It’s impossible to ignore the painful, itchy and sometimes alarming symptoms that accompany hemorrhoids. If you struggle with this common problem, you’re not alone. The National Institutes of Health estimates 75 percent of adults ages 45 and older have dealt with hemorrhoids at some point in their lives.
Hemorrhoids are rectal veins that become swollen and distended, sometimes turning into an engorged (thrombosed) hemorrhoid containing a blood clot. Most of the time, people discover a hemorrhoid by feeling a lump or protrusion when wiping after a bowel movement. Anything that increases pressure inside the abdomen can inflame rectal veins. Straining during a bowel movement, particularly if you constantly strain due to chronic constipation, is a common culprit.
It’s aggravating to deal with hemorrhoids, but fortunately, you can often manage the condition with simple home treatments, says Ronald Hsu, M.D., a gastroenterologist with Sutter’s Sutter Roseville Medical Center.
“If you have a sedentary lifestyle and eat a low-fiber diet, it’s time to make some changes so you won’t have to deal with hemorrhoids again,” Dr. Hsu says.