Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented?

Can Hemorrhoids Be Prevented?

Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the rectum and anus that can cause itching, bleeding, and mild to severe pain. The good news? Yes, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of experiencing hemorrhoids.

Board-certified gastroenterologist Dr. Prem Chattoo at Hudson River Gastroenterology doesn’t mind discussing hemorrhoids, including treating and preventing these painfully swollen veins.

Read what Dr. Chattoo and his team have to say about hemorrhoids.

Understanding hemorrhoids

Much like varicose veins, hemorrhoids develop when veins in the rectum or anus swell and fill with blood. They can be internal, located inside the rectum, or external, situated just under the skin around the anus.

Hemorrhoids aren’t typically considered a serious medical concern, but they can cause significant discomfort and may bleed profusely. Treatments range from topical solutions to reduce inflammation and pain to surgical correction.

What causes hemorrhoids?

Anyone can develop hemorrhoids, and the causes aren’t always clear. However, certain factors can contribute to hemorrhoids, including:

Hemorrhoids are also common during pregnancy due to the increased blood volume that’s natural during pregnancy and the resulting pressure on veins.

Increased abdominal weight, also relevant to pregnancy, is another factor that increases your risk of hemorrhoids.

Tips for preventing hemorrhoids

Try these suggestions for reducing your risk of hemorrhoids:

Maintain a high-fiber diet

Include ample amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes in your diet to increase fiber intake. This, in turn, adds bulk to your stool, which facilitates smoother passage and diminishes the chances of constipation.

Stay hydrated

Drinking adequate water daily helps keep stools soft and easy to pass, reducing the risk of constipation that may lead to hemorrhoids.

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity promotes healthy bowel function and circulation. Even moderate exercise like brisk walking works.

Healthy adults should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly, spread evenly over four or five days. Adding strength training and flexibility exercises provides a well-rounded workout.

Practice good toilet habits

Avoid straining during bowel movements, as this can put pressure on the veins in the rectal area. Take your time on the toilet, but avoid prolonged sitting.

Avoid holding bowel movements

Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement can contribute to constipation and increase the risk of hemorrhoids.

Limit heavy lifting

Heavy lifting can strain muscles and increase pressure in the abdominal and rectal areas. When lifting objects, bend your knees and keep your back straight to reduce strain on the rectal area.

Maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight increases the risk of hemorrhoids. Do your best to keep your weight within a healthy range through a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Practice good hygiene

Keep the anal area clean and dry to prevent irritation. Avoid harsh soaps or wipes, as they irritate sensitive skin.

Consider dietary supplements

In some cases, Dr. Chattoo may recommend dietary supplements such as psyllium husk or over-the-counter stool softeners to help prevent constipation.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Chattoo today if you’re struggling with recurrent, persistent, or newly developed hemorrhoids. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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