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Hemorrhoids: what are they?

The back passage (anus) contains enlarged veins known as hemorrhoids or piles. As with varicose veins in the legs, they occur when these blood vessels swell.

What causes them?
Under pressure, blood vessels in the anus and around it stretch. Various factors, including straining on the toilet, chronic coughing, and heavy lifting, can increase abdominal pressure, which affects the veins around the anus. It is also possible to develop hemorrhoids during pregnancy, after childbirth, or as a result of obesity.

Is it possible to improve symptoms through diet?
To improve symptoms of hemorrhoids, it is vital to avoid constipation and straining on the toilet. It is important to eat a healthy diet that contains plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other fiber, drink plenty of water, stay active, and keep stress levels low.

Are there any pain relievers I can use?
Swelling can be reduced with ice packs and by sitting in a warm bath for 10 minutes several times a day. When washing, don't be too hygienic since this may cause more irritation. Sitting for long periods may cause more irritation. 

If they persist despite these measures, what should be done?
There are times when hemorrhoids must be surgically treated. Hemorrhoids can be surgically treated with laser heat treatment, chemical solution injections (sclerotherapy), rubber band ligation, or surgical removal. Internal or external hemorrhoids require different operations.

How can I prevent getting hemorrhoids again?
Ensure your diet contains plenty of fiber, drink plenty of fluids, and exercise regularly. Constipation is one of the main causes of hemorrhoids, so these measures will help prevent it. For advice on avoiding the problem, speak with one of our specialists.