The “gender question” is pretty common among hemorrhoid patients, as with any medical condition. Do men bear the brunt of this disease, or are women more likely to contract hemorrhoids?
While the Internet can provide you information on just about anything, there is still clarity lacking in regards to whether hemorrhoids are a gender-specific problem. This piece will aim to provide further details on how both genders can deal with hemorrhoids, including effective treatment options and preventive measures for the future.
Men or Women?
The straight answer is that hemorrhoids aren’t “gender-specific.” Women get hemorrhoids for different reasons, and the same goes for men. Some studies may even indicate a greater disease tendency in one gender. However, the whole idea is misleading. It’s also better to avoid making such claims because it can lead to patients shying away from treatment out of embarrassment.
The numbers suggest that a whopping 75% of Americans experience hemorrhoids – irrespective of gender – at some point in their lives. And since hemorrhoids usually don’t heal themselves, seeking proper treatment is vital.
This is where some gender-based difference has been observed. Men in the US are more inclined to find specialized care and treatment for their hemorrhoidal condition. On the contrary, women tend to suffer by themselves, hoping that the disease will go away. That, of course, doesn’t happen very often.
Hemorrhoids: What Are They?
Hemorrhoids are swollen or bloated veins in the lower rectum and anus. Multiple factors can cause hemorrhoids within a person.
- Pregnancy and Subsequent Childbirth
- Inadequate Fiber Intake
- Chronic Obesity
- Extra Weight Gain
- Straining While Urinating and Passing Stool
- Improper Body Position While Lifting Heavy Objects
- Sitting for Large Parts of the Day
Hemorrhoids are generally classified as “internal” and “external.” The former usually appear inside the rectum while the latter form around the anus.
Causes of Hemorrhoids in Men & Women
Engaging in strenuous activities, lifting heavy weights improperly, prolonged sitting, and improper diet are the leading causes of hemorrhoids in men. Regular straining and lifting put extra pressure on the anus and rectum. This can cause swelling in the rectal vessels over time.
On the other hand, pregnancy and giving birth are the most prominent reasons women contract hemorrhoids. Hormonal changes and the constantly growing uterus put pressure on the anus and rectum. Add to that all the “pushing” and “straining” during delivery, and the chances are high that a pregnant woman would end up with hemorrhoids.
Unhealthy eating is another major hemorrhoid-causing factor in both genders. People who consume large quantities of processed food are especially at risk over the long term. These edibles tend to be low in fiber, making you prone to constipation. As a result, you’d probably strain more when moving your bowels. This will ultimately increase pressure on the anal and rectal veins, causing them to swell and enlarge.
Hemorrhoid Formation: Effect of Age & Gender
As stated already, hemorrhoids aren’t a gender-specific condition. However, your sex and age do have a bearing on your chances of developing hemorrhoidal problems.
For instance, the connective tissues supporting the anal and rectal veins become weak as a person grows older. This can increase the likelihood of hemorrhoid formation. Similarly, as mentioned before, women are at greater risk of contracting hemorrhoids during pregnancy and especially after childbirth.
How to Treat Hemorrhoids Effectively?
Common hemorrhoid symptoms/signs include swelling in the anus, painless bleeding, irritation and itching around the anal area, and discomfort during bowel movements. In some cases, minor lumps or knobs may also form in and around the anus. These are usually sensitive to touch and painful.
While hemorrhoids can cause considerable inconvenience, even hindering your daily routine, effective treatments are available.In fact, the progress of modern medicine has led to the development of various minimally invasive procedures that can take care of your hemorrhoidal problem in an instant!
Compared to traditional hemorrhoid cures, these cutting-edge treatments are quick (some take less than 1 hour) and virtually non-invasive. They also don’t involve any stitching or cutting, and the patient isn’t usually put on anesthesia either.
Through a sclerotherapy injection, your doctor will cut off the blood supply to the (internal) hemorrhoids by inserting a chemical solution in them. This will lead to scar tissue formation, and the hemorrhoid will disappear shortly afterward.
Rubber Band Ligation
Rubber band ligation, also called “banding,” takes care of protruding and bleeding internal hemorrhoids by severing their blood supply. The doctor attaches a specialized rubber band around the hemorrhoid base in this method.
About 1 week later, the area covered by the band and the band itself falls off after shrinking. The formation of scar tissue deals with the remaining portion. The entire procedure is painless and takes just a few minutes. There’s also no recovery time needed.
Different coagulation therapies include “infrared coagulation” and “electrocoagulation.” Internal hemorrhoids are treated using infrared (IR) light in the former. The heat from the IR light cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoids and helps in scar tissue formation.
This ultimately shrinks the hemorrhoid and stops nearby veins from extending into the anal canal. The same results are achieved in electrocoagulation with the help of an electric current.
How to Prevent Hemorrhoids?
You know what they say about prevention being better than cure. The good news is that you don’t need to do much in this regard. A generally healthy lifestyle should keep anal lumps at bay.
Following are some simple things you can start doing today to prevent hemorrhoids.
- Regular workout. You don’t need to become a fitness freak and hit the gym seven days a week. Mild but consistent exercising should do the trick.
- Adequate water intake. Keep yourself hydrated at all times. It will keep you active and help maintain healthy bowel movements.
- Consume a fiber-rich diet.
- Cultivate healthy restroom habits. These include sitting on the toilet for as little as possible, not straining during bowel movements, etc.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
There isn’t enough evidence to classify hemorrhoids as a “gender-specific problem.” While being a man or woman may affect the chances of getting hemorrhoids, that has more to do with individual actions than any specific gender characteristics. For example, pregnant women are at greater risk of contracting hemorrhoids. The same goes for men who have to lift heavy weights regularly, whether as part of a job or otherwise.
Various other hemorrhoidal factors affect men and women equally. These include unhealthy eating habits (particularly consuming lots of processed food), prolonged sitting, a generally sedentary lifestyle, etc.