While hemorrhoids tend to be common among pregnant women, older people, and those with a family history of the condition, their occurrence is possible regardles of age or gender. Developing as a result of swollen veins in your rectum and anus, hemorrhoids can cause significant discomfort and may even hinder your ability to perform daily tasks.
If you are currently facing its complications, you may find yourself wondering, “how do I get relief from hemorrhoids?” “what risk factors should I look out for?” and “how long do they last?”
However, before we answer these questions, let’s dig into some basic information about hemorrhoids.
Look Out For the Following Symptoms
Some symptoms are a clear giveaway that you may be suffering from hemorrhoids. These include, but are not limited to:
- Swelling in the anal region
- Rectal bleeding
- Experiencing pain in bowel movements
Again, while these signs can hint toward the possibility of hemorrhoids, they can also mean something else. They may point toward serious conditions such as anal cancer in rare cases. On the other hand, hemorrhoids also tend to have symptoms in common with anal fissures. Even though the latter is more painful than the former, discomfort is a part of both conditions and must be dealt with reasonably.
Tips for Immediate Relief
The good news is that you can effectively treat smaller hemorrhoids at home by following the given tips:
Make the Required Dietary Changes
By incorporating more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits into your diet, you will be able to ease the path of digestion. However, if making these changes seems like a challenge, speak to your health care professional and get a fiber supplement prescribed right away. Meanwhile, don’t forget to keep up with the water intake.
Soak Your Lower Body in a Sitz Bath
Dedicate at least 10-15 minutes twice a day, soaking yourself in a shallow, warm bath. This way, you will ensure the hygiene of your perianal area while promoting blood flow. While there are several sitz bath apparatuses in the market, a regular bathtub should also work.
Invest in the Right Type of Cushions
Cushions that help you reduce pressure on the tailbone are a must-have. This way, you will be able to alleviate discomfort and pain, especially if your job requires you to sit through the day. However, sitting for prolonged periods is not the only contributor to the problem. Standing for a long time can also worsen your hemorrhoids.
Don’t Sit on the Toilet for too Long
Not sitting on the toilet for too long can elevate the pressure in the veins of your rectum and anus. Eliminate the habit of staying on the toilet for longer than required.
Resort to OTC Medicines (only after consulting your health care professional)
Last but not least, over-the-counter creams (like Preparation H) and pain relievers (like ibuprofen) can come in handy if you’re looking for immediate relief. However, make sure to consult a health care professional beforehand.
How Long Do They Last?
The onset and development of hemorrhoids vary from person to person. Hence, small hemorrhoids may not take long to cure. In many cases, they tend to go away on their own, in a matter of a few days or weeks.
However, when it comes to larger hemorrhoids, the treatment duration can even take months, based on the severity and other factors in place. When itchiness, swelling, and pain don’t go away on their own, then it’s a clear sign that your hemorrhoids require more than just home remedies to settle.
For many pregnant women, hemorrhoids seem to go away after giving birth. Again, their recurrence is also possible after treatment. If you find yourself struggling with the problem for longer than a few weeks or months, or if your hemorrhoids keep coming back, then it may be time to see a gastroenterologist and look for other viable solutions.
What Causes Them to Return?
Once you have gotten rid of hemorrhoids, it’s important to take all the necessary steps to avoid their recurrence. Hence, the first step is to recognize what risk factors make their onset more likely.
Here are some of them to look out for.
- Chronic constipation
- Lack of fiber in your diet
- Obesity or being overweight
- Aging muscles
- Anal intercourse
- Overusing laxatives or enemas
- Sitting for prolonged periods on the toilet
- Straining or putting pressure during bowel movement
- Chronic diarrhea
Remember, while these factors cause your hemorrhoids to return, they may also contribute to more complications and prolonged duration of the condition.
Can They Be Prevented?
Dealing with recurring hemorrhoids is not only troublesome but also painful. Weakened supporting tissues in the anus and rectum can increase the risk of hemorrhoids but making necessary dietary and lifestyle changes is sometimes enough to help prevent them.
So, incorporate as much fiber in your daily food intake as possible. Speak to your doctor about using a fiber supplement, and most importantly, stay hydrated. Avoid sitting on the toilet for prolonged periods and do not practice straining at any cost.
In the end, it’s important to acknowledge that while hemorrhoids aren’t life-threatening, they can be a nuisance to your daily life. Their duration varies from person to person and from case to case. However, by incorporating the right lifestyle and dietary changes, the course of treatment can turn out to be easier than you may have imagined.
From over-the-counter medication to sitz baths, there are several ways you can treat the condition at home. Remember, smaller hemorrhoids are easier to deal with, but bigger ones can turn out to be more serious, especially if they’re left untreated for a long period.
However, if you notice the symptoms getting more troublesome over time, then speak to your health care professional about a thorough examination and possible treatment courses right away.