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Page: haemorrhoids

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Haemorrhoids are the swollen veins near the anus and inside the rectum. They are also known as piles. They are so common in people aged 45 and older. The most common symptom is the blood in stool. Other symptoms are itching, discomfort, swelling or a hard, hurting lump. The problem is caused by pressure on the rectal veins because of constipation, diarrhoea, pregnancy or excessive straining during bowel movements. Heavy lifting and other strenuous activities can also result in haemorrhoids. High body mass index is considered a risk factor. Sometimes with age, the haemorrhoid tissue begins to deteriorate and slides down the anal canal.


Men and women are equally affected, though those between the ages of 40 and 60 seem to have a higher rate of haemorrhoids, as well as pregnant women.


When the haemorrhoid continues to enlarge, it will pull down a portion of the rectum lining and protrude from the anus. First-degree haemorrhoids will bleed but not protrude from the anus. Second-degree haemorrhoids are protruding, but retract by them and can bleed. Third degree haemorrhoids are protruding and can be pushed back with a finger. The fourth-degree haemorrhoid is protruding and cannot be pushed back in. They contain blood clots and pull much of the rectum through the anus.


To lower the risk of haemorrhoids, visit the toilet soon after you feel the urge. Waiting too long lets the stool harden, which will make harder to pass through the rectum. Once you start a bowel movement, don’t rush to complete it.


Take plenty of fibre diet and fluids, both of which help the stool to pass smoothly. The sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Leafy green vegetables, beets, apples, whole grains and other foods high in fibre are a great start. Fibre is the greatest defence against constipation. Herbal supplements like psyllium seed help as well, if your diet is poor. Start with small doses, though, and work your way up. When taking psyllium, make sure to drink plenty of water as psyllium absorbs water from the intestines. Adding prune juice to your diet is helpful as well. Avoid processed foods.


Drinking plenty of liquids that are non-caffeinated will also help constipation fade quickly if haemorrhoids do appear, keeping the inflammation to a minimum. Simple things like keeping the area clean and wiping gently with non-perfumed, non-coloured toilet paper will help the haemorrhoids heal more quickly.


In case you develop haemorrhoids, note that they are not inherently dangerous unless they are continuously bleeding. But it is better to visit a doctor to rule out the possibility of colorectal cancer.


Usually, haemorrhoids subside within a week or two. It is only when they become enlarged, they are considered abnormal or a disease. Only about four percent of the public experience problems with haemorrhoids. They are found equally in men and woman and usually occur when a person is between 45-65 years old. Stubborn or large haemorrhoids may require surgery.


Please note that haemorrhoids are easier to prevent than to treat.