You might have hemorrhoids. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Far from it, in fact. Almost 1 in 2 adult Canadians will suffer from hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.1 That’s nearly every second person at work, on the train, even at the pharmacy.
What Are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectum or anus, caused by increased pressure. Hemorrhoids are classified into two categories: internal and external. If you have small, internal hemorrhoids, you may not be able to feel or even see them. With larger ones, you may feel a small hard lump on the outside of your anus.
Wondering what may cause this increased pressure?
- Constipation and straining during bowel movements – Straining when you are constipated is one of the major causes of hemorrhoids. Increase your intake of fresh fruit and fibre as they’ll make your trips to the bathroom much more manageable.
- Diarrhea – Prolonged bowel movements that have you sitting on the toilet for longer than usual can cause hemorrhoids.
- Heavy lifting – It can be weights at the gym or heavy boxes at work. Any activities that put pressure on your abdomen can increase your chances of having hemorrhoids, even something like slouching when you’re sitting or prolonged sitting and standing.
- Obesity – Obesity can also put your abdomen under strain.
- A poor diet – A diet high in refined carbohydrates, low in fibre, and lacking whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables can contribute to inflammation and hemorrhoids. A lack of nutrients that support healthy vascular function can increase your risk for as well as the severity of hemorrhoids.
- Pregnancy and childbirth – The weight of your developing baby, constipation, and pushing during labour make hemorrhoids common.
How Do I Know If I have Hemorrhoids?
As you may guess, suffering from hemorrhoids isn’t pleasant but we’re here to help. The symptoms vary from person to person but here are a few common ones to look out for3, 4:
- Itching, swelling, and burning in the rectal area
- Bleeding at the time of bowel movement and/or blood on the toilet paper
- Uncomfortable lumps in the anal region
- Pain or discomfort during a bowel movement
- Mucous discharge after passing stool
- Feeling like your bowels need to be emptied even after going to the bathroom
If you suspect you have hemorrhoids, visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis (especially if you’re experiencing a noticeable change in your bowel movements). It’s also a good idea to visit your doctor if this is the first time you’re experiencing hemorrhoid symptoms. They may recommend an over-the-counter treatment for your symptoms that you can buy from your local pharmacy or online at Well.ca.
Who Is Most Likely to Get Hemorrhoids?
Certain people are more likely to get hemorrhoids than others, such as:
- People over the age of 45
- Pregnant people, as extra weight increases the pressure on your pelvic blood vessels
- People who have just given birth, from pushing during childbirth
Your Lifestyle Can Make a Difference
Be mindful about keeping unnecessary pressure off your abdomen. Even small changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in limiting the recurrence of hemorrhoids.3, 4 Ensure you are taking breaks to incorporate physical activity in your daily routine, stay hydrated and eat well. By making little changes to your daily routine, you can start making a difference right away! Try out some of these tips to help manage your hemorrhoids:
- Get plenty of exercise. Exercise aids digestion and helps in achieving regular bowel movements. Walking and yoga are helpful ways to keep your bowel movements consistent.
- Increase your fibre intake. Fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, and fibre-rich cereals are good sources of fibre. By including more fibre in your diet, stools will be softer, diminishing the discomfort of bowel movements. This may also help you avoid constipation.
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water and fruit juices. Try to avoid coffee and alcohol which can dehydrate you and lead to constipation.
- Avoid sitting on the toilet longer than necessary.
- Go to the toilet whenever you feel the need. Don’t hold it in.
- Avoid straining during bowel movements. If constipation is a problem, use a gentle laxative.
How Can You Get Relief?
Anusol™ is Canada’s #1 Doctor Recommended Brand2 and as such, we have a range of fast, long-lasting, and effective hemorrhoid treatment options for you to choose from. Depending on your treatment preference and type of hemorrhoids, Anusol™ is available in both Ointment and Suppository formats. Additionally, our Anusol™ Plus products contain a topical anesthetic to help numb the pain almost as soon as you apply it to offer extra pain relief. Don’t forget to cleanse your bum with NEW Anusol™ Cleansing Wipes for soothing and cooling relief before applying your Ointment or Suppository treatment. Click to find out which Anusol product is best for you.