Five Simple Tips to Prevent Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are no fun, so we want to share these easy ways to prevent them. If you develop hemorrhoids though, most cases ca

You may think of hemorrhoids as something that occurs during pregnancy, but anyone can develop them. Your risk increases as you age, and roughly half of people over age 50 experience hemorrhoids. 

Hemorrhoids defined

Hemorrhoids are similar to varicose veins. The condition occurs when the veins in the lower rectum become swollen and twisted. External hemorrhoids can develop under the skin around the anus.

Symptoms range from mild itching and discomfort to severe pain that can come on suddenly. Sometimes hemorrhoids are painless. You may notice blood on the toilet paper or in the toilet, as bleeding is common.

What causes hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are most commonly linked to pregnancy and well as constipation and straining during bowel movements. Other factors that increase the risk of hemorrhoids are lack of exercise, low fiber intake, and low water intake. 

Here at Illinois Gastroenterology Group, our gastroenterologists diagnose and treat hemorrhoids. If blood is found in your stool, we may order a colonoscopy to rule out other causes of bleeding, such as polyps or colon cancer.

Although hemorrhoids are rarely dangerous, they can become chronic and painful. Use these tips to lower your chances of developing this uncomfortable condition.

Tip #1: Eat more fiber-rich foods

Adding more fiber to your diet can keep things moving smoothly through your digestive system and cut the chances of developing hemorrhoids. Dietary fiber plays a vital role in digestive health. You get two types of fiber from your diet, soluble and insoluble. Fiber-rich foods contain a mixture of both types of fiber.

Soluble fiber is particularly good for your digestive system. It absorbs water from the digestive system and adds bulk to stool, reducing constipation, and making stools easier to pass.

Examples of foods high in soluble fiber are:

The recommended total fiber intake is 25-30 grams per day. It’s best to increase your fiber gradually to reduce the risk of digestive upset. Raising your fiber intake too quickly can cause bloating and cramping.

Tip #2: Fill up on water

Your intestines are a long, continuous tube. The intestines contract to keep things moving through the digestive system and water is crucial to this process. Failing to drink enough water contributes to constipation. Dehydration makes stools harder and more difficult to pass, setting the stage for hemorrhoids. One of the first things we tell patients with hemorrhoids is to drink more water.  

Tip #3: Move more

Exercise offers numerous health benefits, and it helps keep your bowels regular. Engaging in an activity you enjoy, be it swimming or biking or walking, is an excellent way to get more physical activity. A strong pelvic floor promotes bowel regularity. Your gastroenterologist can discuss the correct technique for pelvic floor exercises.

Note: People with hemorrhoids should avoid exercise that increase abdominal pressure, such as certain weightlifting exercises, as these can lead to hemorrhoids.

Tip #4: Avoid straining

Straining during bowel movements is a major contributor to hemorrhoids. Frequent straining to move your bowels is considered constipation and warrants a visit to see us to get to the bottom of things. When you come in, your doctor performs a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of the constipation and create a treatment plan to provide relief.

Tip #5: Visit a gastroenterologist

If you’ve had hemorrhoids in the past, it’s understandable that you’d like to prevent them from recurring. It’s wise to visit one of our gastroenterologists for an evaluation. It’s particularly important to see a specialist if you have symptoms such as rectal pain, bleeding, or a lump in the anus.

For treatment and prevention of hemorrhoids, call us at Illinois Gastroenterology Group. Call 847-495-7151 to schedule a visit at our Arlington Heights office or 847-495-7153 to see one of our gastroenterologists at our Elk Grove clinic.

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