Did you know that everyone has hemorrhoids?  Hemorrhoids are collections of veins under the skin inside anal canal and outside of the anus.  When these veins become swollen and irritated, they can cause symptoms such as itching, pain, pressure, mucus discharge, and bleeding.

The most important thing you can do to prevent hemorrhoid problems is to prevent constipation, heavy lifting, changing of bowel habits from diarrhea to constipation, and straining.  Being constipated and having hard bowel movements can make your hemorrhoids more symptomatic.  When straining with hard bowel movements, your hemorrhoid blood vessels fill with blood, causing them to swell.  Swelling and dilation of these veins can cause pain, pressure, and rectal bleeding.  Steps you can take to avoid constipation include:

  1. Increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.  These foods are high in fiber, which helps to increase bowel movements.  You should get 20-35 grams of fiber a day.  Fiber can also be increased with the use of fiber supplements.  Examples of fiber supplements include psyllium (Metamucil), Methylcellulose (Citrucel), polycarbophil (FiberCon), and wheat dextran (Benefiber).
  2. Increase your water intake.  You should consume 64 ounces of water daily.

Other common at home treatments for hemorrhoids include:

Types of Medicine Examples Notes
Medicines to protect skin Calmoseptine

Aquaphor

Desitin

These products help to protect the skin from irritation.
Steroid cream Hydrocortisone rectal cream Reduces swelling and pain caused by hemorrhoids.

Do not use for longer than one week.

Do not use if you are pregnant until you have spoken to your doctor.

This is known to cause rash and itching.

Numbing ointments Benzocaine rectal ointment

(Americaine)

Dibucaine rectal ointment

(Nupercainal)

Lidocaine rectal cream

(RectiCare)

These products can help with pain and itching.

You should seek evaluation from your doctor if you are needing these products for more than 1 week.

Sitz baths A sitz bath involves immersing the hips and buttocks in warm water.  This can help with pain, inflammation, and irritation.

If you are experiencing these symptoms it is important that you are evaluated because rectal pain, pressure, and bleeding can be caused by many different causes including, anal fissures, perianal abscesses, and colon or rectal cancer.  For this reason, any signs of rectal bleeding should be evaluated, and you may need a colonoscopy for thorough investigation.

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