
Symptoms of hemorrhoids include painless bleeding during a bowel movement, itching and irritation in the anal region, pain and discomfort, swelling of the anus, a lump near the anus, and leakage of feces.
It’s important to speak to your doctor at the first sign of rectal bleeding, because although it can be as harmless as a hemorrhoid, it can also be a signifier for something more serious. Therefore, rectal bleeding should always be looked after.
Hemorrhoid treatment, home remedies, and prevention
Hemorrhoids are often easily treated with prescription or over-the-counter topical creams, pads, and suppositories to help relief symptoms and speed up recovery. Your doctor may perform a minor procedure of a small incision if a clot has formed. Lastly, surgery may be required if simpler procedures were not effective.
At home, you can apply topical creams yourself, bathe the area, apply ice packs and cold compresses, take a sitz bath sold at many pharmacies, use moist towelettes, and take painkillers.
Prevention methods of hemorrhoids include increasing your fiber intake to avoid constipation, drinking plenty of fluids, exercising, keeping a healthy weight, and not rushing bowel movements and avoiding straining.
Relief from hemorrhoids through exercises
Exercise is recommended as a means of prevention and treatment of hemorrhoids as it increases circulation to the rectum, preventing blood clots that lead to hemorrhoids. Standing and sitting are found to put strain on your anus and the veins running through your anus, worsening hemorrhoids. Therefore, it’s important to exercise.
Some useful exercises to prevent and treat hemorrhoids include Kegels, yoga, walking, jogging, and muscle-toning exercises, like holding planks, contracting your glute muscles, and performing muscle repetitions.
Here are some other exercises you can perform in order to prevent hemorrhoids:
- While standing, perform a calf raise by lifting up onto your toes and elevate your arms above your hand at the same time – while stretched, slowly forward bend at the waist and descend to reach your toes – this exercise strengthen your anal sphincter.
- Position yourself as if you are about to perform a push-up with the soles of your feet against a wall – rotate your torso in one direction, then the other, and ensure your are tightening your stomach – start off with a few and build yourself up over time.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding hemorrhoids and about any additional exercises you can perform in order to prevent future hemorrhoid attacks.