What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are veins located in the rectum and anus that become swollen and inflamed. Internal hemorrhoids are inside the rectum and typically you can’t see or feel them. External hemorrhoids are in the skin around the anus which can usually be felt and may also bleed. Hemorrhoids are caused by increased pressure in the lower rectum area which causes the veins to swell. The increased pressure can come from pushing during bowel movements or straining with certain activities such as lifting weights. Hemorrhoids are also more likely if there is excess weight from obesity or during pregnancy.
Common symptoms of hemorrhoids include the presence of pink or purple bumps located around or bulging out of the anus. Pain and itching in the area is also common and the hemorrhoids may also lead to some bleeding which might be seen on toilet paper or in the toilet bowl when going to the bathroom.
How to treat Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids tend to get better over time on their own. However, if symptoms are severe or do not get better after a couple of weeks, it is best to see a doctor for management and a potential procedure might be needed. The good news is that most of the time you can treat hemorrhoids from home. Sometimes lifestyle modifications can help alleviate hemorrhoids or help prevent them from coming back. Diet should be adjusted to include high fiber foods, lots of water, and not many processed foods. A fiber supplement can be a good addition to help prevent or improve hemorrhoids. Additionally, trying a stool softener can also help, especially if the hemorrhoids hurt when having a bowel movement.
Over the Counter Hemorrhoid Treatments
Other over the counter treatments of hemorrhoids are aimed at helping with the pain and itching that often come when suffering from hemorrhoids. A topical hemorrhoid relieving cream such as Dibucaine Ointment can be applied to the skin on the outside of the anus for help with the pain and itching. Another good option are medicated wipes such as Preparation H Hemorrhoid Relief. These wipes include witch hazel and aloe to help with the irritation and burning and can be used after a bowel movement or separately to help with the pain. Finally, there are hemorrhoidal suppositories such as Major Hemorrhoid Relief Suppository which can help to reduce internal swelling and discomfort associated with hemorrhoids.
In the end, hemorrhoids can happen to anybody for various reasons, and most of the time are treatable with over the counter solutions. If pain gets to a point that is intolerable, persistent bleeding occurs, or the hemorrhoids persist (or don't get better) after a week or two, you should seek medical help from your doctor or healthcare provider.