internal-hemorrhoidWe all have the potential to develop hemorrhoids. Yet they’re something we don’t like to think about until we’ve got them, when we find the whole subject very embarrassing.

Knowing about the causes, the symptoms to look for and a few ideas for the self treatment of internal hemorrhoids, can put you in control. Just making some simple lifestyle changes could not only help you treat the condition quickly and effectively but also prevent a repeat.

Who develops hemorrhoids?

There is not one clear cause of hemorrhoids but millions of cases are diagnosed worldwide each year. It’s reckoned that, by the age of 50, half the US population will have had some of the symptoms of this rarely dangerous, but sometimes recurrent and often intrusive condition.

What causes them?

We all have vein clusters in the lower rectum and anus but when those in the higher part of the anal canal become swollen, they’re called internal hemorrhoids. If they form lower in the anal canal or outside the anus, they’re external hemorrhoids.

 While there’s no definitive answer on what causes hemorrhoids, factors which have been identified include having chronic constipation, sitting for long periods on the toilet and straining during a bowel movement. Pregnant women often experience hemorrhoids as the uterus gets larger and starts pressing onto the nearby veins. A family history of hemorrhoids may also increase your chances of developing them. 

What are the symptoms?

External hemorrhoids are the easiest to spot but if you can recognise and learn how to treat internal hemorrhoids too, then you’ll be well on the way to effective self management and treatment of this common but sometimes misunderstood condition.

Internal hemorrhoids symptoms often don’t result in too much pain and, in mild cases, will disappear naturally.  Typically painless, sometimes hemorrhoids can produce blood as you end a bowel movement and you may spot this dripping into the toilet or you’ll see it on the toilet paper. Or you might feel the urge to open your bowels even when there is no stool to pass. Your general practitioner may want to run tests to check your symptoms and rule out other conditions, but, if you get the all clear, internal hemorrhoids treatment can usually be managed very successfully at home.

What Treatment for Internal Hemorrhoids might I be offered?

You can buy over the counter products to soften your stools and help you avoid straining. This will also give you a chance to get advice from your pharmacist on the best internal hemorrhoid treatment.  One good tip is to establish a routine of going to the bathroom. For example after a meal, so that your bowel movements become regular and less strained. Try and keep a check on weight gain too.

If you experience itching as a result of hemorrhoids, using soft flushable toilet wipes, wearing cotton underwear, applying a topical cream, sitting on a cushion rather than a hard surface and taking a warm water “sitz” bath can help you feel more comfortable.

On occasion, an internal hemorrhoid may prolapse. Treatment involves a relatively non invasive technique (rubber band ligation is the most common), which can be carried out in an outpatient clinic or at a surgery.  The hemorrhoid will shrink and be held in place to allow the surrounding tissue to heal. While several procedures may needed, this is an effective procedure with minimal recovery time.

Could I make lifestyle changes as a Cure for Internal Hemorrhoids?

Our modern lifestyles with more time spent sitting in front of screens, often eating on the go and taking less physical exercise could be contributing to a rise in bowel problems. So a good, simple, internal hemorrhoids home treatment is to try and include more fiber in your diet. This is easily done by choosing, for example, whole wheat bread and cereals, brown rice and some fruits. Your general practitioner or a nutritionist or dietitian will have lots of advice. Introduce changes gradually and drink plenty of water. You may well find you’ve got more energy as a welcome side effect.

If you can include some moderate exercise, such as a 20-30 minute brisk walk, into your daily routine, this should help your bowel to function better. Not only will these simple lifestyle changes help you as an internal hemorrhoids cure, but will act as a preventative to avoid the condition flaring up in the future.

Encourage family members to review their lifestyle too and you’ll be helping them avoid both the discomfort and potential embarrassment of developing hemorrhoids.

Keep on the lookout for symptoms, but remember that, usually, getting diagnosed with hemorrhoids needn’t be anything to be worried about. With the range of home treatments and advice from your general practitioner if needed, you shouldn’t have too many problems with disruption to your life and routine and you can stay in control of this common condition.